Sixth Movie-Plot Threat Contest

It's back, after a two-year hiatus. Terrorism is boring; cyberwar is in. Cyberwar, and its kin: cyber Pearl Harbor, cyber 9/11, cyber Armageddon. (Or make up your own: a cyber Black Plague, cyber Ragnarok, cyber comet-hits-the-earth.) This is how we get budget and power for militaries. This is how we convince people to give up their freedoms and liberties. This is how we sell-sell-sell computer security products and services. Cyberwar is hot, and it's super scary. And now, you can help!

For this year's contest, I want a cyberwar movie-plot threat. (For those who don't know, a movie-plot threat is a scare story that would make a great movie plot, but is much too specific to build security policy around.) Not the Chinese attacking our power grid or shutting off 911 emergency services -- people are already scaring our legislators with that sort of stuff. I want something good, something no one has thought of before.

Entries are limited to 500 words, and should be posted in the comments. In a month, I'll choose some semifinalists, and we can all vote and pick the winner.

Good luck.

History: The First Movie-Plot Threat Contest rules and winner. The Second Movie-Plot Threat Contest rules, semifinalists, and winner. The Third Movie-Plot Threat Contest rules, semifinalists, and winner. The Fourth Movie-Plot Threat Contest rules and winner. The Fifth Movie-Plot Threat Contest rules, semifinalists, and winner.

EDITED TO ADD (5/26): Semifinalists will be announced (and voting will begin) on June 15. My apologies for being late about this.

EDITED TO ADD (6/14): Voting is now open.

Posted on April 1, 2013 at 12:38 PM

Comments

Nicholas WeaverApril 1, 2013 12:54 PM

The cyberterrorist manages to hijack the computers in MI6, tracking the movements of the head, opening up the gas, manipulating the climate control, and causes the building to explode...

Oh wait, that was Skyfall.

The hacker routes the convoy into the path of a helecopter...

Oh wait, thats was Live Free or Die Hard

Overall, I think this one is going to be a problem, coming up with something wakier than what Hollywood has already put in the movies....

J. OquendoApril 1, 2013 1:09 PM

Switching to Computer Science classes from Physics, Joseph grew quickly bored and impatient at technology. He found it bulky and somewhat backwards. Often straying from his studies, he began tinkering with signals and their relations to the physical components that encompass most devices. Silicon wafers here, capacitors there and it hit him like a ton of bricks.

Joseph had discovered that by re-arranging the signals and overloading the processing, he was capable of causing his mobile phone to catch fire. How horribly disastrous he thought. Further refining his new discovery, he realized that he could also transmit similar signals to affect other electronics in close proximity. A remote firestarter of sorts.

As he assembled his research, he had hoped to disclose his findings to the scientific community in an effort to change the core of how electronics are produced, and how they process information. He created a simple application with basic parameters for input: Enter a mobile number and hit send; enter an IP and hit send, with an optional checkbox to affect nearby devices.

While finishing his work, unbeknownst to Joseph, malicious hackers who had infiltrated his university's network had also been privy to his discovery. They refined this new attack vector and instantly sought to capitalize on the idea.

On April 1st 2013, an underground criminal group called HADES unleashed an astonishing attack. Using one of the major websites, they hacked into the server and immediately replaced the content with a page that simply read: "We will burn the world down unless our demands are met."

That same day, Anytown USA, a city of 4 million saw a series of unexplained fires. Fire investigators traced the source of the fire to electronics. Some were mobile phones, others computers, fires were started by TiVo television appliances. It surely baffled the city which was on alert.

The same night the group made another threat: "Cash Rules Everything Around Me, therefore Credit Agencies are no more" and with the IP addresses of all credit agencies entered into this application, the credit agencies each had catastrophic disasters.

These attacks were once unimaginable. To think that an attacker could cause so much damage was highly improbably but now the military and government were on alert. What would be next, how would one defend themselves when no one truly understood what was occurring. Joseph? He fell victim to his own apparatus as HADES set fire to his home after transferring his work.

Michael RaskinApril 1, 2013 1:10 PM

Maybe you could use newer technological developments.

For example: the Chinese successfully attack SpaceX intranet planting malware into Dragon's controlling code. As the result of this attack, Dragon deorbits instead of undocking from ISS; wrong landing orbit parameters lead to a major French city being damaged by the crash. Details like toxic rocket fuel release and France considering this an attack by Russia can be added as needed.

brunoApril 1, 2013 1:11 PM

Cyberterrorists disrupt the delivery servers of Amazon, causing billions of packages to not arrive on time for Christmas!!

The ensuing panic leads to a global epidemic of looting and extremely violent domestic disturbances, plunging all capitalistic countries into an irreparable chaos...

*Black Christmas*

Clive RobinsonApril 1, 2013 1:23 PM

I'm thinking along the line of those "mood enhancers" etc which you connect to your head and a PC to help you focus for study etc, or those Google Glass headsets.

Some clever mastermind finds out how to use them via malware to take over the users in some kind of augmented trance etc and uses them to take over the political system in various ways.

One of which has to be people that attack the current political incumbrants such as turning them into one of the "four horesmen of the Internet Apocalypse" such that their political carees are terminated by scandles and jail sentences thus forcing elections in rapid order.

Those elected then turn around and bring down our plutocratic overlord powers behind the political throne. However in a reverse of 'Atlas Shrugs" the plutocrats try to fight back by bringing on global warming to destroy the planet as revenge. The resulting environmental damage is much like a nuclear winter that throws mankind back into a fuedal existance without the trappings of techhnology, new bacterial diseases arise that are like a cross between bubonic plague and smallpox and mankind gets wiped out to less than half a billion survivors.

Snarki, child of LokiApril 1, 2013 1:34 PM

Kid hackers break into an insufficiently secured municipal water supply system in upstate New York.

They thought it was just for fun, but their home PCs had been infected with the Slaxxnet virus, which had been waiting for just such an opportunity, and alerted Dr. Evelyn Evil in her plush underground lair, in distant Kamchatka, who promptly takes control.

