Cyber Spies Make Room For New Heroes

Russian and Chinese cyber spies have inserted software into our electrical grid that could disrupt our system, says, The Wall Street Journal. Should a war or national security crisis hit the United States, the officials said, the spies could shut off our power. In addition to the electrical systems, nuclear power plants and financial networks, water and sewage systems are also at risk. Senior Central Intelligence Agency official, Tom Donahue said last year there were cyber attacks in “multiple regions outside the U.S. The outage was followed with extortion demands.”

The silver lining, if there is one, lies in our national trade relationships. Officials say they “don’t see an immediate danger. China, for example, has little incentive to disrupt the U.S. economy because it relies on American consumers and holds U.S. government debt.” Was this the reason they exported our jobs to other countries?

Shaken to my core, I put the newspaper down, sipped more tea, and walked back to my bedroom to adjust the blankets so it looked as if I really did make my bed. I turned on the light without even thinking, and then I realized how much I take for granted.

The story itself sounds more like a fictional plot for a James Bond movie than a riveting account in my morning newspaper. A story so creative and fantastic that I almost wanted to spin the tale out for my boys to hear, as entertainment, like the pirate stories we read. But I won’t say a word to them. The story stays with me, and my lips are sealed.

[Robert Moran monitors an electric grid in Dallas. Such infrastructure grids across the country are vulnerable to cyberattacks.]

The Associated Press photo of Robert Moran, who wears that blue-checked shirt and monitors the electrical grid in Dallas, could be our new everyday American Hero, like the flight crews were on April 14, 1970.

I need to dissect another miracle; to reassure myself these good things do happen. I peered over to Wikipedia to read the account of Apollo 13, when they said, “Houston, we’ve got a problem.” When the number two oxygen tank of Apollo 13 exploded, the cause was tracked to an unlikely chain of events where one problem fell like dominoes on the next. “Considerable ingenuity under extreme pressure was required from the crew, flight controllers and support personnel for the safe return.” The world watched the riveting drama on television. Electrical power was severely limited, making even voice communications difficult. There was a point when the crew was asked to suspend urine dumps, as that could alter the trajectory of the spacecraft. The lives of the crew hung in the balance like the flutterings of a feather.  As a result, one crew member even ended up with a severe urinary tract infection from limiting his water intake. Ironically, or miraculously, depending on your view, the crew’s lives may have been saved by the same malfunction that caused the danger.

Our world is rich in stories like these; stories of successful failure. Cyber spies are really birthing the stories of our next generation of American Heroes.  Although, I can wait to read it’s next entry on Wikipedia.

Inside my mind, things look different today. That mountain of laundry doesn’t make me cringe. I can’t wait to turn on the washer and watch that hot water spill out at my command; it is my privilege to wash those clothes today.

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