Cyber attacks growing: Entire Western financial system vulnerable

January 28, 2015 12:14 PM

The first high-profile case of nation-states using cyber-warfare was the unleashing of the “stuxnet worm”–apparently created by Israel and the United States–on Iran’s nuclear energy enrichment plant in Netanz in 2010. It almost caused a major environmental catastrophe.

In 2012, Iran devastated the computer network of Saudi Aramco in a similar attack.

From the above examples we can see a panorama of human activities which grow more vulnerable as hackers and cyber-warfare grow more sophisticated.

Russia’s Prime Minister Medvedev yesterday warned that if the United States succeeds in it’s plans to cut Russia out of the SWIFT banking transfer system, then the “Russian response – economically and otherwise – will know no limits.”

Given that a military confrontation is not desired by Russia it would seem that cyber-warfare will certainly be part of the mix that Medvedev alludes to.

Banks have been hacked, stock exchanges have been hacked and critical infrastructure have been hacked in recent years. It is likely that many of these small scale attacks have been merely testing of defenses.

A concerted attack on the western financial system would likely include attempts at disabling various exchanges including stock markets and foreign exchange markets. Banks could be attacked in such a way that bank balances, which are merely digital figures, could be erased.

In a worst case, scenario such attacks could be done in conjunction with countries hostile to the West dumping vast quantities of dollars onto the market.

In such an environment the West, which is so dependent on technology and the monetary system, would be economically paralysed and the primary wealth that would remain would be tangible wealth.

Tangible assets include gold and silver bullion, agricultural land, water, property, etc. We are not predicting such an outcome. We are simply looking at the facts as they are, in the context of intense geopolitical tensions, and surmising that it would be prudent to take necessary precautions.

New York Mayor Bill de Blasio put it well yesterday regarding the snow storm and echoed something we have been saying for many years now: “We obviously missed the worst of the storm.” Defending actions by his office and Gov. Andrew Cuomo to shut schools and freeze regional transportation, de Blasio said that they were right to: “Prepare for the worst but hope for the best.”

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