Using an extensive mastery of homeopathy, Dr. Evil programs the very water molecules to do her bidding, and releases them into the local watershed, where they multiply and spread into the reservoirs that supply New York City.

The first, mild, cases occur in the bucolic towns where the hacking started, but as the contagion spreads it increases in strength, putting the entire population of the Big Apple at risk.

Title "Don't Go Near the Water"

Randy TaylerApril 1, 2013 1:38 PM

A single hacker compromises Simon Tatham's ubiquitous PuTTY program, retrieving millions of usernames and passwords for servers around the world. The bigger problem? The hacker then sells the info to anonymous bidder online.

The hacker realizes it was a terrible mistake once they see the compromised servers included access to the Department of Defense's intranet. Now the hacker needs to hack their way to discovering who the buyer was, and destroy the information, BEFORE IT'S TOO LATE(tm).

AnonApril 1, 2013 1:43 PM

I'm kinda thinking like Clive...

Invasion of the Cyber-Body Snatchers...

No longer are phishing attacks the harmless fun of yesteryear... Evil Hive minded Aliens have engineered a new Virus that doesn't just steal your Identity and Information... It Steals YOU!

Respected info sec researchers and gov watchdogs have already been replaced by alien replicants... Media sources are down playing it all as a hoax while the invasion fleet hides on the dark side of the moon... Will you dare to open that email from your boss...

KeithBApril 1, 2013 1:49 PM

Loosely based on the _Daybreak_ series:

Terrorists-of-the-day create a social network of lefty/environmentalist types causing them to use a massive cyber attack against a near-future border security computer. The lefties think they are going to let in undocumented workers, but the real plan is to smuggle in a nuclear weapon.

Our hero figures this out and works to intercept the weapon.

Non-cyber-war plot:
terrorists find a small, relatively unguarded wafer fab. They steal the poisonous gasses used as dopants and immediately head for a local mall...

Brian MApril 1, 2013 2:03 PM

Two hackers hackers engage in a deadly war of wits. One indian teenager is pitted against a government trained, Chinese hacker. After an argument online, they decide to match wits in the real world. They each do battle by seeing who can cause more disruption to the american military systems. Drones go head to head, dogfighting over New York. Tanks run wild from their drivers. Nuclear Submarines divert to all corners of the globe. Only one young, awkward american kid can save the world through his ingenious computer skills.

Paul KApril 1, 2013 2:20 PM

Cyber-spooks use a comprehensive database of conspiracy theorists and the mentally unbalanced as a distributed anonymous assassination network, by spamming them with emails alleging that $TARGET is a secret illuminati pedophile nazi. Weaponized Spam!

Oh wait, that's Bruce Sterling's Distraction. Seriously though, I wonder how long it'll take for someone to try this.

arfnarfApril 1, 2013 2:22 PM

So, it's already started.

The EU gives Cyprus a haircut, sparking a crisis of confidence in the security of bank deposits.

The price of bitcoins surges to over $100 as investors flee from traditional deposit accounts, first in Cyprus, then other European countries and soon the world. Bitcoins become the only really safe currency in a world where a person's life savings can be taken, at will, by the state.

The US Federal Reserve realises it's losing control of the global money supply.

The Fed collaborates with the CIA to launch a ddos attack against the Bitcoin exchanges. This is the only way they can attack bitcoins, the currency itself is invulnerable unless a single malicious entity controls over 50% of the combined processing power being used to mine the currency. The CIA knows it does not have that much processing power.

Meanwhile in Europe, using the ddos attack as a smokescreen, the Troika of the EC, IMF and ECB secretly enlist the help of the Chinese government and intercept the supply of ASICs, the next generation of mining processors, mainly coming from Hong Kong and Shanghai. Deliveries of ASICs mysteriously dry up. In an attempt to muster enough combined computing power to take over the block chain, GCHQ starts it's own bitcoin mining operation using the intercepted ASICs processors. All it needs is more processing capacity than all the other bitcoin miners in the world combined. To be continued....

This time the bad guys are the good guys.

Kev FrostApril 1, 2013 2:28 PM

A group of Jewish Koreans of Icelandic ancestry launch a fiendish plot to hack the digital archives of the world. They change a few words here, a sentence there in various international treaties. None of this goes noticed, there's so much data out there that no-one sees that the framework that governs military partnerships is being eroded bit by bit.

Finally the hackers submit to the International Court of Justice in the Hague that the US must be evicted immediately from all their overseas military sites. American lawyers are aghast that the lawyers can concretely prove that "all your bases are belong to us".

Kev FrostApril 1, 2013 2:30 PM

A group of Jewish Koreans of Icelandic ancestry launch a fiendish plot to hack the digital archives of the world. They change a few words here, a sentence there in various international treaties. None of this goes noticed, there's so much data out there that no-one sees that the framework that governs military partnerships is being eroded bit by bit.

Finally the hackers submit to the International Court of Justice in the Hague that the US must be evicted immediately from all their overseas military sites. American lawyers are aghast that the hackers can concretely prove that "all your bases are belong to us".

Harvey MacDonaldApril 1, 2013 2:47 PM

Tom was a seasoned CCISO (Chief-Cyber Information Security Officer) working for CybamaCare, a fully-PCI/NIST/FISMA/HIPAA/STIG/ANSI/-compliant cybercorporation.

"Drat!" He fumed. "It's time to have another cyber-pentest performed on my fully compliant, ridiculously over-secured organization. And we haven't even fixed any of the problems the last pentester told us about!"

Tom always had trouble implementing cyber-pentest guidance. CybamaCare's cyber-defense wasn't that bad (according to a memo from some guy with a PMP certificate), and the pentesters were always experts, so management always chose to believe that CybamaCare's cyberstance was fine. After all, they reasoned, only cyber-experts could find and exploit the flaws these 'cyberninjas' found. This line of thought was routinely practiced with their CyberBrainAlyzer - a nifty SCADA appliance designed to allow cyber-medical professionals to augment human thoughts, beliefs, and feelings. CyberBrainAlyzer worked by promising the patient free iPhones, EBT cards, and housing in exchange for votes and denial of self-defense.

