The Big Hack: An Illuminating Article Connects all the Dots

Could a hack take down NYC?
Could a hack take down NYC?

Most of the helpful news and analysis we consume is singular. Individual data points or pieces of information that we find a way to plug into our work or other aspects of our life are certainly useful, but usually the onus is on us to turn those parts into a whole that is helpful in our work or personal life. But when someone takes those individual nuggets of information and connects them into a meaningful whole for our benefit, the result can be impactful.

Reeves Wiedeman has done that with his article The Big Hack in the June 13th issue of New York Magazine. Wiedeman has woven together details on numerous hacks that have actually occurred worldwide, along with specific threats that security experts tell us are entirely plausible based on today’s technology, to create a fictionalized account of a coordinated cyber-attack on New York City.

Actions resulting from the imagined breaches include Internet of Things-equipped cars crashing, medical care shutting down due to a disabling of hospital IT systems, the subway system being impaired, and an eventual shutdown of a large portion of the power grid. The results are predictably catastrophic.

Executing Wiedeman’s creation in a coordinated fashion is implausible, but not impossible. It would require significant planning, but a dedicated, talented, well-funded state or terrorist network could pull off a portion of it. And even splicing together just a couple of elements of Wiedeman’s story could bedevil a major city.

The main elements of the story are sourced with 47 footnotes, and it is clear that significant research went into the article. As most breaches are a result of human error, the story also serves as an effective reminder to almost anyone within an organization of the potential consequences of an indifference to mandated security procedures and protocols. Wiedeman has created a valuable article worth sharing.




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