Symantec/Norton Anti-virus’ wet dream

Posted in Crazy Weapons, Culture of Lickspittle, Cyberterrorism at 9:49 am by George Smith

The new fad is mini-series TV for the web. A couple months ago Yahoo rolled out “Electric City,” an animated science-fiction drama starring its bank roller, Tom Hanks as the central figure. I watched two episodes, as thrilling as watching mud dry.

Today Yahoo started “Cybergeddon,” a very poor woman’s “24,” underwritten by Symantec.

You know what it’s all about. Push software button remote terrorism, with all the scenarios and myths the salesmen and fear-mongers have delivered over the last ten years.

Since the episodes are only 10 minutes long, there’s a lot of push-buttoning to be shoehorned into each segment.

The premier, uniquely entitled “Push of a Button,” has its central character, a young lady of the FBI who has just nabbed her first cyber-terrorist in Prague, dumping her boyfriend special agent because she prizes her career track more.

The cyberterrorist is sent to prison in the Ukraine where his term is cut short because he has a smartphone which he pushes a button on to deposit a quarter of a million dollars in the accounts of his guards.

A deal’s a deal — so instead of beating him to death and keeping the cash — the jailers let him out.

Upon which he pushes another button on his smartphone to launch an attack on the, wait for it, water systems of southern California. A virus, said to be like Stuxnet, you know — the one we wrote to attack Iran, has been activated in Los Angeles.

It’s a laughable subterfuge, regularly peddled by cybersecurity salesmen.

Water in Los Angeles county is not centrally controlled or even in one spot. It’s all over, in the little sub-communities and tracts, in the valleys and the foothills, and the smaller to medium-sized cities of the Los Angeles metropolitan complex.

It’s distributed, there’s no way to centrally attack it, or to even attack one piece that would immediately threaten to endanger millions of people. Sadly for terrorists, if not scriptwriters or cybersecurity salesmen, water is durable in the US.

From a month or so ago, when the usual quacks were peddling the idea in hopes of getting some cybersecurity legislation passed:

For example, my brain tells me, and it’s usually pretty good at these things, that it would be virtually impossible to affect water in Los Angeles County short of destroying the Owens Valley, the Los Angeles Aqueduct, the Colorado River and the Colorado River Aqueduct. It would take an almost irreversible blackout in California to hinder the flow of water into LA County.

What, could hackers or cyber-soldiers blow up Pasadena Water & Power or make the complex unusable and all the water unpotable?

Contrary to what may be popular belief, huge vats of poison are not stored right with water so that a “the push of a button” can contaminate it. Too much chlorine, or adding a little too much alum, would have only negligible effects.

Southern California would ignore you, “Push of a Button” cyberterrorist.

The traffic on the freeway through Pasadena would start jamming around three, as usual. The sun would blast the concrete on the el Molino bridge as I walk over it, maybe to Bobby’s for a soda and a taco.

And that’s all I have to say about this piece of pandering crap. I jumped on the grenade.

Cybergeddon — “The Push of a Button” — is here.


  1. Mike Ozanne said,

    September 28, 2012 at 1:42 pm

    Well to be fair, we in the UK did have a “touch of a button” mass poisoning incident. However, rather than being the deliberate act of deranged nutter Islamic jihadists. It was the result of normal corporate incompetence. Search for “Camelford water pollution incident .

  2. George Smith said,

    September 30, 2012 at 9:42 am

    Direct addition of a tank truck of alum into the water supply is more of a direct poisoning thing than anything the dreamers of cyberterror plots imagine. It does illustrate the major problem with poisoning the water scenarios — the need for amounts so large it’s impractical unless there’s some kind of cock up like this.

    I’ve mentioned it before but the biggest cases of water source pollution come from cyanide spills in gold mining operations and, this, an infamous example of fish eradication that was big news here in VA a few years ago:


    It’s really not at all easy to poison people with alum despite the unusually large amount of it put in the water, as the Brit incident, although bad, illustrated. So my analysis stands. However, the Camelford incident in an interesting one and I’m glad you mentioned it here.