Tom hired the CounterPhrack, a professional pen-testing company, and asked them to perform a typical annual pentest as required by the rainbow of certifying authorities CybamaCare was subject to. Fred, the lead cyberphracker at CounterPhrack, managed to bargain for an obscene hourly rate, but promised Tom: "Don't worry, CounterPhrack always puts the word 'cyber' all over our reports."

Fred showed up the following Monday, firing off Spl01t2[@nn0n at CybamaCare's DMZ. (Spl01t2[@nn0n was a comparable product to Metasploit, except that it didn't have rabid sales reps. [in case you, dear reader, are wondering, Spl01t2[@nn0n is maintained by the 'fr33cyb3rwar3z4u.ru' website]) Unbeknownst to Fred, Advanced-Persistent-Threat cyberwarriors backed by a nation-state were controlling his Spl01t2[@nn0n instance! After finding an easily-exploited vulnerability in the CyberBrainAlyzer (why oh why do cybercompanies put Apache in the DMZ?), the cyberwarriors attempted to reprogram CyberBrainAlyzer to destroy the American people by turning all of CybamaCare's patients into mindless repeat-voting/anti-self-defense/slavery-loving/baby-killing/freedom-hating/common-sense-shunning/spend-crazy drones.

One might expect that the sudden appearance of millions of such odd persons would cause alarm, perhaps even enough to get the attention of someone in authority. The APT cyberwarriors also happened to be skilled social engineers, and managed to cause many of the remaining populace to believe that the mindless drones were merely 'liberals' or 'Chicagoans'.

The only obvious method for determining whether a person had become a 'liberal', was to stare deep into their eyes until they blinked, and then search for the retinal imprint: <scr1pt>al3rt("your site is vulnerable to XSS"); </scr1pt>

Despite these cyberwarrior's efforts, Fred eventually caught on to the plan and informed several loud congressional persons with obvious agendas and plenty of TV time. The result was beautiful - all persons who had ever substituted a "3" for an "e" were instantly demonized and forced to take CyberBrainAlyzer sessions. All security practitioners who had ever been concerned that a "1" in most fonts is identical to "l" were charged with high treason and incarcerated. Commenters on Schneier's blog were hunted down and neutralized.

And do you know the best part? After that no one ever detected a problem again.

The End.

rbarclayApril 1, 2013 3:01 PM

There are clandestine operations springing up all over the world, usually named CERT-something-or-other. And they're EVERYWHERE, nearly every government has one, most large-ish companies have one. Heck, most MILITARIES have one.
They work, mostly, out in the open - advising users of new threats and whatnot, doing clean-up after incidents, malware analysis etc. Good guys, eh?

BUT: this is all just a facade, because really they're after WORLD POWER, and their weapon of choice is .. CYBER. Because everyone thinks they're the good guys, everyone feeds them information - about zero days, less-than-secure setups, security holes. And they've been doing that for YEARS now, so their arsenal is quite large. Especially when combined in their uber/umbrella organisation - F.I.R.S.T. They can power down power plants, open dams, redirect the flow of fuel supply. And they're nearly ready.

The old-school intelligence organisations are their sworn enemies, but up to now they can only nibble at the edges and not PROVE something - because that's only possible with MORE GOVERNMENT SURVEILLANCE, and LESS OPEN-NESS. Because even FACEBOOK is a member of F.I.R.S.T., as is MICROSOFT - and *gasp* the DHS. And every bit of information that's OUT THERE is just feeding the CERTs, and, thus, F.I.R.S.T.

Only the CIA, working together with the NSA, can SAVE THE WORLD, by proving via live&recorded CCTV-feeds in every bathroom and not telling anyone before WILL SMITH (CIA) meets HARRISON FORD (NSA) what they know of CERT movements. The crucial piece of information is provided by MI6, courtesy of CCTV in London especially, via cameo appearance by Sir JOHN CONNERY.

bcsApril 1, 2013 3:38 PM

A synthetic virus is found in the wild, written in DNA that runs inside human cells and is "mostly harmless" but which has a sections encrypted with the Solitaire stream cipher keyed off the hosts DNA (think Gauss).

Dennis MApril 1, 2013 3:57 PM

In the year 2022, the collapse of the EuroZone has brought much of the US and Chinese currencies to ruins as well. This unrest leads a young, but experienced, hacker from a small country to execute a plan to hold the world’s economy in her hand.

While a little girl, Maria had learned how to infect computers and eventually amassed the largest botnet on the planet. Because she hadn’t used this botnet for anything, police organizations had never noticed it. Her own country’s cyber laws were also very underdeveloped, so she wasn’t even technically doing anything illegal. When Maria saw the world’s economies start to go south, she doubled her efforts and set a plan in motion. She gained access to as many machines as she could. Corporate systems, private people, even governments and military systems. Some of her techniques were sloppy, but she knew it wouldn’t matter soon.

When the world’s economies collapsed, BitCoin was going to be the only currency that mattered. She used her botnet to mine, non-stop. She saw her wallet fatten, but would not stop. From her custom software, she could overclock her zombified machines and have them mine overtime. The effect of this was disastrous. The extra electricity needed to power the overworked devices strained the power grid & the heat generated in the machines nearly melted them down. This left affected computers & most other powered devices nearly useless. When she realized that the intelligence community was on to her, she sent the kill command: one last overclocking burst that would cripple not only most of the world’s power grid, but also melt down almost every machine that is a part of her bot net. Enough computers and parts of the power grid were destroyed that most peoples’ lives were left in shambles, but enough infrastructure remained to give people hope that things could return to normal. Her specific targets to destroy were strategic: computer manufacturing facilities in Asia, high frequency trading systems & government communication servers.

