6.3 The emergence of the blended threat

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Terrorists are expected to launch attacks that have direct infrastructure effects with cascading disruption or arrest of the functions of critical infrastructures or key assets through direct attacks on a critical node, system, or function. In addition, attacks can also exploit various elements of a particular infrastructure to disrupt or destroy another target. Taking this proposition to a higher level, simultaneous physical attacks combined with cyberattacks that can disrupt communications or the operations of responders can have devastating effects. The combined attacks can result in indirect infrastructure effects with cascading disruption and financial consequences for government, society, and economy through public- and privatesector reactions to an attack.

In a fictional work, ExopaTerra , created by Baley Montag, the United States is confronted with a fierce multifront blended attack in which terrorists launch a series of both physical and cyberattacks focused on the West Coast. The scenario unfolds as follows:

5:30 A.M. PST

A hostage situation occurs in Singapore. Groups of people take over a 22-story building with offices of several international companies, including six global computer companies that are headquartered in the United States.

A plane crashes; it was heading from Hong Kong to LAX.

A new computer virus is spotted in Europe, a mass mailer, moving moderately fast, but it has a payload. Within minutes a report of the virus is received from Japan.

6:00 A.M. PST

There is another hostage situation, in Rome, in another office building with international companies. It is an 18-story building with plenty of connectivity, including satellite dishes on the roof.

A plane returned to the Tokyo airport; it was bound for LAX.

6:30 A.M. PST

Computer virus reports come in from Washington, DC, Boston, New York, Hong Kong, Tokyo, Bangkok, and Sydney.

A refinery explosion occurs in Oakland. Weeks earlier there had been a report that software had been pirated that helped to control the process in the refinery.

A second refinery explosion is reported in the Bay Area. The refinery fires have about half of the East Bay Emergency Service teams tied up at this point.

7:00 A.M. PST

About a dozen U.S. government Web sites have been hacked and defaced. The hackers leave their calling card; it says ExopaTerra .

There is a problem with mass transit in New York City; the computers have crashed. An electrical failure is being blamed.

FAA computers are out at San Francisco International; traffic is being diverted, and all outgoing flights have been delayed.

Word from Tokyo is that the flight was turned around because a guy refused to quit playing with his cell phone. The flight was headed to LAX, the same destination as the Hong Kong flight that crashed earlier.

Another computer virus is on; it is a Trojan horse, and it leaves a backdoor open for entry into any system it hits.

A young man comes running into the director's office at BART: 'We have lost control. It is as if somebody has taken over the system. We can't do a thing.'

8:00 A.M. PST

The clock strikes 8:00. A BART train crashes into another one sitting at an underground station in downtown San Francisco.

More computer virus reports; e-mail systems are clogged everywhere on the East Coast, and it is spreading fast.

The San Francisco, San Jose, and Oakland airports remain closed.

One of the major banks in San Francisco is suffering from a never-ending chain of intrusion attempts.

The police in Rome are planning to go in, but it will be two or three hours until they are ready. Several computer companies are working to take the Rome building out of their network, but there are other networks that go into that building as well.

The Singapore police are still holding; it will probably be three or four more hours before they move in. In that building are the regional office for IQ Computers and BizX, a large database and financial management software company.

There is more detail on the virus from Japan; it is spreading quickly and variants have already been identified.

The San Francisco Chronicle 's Web site is running a front-page story on a possible anthrax attack in the city today.

There is a mass mailing of an e-mail saying that there is going to be an anthrax attack in San Francisco today. It goes to thousands of e-mail addresses in the Bay Area.

9:00 A.M. PST

Hackers from a military base in Japan are hitting a brokerage in San Francisco.

Another plane is down off the Pacific Coast; it was coming from South Korea; it was an hour away and about an hour late for its scheduled arrival at LAX.

The virus attacks are being logged as the biggest ever; replications are in the billions, and there are dozens of variants.

San Francisco is starting to panic; there are traffic jams everywhere, smoke from the refinery fires is drifting around the bay. Clouds reach more than two miles into the air.

The governor of the state of California is convinced that the city is being attacked by terrorists and has closed the bridges in and out of San Francisco. The traffic jams are horrendous.

10:00 A.M. PST

One of the ATM networks in the Bay Area has been hit and taken down.

The cell phone system in San Francisco is grid locked; it will likely be that way for the rest of the day.

Another refinery is hit, this time in Houston. There was no damage because the security team locked the attackers out. They did trace the attack back to the building in Rome.

