By Bob Drogin
The Los Angeles Times
February 17, 2010
Reporting from Washington -- The crisis began when college basketball
fans downloaded a free March Madness application to their smart phones.
The app hid spyware that stole passwords, intercepted e-mails and
Soon 60 million cellphones were dead. The Internet crashed, finance and
commerce collapsed, and most of the nation's electric grid went dark.
White House aides discussed putting the Army in American cities.
That, spiced up with bombs and hurricanes, formed the doomsday scenario
when 10 former White House advisors and other top officials joined
forces Tuesday in a rare public cyber war game designed to highlight the
potential vulnerability of the nation's digital infrastructure to
The results were hardly reassuring.
"We're in uncharted territory here," was the most common refrain during
a three-hour simulated crisis meeting of the National Security Council,
the crux of the Cyber Shockwave exercise.
Joe Lockhart, former press secretary to President Clinton, urged his
fellow panelists to be bold. "Trust me," he said, "you will be judged on
this when this is over, and for years to come."
The panelists apparently took him to heart and, as the scenario
unfolded, tossed out ways to maintain order -- including nationalizing
industries, rationing fuel and snatching suspects overseas.
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