This event served as the death knell for traditional currencies, but Maria controlled the largest stockpile of bitcoins in the world, which would make her by far the richest and most powerful person on Earth. She also controlled much of the world’s military systems. This meant all the attack & surveillance drones and all of the missiles were at her whim. With her new wealth & power, she raised a private army from all of the newly broke, out of work people of the world to defend her & defeat anyone who would get in her way of complete world domination.

Thomas HApril 1, 2013 4:13 PM

It’s April 28th, 2013, and North Korea Supreme Leader Kim Jong-un is with his back against the wall. His constant escalation and goading of those capitalist Yankee swines and the pathetic South Koreans has yielded more than he bargained for, with several US Navy vessels steaming towards North Korea and all of the surrounding US bases preparing for the invasion of North Korea, South Korea and several other Asian countries pledging their support to the USA, China on the verge of revoking their protection, and Russia playing deaf mute since several days. Kim Jong-un knows that North Korea can’t retaliate to the imminent attack despite actually having the technology to do so: there’s no rocket fuel left. He consults the list of countries he threatened with destruction. There’s one other option left.

Time for Operation “Swan Sung”.

Morning of April 30th, 2013. The Netherlands prepare for the coronation ceremony of King Willem-Alexander. The weather is cold, and much precipitation can be expected thanks to a new Chinese company seeding the clouds for extra rain. Many people are watching the coronation on TV. Just 30 minutes after the broadcast has started it is interrupted. Shots are heard, and then an audio-only message by a Argentinian terrorist group is heard, telling that the Prince and his wife will only be freed if his father-in-law is executed in public for the crimes he committed in the 1970s. Panic spreads through the Netherlands, with many people trying to obtain information on the terrorists via various means of communication.

Afternoon of April 30th, 2013. The gunshots have been identified as a soundbyte from Code of Duty. The events of the morning appear to have been a hoax perpetrated by some teenage script kiddies looking to have fun. The Dutch security services bow their heads in shame, as once again they have been totally outsmarted on the digital plane. On the internet the debate rages on.

Evening of April 30th, 2013. Horror unfolds upon the world. The fake terrorist attack in the Netherlands is revealed to have triggered a hidden payload in the firmware of Samsung devices used to search for news on the subject. Using compromised machines all over the world, the thus activated virus launches a massive amount of DDoS attacks using a predetermined strategy pitting known enemies against each other. Worse, all Samsung devices suddenly identify as various types of dangerous internet-enabled devices, triggering responses from other internet-enabled devices in a never-ending cascade of responses.

May 5th, 2013. The world has been set back 30 years. Many data centers have been reduced to smoking piles of debris due to fires caused by overheating. 90% of DNS servers have been disabled. Seoul has been wiped off the map after a virus-infected nuclear submarine nuked it. Thousands of innocents have been arrested for alledgely posting subversive messages on various websites.

May 6th, 2013. Kim Jong-un realizes that although he has technically won, the communication blackout means he can’t actually claim victory.

paranoia destroys yaApril 1, 2013 4:15 PM

Attackers institute an attack in depth of utilizing both cyber and conventional strikes.

Crackers (people performing malicious computer hacking) reset everything to the Julian calendar including the master atomic clocks. This throws off the precise timing required for GPS, planes, military targeting weapons.

We regain the 14 days skipped, plus about another weeks worth of seeing the same day we already experienced. The repeating is triggered to happen in early February so they think they are in a Bill Murray movie.

When everyone realizes the error and try to reset the computers, the conventional terrorist unit involved in this plot detonates a atomic bomb in the Canary Islands. The resulting landslide creates a tsunami that destroys the entire eastern seaboard up to 50 miles inland from Miami to Boston.

AnonApril 1, 2013 4:17 PM

In a secret lab defense funded research and development makes significant advance in self replicating and autonomous artificial pathogens at an atomic scale. A standard API is developed to produce random mutations of simulated biological sequences at speeds equal to the fastest processing available.

Civilian hobbyist obtain material, API, and education from subversive sources on the Internet. Intentional and unintentional pathological sequences are produced and released into the environment in high frequency. Pathogens never before exposed to nature circulate through air, consumables and other vectors at an alarming rate.

The scale and speed at which the simulated pathogens can replicate and adapt leave no practical possibility for any world agency to mitigate.

Within a matter of months, all natural environments on earth are uninhabitable. Those with controlled bunkers are terminated when their supplies are exhausted.

The Last CowboyApril 1, 2013 4:37 PM

A new computer virus puts child pornography on your computer. It then sends an email to a "fellow" pedophile, BCCing people on your contact list. Everyone you know suddenly has grave doubts about you; an investigation begins; your life is ruined.

This virus is used sparingly on politicians and other public figures, whose beliefs or actions are interfering with those of the terrorist.

J.D.April 1, 2013 4:56 PM

One day, our plucky protagonist is poking around some DOD databases (he used 'the backdoor' to get in, like all professional movie-hackers). He finds something horrifying --copies of all those videotaped torture sessions of suspected terrorists (and other random brown people) that were supposedly destroyed-- along with evidence of numerous other US war crimes.

He copies the files to his computer, intent on leaking them to the world. But he trips an alarm! (insert technobabble) 'They' know someone took the files! And They cannot allow something so embarrassing and incriminating to see the light of day. So They start hunting down our protagonist:

They go to Congress, the Courts, and the Media, and tell them all that an Advanced Persistent Threat (probably from China) has broken into secret DOD computers and stolen critical secrets. Then They start hacking and attacking power-grids, banks, and other institutions -- all to terrify the public. Under the banner of 'We're Under Cyber-Attack!", They gather the authority to tap any line, read any email, access any database, and arrest any person, without need for warrants or reasons. They use these powers to track down the protagonist, who is still struggling with the morality of leaking the information he has.

After some exciting and explosive chase scenes (insert Michael Bay), They capture our protagonist, and then subject him to years of torture and indefinite detention in a secret prison, as vengeance for imperiling them. Meanwhile, They continue to use their expanded powers to further tighten their grip upon the nation and the world.

The End.

