While cyber-attacks cannot kill tens or hundreds of millions of people in a single action, they are more dangerous in other ways.
One particular way would be to silently undermine our confidence in the data served up by our computers.
This has happened in the real world at least once in a high-profile cyber-attack: The Stuxnet worm, which was used to impair the Iranian’s ability to produce weapons-grade uranium at the Natanz facility. While the equipment was malfunctioning, the control panels showed machine performance indicators that were within acceptable ranges.
Other possible attacks could silently change:
- Medicine dose amounts for patients
- Display panels on industrial processing equipment, like gasoline production
- Bank account balances
- Nuclear attack early warning systems (like in the movie War Games)
Can you imagine how disturbing it would be not to know if you could trust data shown on any given device screen?