Riot-geared police in Rome are bringing out about ten people from the building and putting them in vans. The police had raided the building and used tear gas to force out the intruders. They are putting the terrorists in vans when suddenly the police vans are attacked with rockets. Panic ensues and dozens are killed.

11:00 A.M. PST

There is a train wreck in the East Bay. Somebody from a South Korean contractor's office logged on, walked right in, knew what he was doing, and flipped a few switches. Two trains collided. Both trains were moving corrosive industrial materials and a variety of liquid and solid chemicals. As the trains collided, dozens of rail cars were derailed, with some cars bursting into flames, resulting in a chemical spill that released toxic gases. The black poisonous clouds have started to spread over East Bay communities.

Emergency crews are responding.

The credit card clearance system serving the Bay Area is not functioning, just in time for lunch.

12:00 P.M. PST

The ATMs and the credit card clearance system serving San Francisco are going up and down every few minutes.

Computer viruses are still spreading, and e-mail is clogged up.

San Francisco transportation systems are virtually shut down. The airports remain closed, even though the computers seem to be back up. BART will be out of service for at least 24 more hours. There are no trains running. The bridges are still closed.

There is action starting at the Singapore building; the terrorists are using the connections in the offices of IQ Computers and BizX to hit those corporate computers.

The 911 system in the Bay Area is clogged and dysfunctional.

Reports of rolling power outages throughout Northern California start emerging.

It is confirmed that a pipeline is hit in the Bay Area.

1:00 P.M. PST

Another plane is down over the Pacific Ocean, a 747 coming into LAX from South Korea. It was one of those whose landing was delayed; it was 30 minutes late and 30 minutes out of LAX when it went down.

The sabotaged pipeline in the bay has been shut off; in less than 60 minutes it dumped 295,000 gallons of oil into the San Francisco Bay.

The police in Singapore made their move; they captured about a dozen people. They shot a dozen more.

Communications in the Bay Area are either clogged or completely out, including the cell phone system, the landline phones, and the 911 system. Rolling blackouts are still occurring.

The credit card clearance system in the Bay Area keeps going in and out, as does the ATM system.

The hotels are all full in San Francisco and have been since the morning. Many businesses are locking their doors and throwing their employees out into the streets, even though there are no hotel rooms and there is no way to get out of the city.

There is no sign of the computer viruses slowing down.

It looks like the night will shape up this way: continuous disruption of systems, random power outages, marshal law, and hundreds of thousands of people trapped in the city of San Francisco.

2:00 P.M. PST

The federal government decided to mobilize Regular Army troops that could use helicopters to move into the city to help mitigate the chaos.

The Coast Guard has been put on high alert and begun routine patrols of the San Francisco Bay. Naval vessels have been ordered to move into defense positions in the bay.

Most people in the Bay Area are not receiving television signals.

The police are busy dealing with traffic situations at the bridges and along the freeways that lead to the bridges that go in and out of San Francisco. There have been numerous traffic accidents, many of which have required emergency medical service teams. Abandoned vehicles are everywhere.

Amtrak is not running trains into, out of, or through the Bay Area. The airports will not open until tomorrow morning at the earliest and maybe not until the next day.

3:00 P.M. PST

There are riots in San Francisco; street gangs are running wild, looting, shooting, and burning.

The credit card clearance system has been resolved; somebody had made one of the internal servers into a drone that would corrupt the other servers every few minutes.

4:00 P.M. PST

The FBI is searching every ship in every port on the West Coast to look for explosive devices.

Electricity is going on and off all over the Bay Area.

The death toll on planes that have crashed is now over 900.

Emergency services are not functioning in most of the Bay Area. In addition to 911 being out, local numbers for ambulance, fire, and police services are clogged. The Department of Health estimates that more than 200 people have died because they could not get emergency services.

5:00 P.M. PST

There are fires popping up all across the Bay Area. There are normally about 30 fires per day in the entire area. The fire department estimates that there have been over 400 fires in buildings. There is no idea of the potential death toll because the fire department has responded to very few of the incidents.

The Marian nuclear power plant is reporting a problem. They swear they have not been hacked, but things are looking bad.

6:00 P.M. PST

There is an explosion on the ship filled with used tires in San Francisco; the fire is burning out of control, and black toxic smoke is filling the air.

The port authority police in Los Angeles, along with U.S. customs agents are doing a check on the freighter filled with fertilizer. There is small explosion, but it fails to set off the fuel tanks. The fire is put out quickly.

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Implementing Homeland Security for Enterprise IT
Implementing Homeland Security for Enterprise IT
ISBN: 1555583121
EAN: 2147483647
Year: 2003
Pages: 248

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