I guess its really more of a tragedy...

runeghostApril 1, 2013 5:05 PM

A country in the Middle-East, fearful of a perceived impending American attack, uses domestic computer expertise along with the purchased services of multiple cyber-criminal groups to convincingly fake news of multiple North Korean missile launches targeted at the continental United States in an effort to distract the American government and media.

Some reputable news sources that have been compromised in advance are used to disseminate convincing but falsified coverage of the attack, including painstakingly prepared and authentic-appearing digitally altered video using well-known newscasters. Websites and other channels likely to be used to debunk the fake North Korean attack are deluged with both official-looking spoofed confirmation of the launches and are simultaneously struck by massive DDoS attacks. The DDoS attacks are augmented as every internet-connected American (and much of the rest of the world) attempts to find out what's going on.

The digital chaos makes it impossible to tell what is actually occurring, and prevents any immediate exposure of the hoax. Real and fake information swiftly become hopelessly confused. Faked updates are released listing likely targets of the surprisingly accurate and presumably nuclear-tipped North Korean missiles. Several of America's largest cities convulse in sudden panic at the prospect of imminent nuclear detonations.

In the end, after a few hours of chaos and terror, the hoax is exposed for what it is. No military units took any rash action, and there is no immediate retaliation against North Korea. However, the death toll from riots, looting, car crashes, and irrational acts of terrified people range into the hundreds, with thousands of casualties and millions in direct damage, plus the much-higher cost of massive economic disruption.

FigureitoutApril 1, 2013 5:13 PM

It started at Google...
(Year: 2113)

Driving a car is one of those things in the past we no longer do and rely on technology so we can be more productive facebooking and angry birding. People who still want to "live in the past" and have control over the machine are ostracized and shoved into the crypts. In order to keep friends that don't care about us, we all buy the latest car w/ at least 5 remote inputs and no foresight, and we set our destination and the car drives itself.

"Look Ma, no hands!"

All cars drive like the electric toy cars, jerky and perfectly spaced, tailgating bumper to bumper. They are attached to rails in the roads so you couldn't take it off the track and drive on your own (if you did, you would have other issues). They override human decisions and get maintenance and fuel on their own terms. Everywhere you drive is in fact documented very extensively, it has to for the system to work.

It started out great. Car wrecks were practically 0. Terrorism became a leading cause of death over car wrecks so DHS made light of that fact as it collected $5000 trillion in its annual budget; and due to more and more people falling into poverty and not seeing a future and caring about anything, they began to tinker w/ "the secure system". Unfortunately (or fortunately, depending on your view), they discovered that one node at any intersection gave them access to information at ALL nodes.

Despite efforts by ghosts of Schneier and others, saying the tech. isn't ready to be implemented and security risks are too strong, and our freedoms would be further limited. The "normal" people blow off the kooks. But, like the "glitches" seen in the early 21st century, where Toyota's act on their own; the glitches are back and "random" people are dying at unprecedented levels. People are too preoccupied w/ their screens to care about murder at the whims of angry people who don't care about anything.

ChristianOApril 1, 2013 5:32 PM

It is 2018 and 3D Printers have evolved to being able to print not just moveable parts like electrical motors, but also have a reservoir of chips to equip printed objects with little general purpose computers comparable to todays sensor motes.

An evil group hacks computers and uses them to print out little drones, that equipped with little bombs, created from house hold objects, attack government buildings all over the world.

First leads to the hackers go to China where some mysterious government hacker is identified by CIA agents with the help of his Facebook account. After retaliation with "real weapons", several new leads to hackers from all around the world are found, discrediting the former proofs for China having started the attacks. All this comes to late as the USA is already at war with all the formerly known as BRIC-states to prevent further cyber-physical terror attacs.


There is only two heroes now left to stop the evil yet unknown group: John McClane and Agent Roy "Tripwire" Merritt.

Together with a flimsy looking hacker they are able to hack the Wikileaks servers, which already have a backlog of to be released documents. Among those one proofing Satoshi Nakamoto was the evil mastermind behind this plan. He plunged the world into chaos just to bolster his own currency and making it with a single blow to the worlds economy the last stable and surviving currency!

Soon to be produced by The Asylum film studio!

Chris BatteyApril 1, 2013 5:44 PM

Foreign hackers breaking into NASA's systems gain control over the systems used to send remote commands to satellites, including the control systems for the satellites' thrusters. Normally these commands are used for minor positional adjustments to maintain orbital stability. But the attackers are able to use this control mechanism to begin deorbiting satellites onto major US cities, smashing them into landmarks, government buildings, and gatherings of large crowds (e.g. sporting events or major concerts).

Other controllers of satellites (e.g. the major telecoms) are also attacked, with network security failures in corporations in other countries (e.g. the Scandinavian phone companies) resulting in attacks on American cities, prompting the US government to start accusing other governments and corporations of complicity in the attacks, and ultimately shooting satellites out of the sky itself to prevent them being used as weapons, crippling the world's telecom infrastructure through overreaction.

onearmedspartanApril 1, 2013 7:03 PM

In a last-ditch effort to win back Americans' confidence in their government, President Obama signs an executive order to declassify everything previously classified. EVERYTHING. Some of the many items confirmed (or denied) to the world:
Bruce Schneier's beard doubles as a ballistic missile defense shield
Osama Bin Laden is buried beside Jimmy Hoffa
Area 51 is where they store data on what happens in Vegas
The gold in Fort Knox has been secretly used to pay off the National debt. $47.83 is what is left.
Knowing is two-thirds the battle, not 1/2
Kim Jong Un is afraid of the dark, has a fetish with phallic objects and his favorite food is Miso phat
Israel hacked Iranian underground nuclear sites with a recipe for the centrifuges to produce nothing more than a bitter metallic-flavored stout beer

Where's the cyber-attack you ask? Well there is so much data disclosed that when downloaded by foreign governments, their servers crash sending all technologically advanced governments back a century and rendering bitcoins useless. And because US nuclear launch codes were disclosed (everything was declassified, remember?) the launch codes were activated by some bored teen in Canada but in a wild turn of events and unbeknownst to everyone, the US had swapped the nuclear material of cold-war era ICBM's in 1974 with several pounds of confetti, party streamers and a flag that says 'bang'.

Impossibly StupidApril 1, 2013 7:49 PM

In a world where your social network is your life, the way you keep connected can get you killed. In a time when the cell phone you carry in your pocket holds as much energy as 10 shots from a .44 Magnum, are you really going to hold it up to your head to answer that call? We let the wrong people make our technology because it is cheap, but we may end up paying the ultimate price. Even if you could open up your phone, how would you know if they've done anything to it?

It might have already happened. Millions of ticking time bombs just waiting to go off. All they need is the right trigger. A ring. A text. An app. It could be anything. You said you'd die without your smartphone. Don't worry . . . people are working hard to make sure you're going to die with it, too.

dkApril 1, 2013 8:23 PM

Its 2050, as Sino-American relationships improve the UN facilitates a meeting of former adversaries from a period of information security turmoil. Representatives from each member nation attend, austere and grey with age, spending their days presenting recently declassified material and their evenings sharing drinks and discussing the adventures of days gone by; medications of days to come.

A crowded diningroom, provisioned for the event, is the usual gathering place for attendees as the evening begins. Pockets of men and women gather around the tables of dignitaries brought in for the event including one Bruce Schneier who came despite concerns about flying at 87. A woman in her sixties attempts to engage him regarding chip-based random number generators while Bruce offers a wan smile, wondering if Niels Ferguson will make the trip. The thought lingers only a moment in the sea of faces vying for attention.

The sun has set, and as dusk fades from pink to the somber blue of evening two gentlemen make their way toward each other. The world slows down, if only for a moment, and the noise of clinking silverware and water glasses seems muted as pairs of worn but polished shoes consume a distance of perhaps two dozen yards. Each man is a pillar, straight and calm, and the room is transformed by the gravity of their passing. After an age the distance between them has been ground down to feet and in concert their hands meet automatically for a quick shake that concludes almost within the same instant.

Martin, 71, gestures off to the right, where an empty table bears the scars of a meal destroyed and provides these men an opportunity to sit and talk outside the chaos. An observer would recall that the two men smiled often, laughed freely, and shed the weight of several years in each other's company. Each sporting portable computers, the two frequently gesture and exclaim as the screens flicker and dance before them. We aren't meant to know the secret history that passed between them as the lights were dimmed and the cold and cloudless night filled with stars - these men protect records of events put in motion more than a century ago. We are meant to know that this evening they parted with a sense of lasting fraternity and the knowledge that, as the world changed, they did too.

Each man returned to his hotel, ringing with a sense of the bittersweet, and turned in. Martin folded his ancient wool jacket over the back of a chair while his Shadow, across mid-town in another hotel, watched the lights of traffic as his breath fogged his window. Each man takes inventory of his pockets, a routine perfected over decades of practice. In the same instant each man spits out the same words, a mixture of disgust and respect:

"that son of a bitch stole my computer."

The world moves on, after all, but it moves slow.

Russell ThomasApril 1, 2013 8:25 PM

It’s November 2015 and the United Nations Climate Change Conference (UNCCC) is underway in Amsterdam, Netherlands. Over the past year, ocean level rise has done permanent damage to critical infrastructure in Maldives, killing off tourism and sending the economy into freefall. The Small Island Developing States are demanding immediate relief from the Green Climate Fund, but action has been blocked. Conspiracy theories flourish. For months leading up to the Conference, the rhetoric between developed and developing countries has escalated to veiled and not-so-veiled threats. Desperate and seeing no other leverage, one powerful person in the Small Island Developing States sees an opportunity to force action.

He’s Sayyid Abdullah bin Yahya, an Indonesian engineer and construction magnate with interests in Bahrain, Bangladesh, and Maldives, all directly threatened by recent sea level rise. Bin Yahya’s firm installed industrial control systems on several flood control projects, including in the Maldives, but these projects are all stalled and unfinished for lack of financing. Beyond his financial interests, he has a deep and abiding enmity against Holland and the Dutch people, rooted in the 1947 Rawagede massacre that killed his grandfather and father. Like many muslins, he declared that he was personally insulted by Queen Beatrix’s gift to the people of Indonesia on the 50th anniversary of the massacre – a Friesian cow. "Very rude. That's part of the Dutch soul, this rudeness", he said at the time. Also like many muslins, he became enraged and radicalized in 2005 when the Dutch newspaper Jyllands-Posten published cartoons of the Prophet.

Of all the EU nations, Holland is most vulnerable to rising sea levels. It has spent billions on extensive barriers and flood controls, including the massive Oosterscheldekering storm surge barrier, designed and built in the 80s to protect against a 10,000-year storm surge. While it was only used 24 times between 1986 and 2010, in the last two years the gates have been closed 46 times.

As the UNCCC conference began in November 2015, the Oosterscheldekering was closed yet again to hold of the surge of an early winter storm. Even against low expectations, the first day’s meetings meetings went very poorly. A radicalized and enraged delegation from the Small Island Developing States (SIDS) presented an ultimatum, leading to shouting, denunciations, and finally walkouts. There was talk of canceling the rest of the conference.

Overnight, there are a series of news stories in China, South America, and United States reporting malfunctions of dams that resulted in flash floods and death of tens or hundreds people in several cases. Web sites associated with the damns were all defaced with the text of the SIDS ultimatum. In the morning, all over Holland there were reports of malfunctions of control equipment associated with flood monitoring and control systems. The winter storm was peaking that day with an expected surge of 7m (22 ft), higher than the Great Flood of 1953. With the Oosterscheldekering and other flood controls working normally, this is no worry. But at 10:43am, the Oosterscheldekering storm gates unexpectedly open.

Russell ThomasApril 1, 2013 9:30 PM

(corrected spelling and wording)

It’s November 2015 and the United Nations Climate Change Conference (UNCCC) is underway in Amsterdam, Netherlands. Over the past year, ocean level rise has done permanent damage to critical infrastructure in Maldives, killing off tourism and sending the economy into freefall. The Small Island Developing States are demanding immediate relief from the Green Climate Fund, but action has been blocked. Conspiracy theories flourish. For months, the rhetoric between developed and developing countries has escalated to veiled and not-so-veiled threats. One person in elites of the Small Island Developing States sees an opportunity to force action.

He’s Sayyid Abdullah bin Yahya, an Indonesian engineer and construction magnate with interests in Bahrain, Bangladesh, and Maldives, all directly threatened by recent sea level rise. Bin Yahya’s firm installed industrial control systems on several flood control projects, including in the Maldives, but these projects are all stalled and unfinished for lack of financing. He also has a deep, abiding enmity against Holland and the Dutch people, rooted in the 1947 Rawagede massacre that killed his grandfather and father. Like many Muslims, he declared that he was personally insulted by Queen Beatrix’s gift to the people of Indonesia on the 50th anniversary of the massacre – a Friesian cow. "Very rude. That's part of the Dutch soul, this rudeness", he said at the time. Also like many Muslims, he became enraged and radicalized in 2005 when the Dutch newspaper Jyllands-Posten published cartoons of the Prophet.

Of all the EU nations, Holland is most vulnerable to rising sea levels. It has spent billions on extensive barriers and flood controls, including the massive Oosterscheldekering storm surge barrier, designed and built in the 80s to protect against a 10,000-year storm surge. While it was only used 24 times between 1986 and 2010, in the last two years the gates have been closed 46 times.

As the UNCCC conference began in November 2015, the Oosterscheldekering was closed yet again to hold off the surge of an early winter storm. Even against low expectations, the first day’s meetings went very poorly. A radicalized and enraged delegation from the Small Island Developing States (SIDS) presented an ultimatum, leading to denunciations and walkouts. “What can they do – start a war?” asked the Dutch Minister of Infrastructure and the Environment in an unguarded moment. There was talk of canceling the rest of the conference.

Overnight, there are a series of news stories in China, South America, and United States reporting malfunctions of dams that resulted in flash floods and death of tens or hundreds people in several cases. Web sites associated with the damns were all defaced with the text of the SIDS ultimatum. In the morning, all over Holland there were reports of malfunctions of control equipment associated with flood monitoring and control systems. The winter storm was peaking that day with an expected surge of 7 meters (22 feet), larger than the Great Flood of 1953. With the Oosterscheldekering working normally, this is no worry. But at 10:43am, the storm gates unexpectedly open.

pfoggApril 1, 2013 9:56 PM

Using a carefully crafted and targeted virus akin to 'stuxnet', firmware for control systems on a majority of newer cars and trucks are corrupted during routine maintenance. At a carefully chosen time, the infected systems simultaneously 'brick'. Enough vehicles are affected to block essential thoroughfares in every major metropolitan area, effectively bringing motorized surface travel to a standstill.

'Just-in-time' inventory methods lead to shortages and rumors of shortages, resulting in runs on stores, and riots. Police and fire departments are unable to respond to calls, and fires and looting spread.

Street-gangs riding vintage motorcycles take over in a dystopic finish that sets us up for a sequel mash-up of 'Mad Max' and 'Escape from New York'.

TrickTrashApril 1, 2013 10:56 PM

Near Future: The new 'Stuffnext' virus targets the worlds sperm banks, immigration\naturalisation and adoption agencies. Chaos ensues.....

A ghastly cabal of US Episcopalians, Methodists, Petacostals and other weird Protestant groups who've got the money & the know-how take serious umbrage, but see the possibilities...developments in Gene Replacement therapy and refinements in DNA research (especially the recent finding of the 'God Gene') combined with advances in Gaming interfaces (Think head-embedded S.C.A.D.A Human-Machine-Interface) allow them to create a new virus to make the world over in their own image, to turn us all into god-fearing consumers. They bring THE LORD to one and all. In response, The Vatican's 'Rhythm Method' virus falls flat on its face

Nobody notices the effect much, since that plan's got hair on it and although terrorists try their own versions, they can't compete with the worlds Governments and businesses, who release viruses to help us to Buy! Buy! Buy! Think less!: capitalism wins!

Nathaniel EliotApril 2, 2013 12:19 AM

A group with a fair bit of funding and patience distributes a virus.

This virus has two stages. The first is fairly typical, though largely inactive, and is easily removed by conventional antivirus scans. The second is only triggered if the first stage sits without interference for a set period of time.

The second stage of the virus listens. It looks for patterns of illicit behavior. When it finds them, it alerts its handlers.

Its handlers are compiling a list of people who can be blackmailed. Those people are separated by the simple sorting mechanism of an unrelated bit of blackmail (send $X to an unconnected mule) to distinguish truly vulnerable targets.

When enough vulnerable targets have accumulated, the true attack begins in earnest. Aided by the large bot-net, the handlers start a coordinated proxy attack, via the weakest point in any security system: the people embedded within it. Network ports get left open at the wrong time, keycards get "lost" by loving (but philanderous) spouses, phone lines get cut by tax-dodging electricians, and so on.

Rob Goddard-WillcoxApril 2, 2013 2:16 AM

Does the latest Youtube craze ‘the Puppydog shizzle’ have a dark side?

In 2012 a brilliant young researcher presented evidence that the 2011 London riots were triggered by a proof-of-concept attack by state-sponsored hackers that cut off internet access to the area. These claims were laughed off by the government.
Now, in late 2013, researchers at Spakerky Labs claim to have uncovered a hidden payload that “makes Stuxnet and Flame look like coding 101”. Triggered by the video receiving its two billionth view, it will seek out and permanently disable all networks detectable by any of the host devices. Conservative estimates suggest that 80% of the Western world will be plunged into a pre-internet dark age. In a statement, spokesman Dr Venkman claimed there would be “riots in the streets, dogs and cats living together, mass hysteria”. With the clock ticking and the view count rising, can anyone find a way to stop the viral video before it causes economic meltdown?

Robbert van der SteegApril 2, 2013 4:52 AM

In 2016, the US general elections were won by Andrew Kim-Il. The 42 year old independent candidate was a relative new person and a second generation immigrant whose parents originated from North Korea. He surprised friend and foe with his win. Soon after Andrew raised to power, political tensions between the US and North Korea improved and the US started to remove some of its military presence in South Korea, despite the obvious build-up of military power in the northern part of the peninsula.
Jason Moore, a brilliant 16 years school kid had two lives. At school he was a nice behaved boy that was the best in his classes. He is one of those kids that only need a few hours of sleep. At night he liked to snoop around in networks of companies and governments. He made some extra money on the side by telling institutions on weaknesses in their systems. Many organizations refused to pay him and threaten him with prosecution, usually he agreed to keep quiet and avoid more trouble. He knew he was a small fish, so a lawsuit was too expensive for him. Some organizations appreciated his work and he made some friends within the lower ranks of the government, although the big-shots did not appreciate his work.
Bill Vanderbilt, one of his friends in government invited Jason to have a look at the new voting machines that were now adopted in most states. One of the things the government made obligatory was that the code on the machines should be open source. Bill knew that Jason was able to check the code and see if the system was free and open. Jason downloaded the programming code of the machine and saw no problems.
After the elections Bill asked Jason to check some other machines, to see if all code was the same and up to standards. Jason saw some minimal change in the code but it looked that this would not affect the result. Curious by this finding Bill and Jason compared this with the code that Jason downloaded before. It seems that something had changed the open source code of the voting machines.
Jason found a virus, comparable with stuxnet was present on a machine that has not been used during the election. The virus was written in the voting machine hardware language. Maybe the virus was present on the chip set of the machine, or it was planted externally. He copied the virus on a new machine. He changed the date to the election day and voted on several candidates. Jason was surprised to see that Andrew Kim-Il would get the majority while he definitely did not vote for him more than 25% of the times. He downloaded the source code and saw some differences. There were some new lines that favored a certain candidate. Jason changed the date again and both these new lines as well as the virus were completely gone.

MartinApril 2, 2013 5:34 AM

Stuxnet is back. And bigger than ever.

One of the rare computer scientists who actually deals a lot with SCADA and PLC systems notices something ... from the perspective of a process control cabinet, every motor looks basically the same. An odd thing, sure, but no of consequence.

Meanwhile, everywhere, industrial plants behave strange, with motors spinning out of control and damaging components - but only if there's 98 of equal nominal power present.

Our shocked comp. scientist finally connects the dots: Stuxnet spread - maybe by copying errors that disabled the part of it's code built to prevent such a thing - everywhere, and is disabling plants that fit the general charactaristic of 98 equal motors.

Engineers all over the world, panic, redesign their plants or add dummy motors, and rejoice after the challenge is mastered.

Our comp. scientist, who has now the ear of powerful people and commitees, stumbles upon something new ... due to bit rot, the next "magic number" to avoid my be 96, or 105, or ...

Fried ApeApril 2, 2013 7:04 AM

A hacker group develop an application that tracks and identifies politicians by mobile phone traffic and location analysis. Using this information they begin a spear phishing campaign to load spyware on the target phones, with the intention of selling a feed of embarrassing information to news media. At a political conference an unfortunate gaffe by a world leader during a televised speech is recorded and uploaded to YouTube by several of the attending politicians. The spyware begins to spread exponentially. In the UK the newly-formed Press Governance Commission, investigating allegations of mobile-phone hacking against politicians, publishes the hosting details and URL of the tracking server. The first proof-of-concept application appears within four hours. The tracking server fails from overload twelve hours later, but not before the service is mirrored around the world by groups, agencies and governments interested in being able to track individuals and monitor their communications. Swapping phones is no remedy, as the application rapidly learns a person’s new number through analysis and pattern matching. The first celebrity is stalked and killed by a fan three days later. The first politicians succumb to coincidental accidents two days after that. After a further week a joint analysis by GCHQ and the NSA reports that the problem has escaped any remedy and that privacy is no longer possible. The President blames China. Europe blames America. The Gulf states blame Israel. North Korea invades South, but the war ends after 24 hours when every attack is met with a perfect ambush.

SeanbotApril 2, 2013 7:21 AM

A malicious worm unleashed upon the internet by a southern baptist computer science student wipes out all pr0n on every server and workstation that it infects. With nothing to do on the internet now, people actually get out of doors and get sunshine and exercise. The US healthcare "crisis" is now the US healthcare "bust" as doctor sick visits sink to an all time low. Physicians are the new lower class as there are now a glut of them and they are bridled with insurmountable student debt. A brave young member of this new underclass must use his hacking skillz to destroy the worm and bring adult sites back to the masses.

Sarten XApril 2, 2013 7:32 AM

A team of commandos lands on a beach. They infiltrate a small resort hotel, placing surveillance bugs. As they leave, a group of diplomats arrive for an unannounced meeting, each carrying electronics that leak the diplomats' private keys. Monitoring the bugs is our Protagonist, who dutifully turns over the keys to his overly-patriotic commanding officer. When the Protagonist notices that one of the diplomats is American, the CO dismisses his concerns by saying that he expected one would be.

A few years later, the Protagonist is now working as a communications officer, having been honorably discharged from his espionage post. A hacktivist group breaks into several nations' systems and retrieves the locations of troops and ships engaged in war games. The information is stored on weak systems, which are in turn hacked by the Villain. That Villain uses chain-of-command details to convince commanders to heed his orders, aided by authorization codes believed to be secure. He manipulates international politics through a series of increasingly-aggressive "mistakes" during war games. Eventually, the United States is goaded into launching a nuclear strike at a Chinese fleet being sent to "protect" an island in the East China Sea. Throughout the escalation, the Protagonist sees news reports about the mistakes that must have a response, and he struggles with disillusionment in the glory of a military career.

As China prepares the biggest retaliation yet, other nations quickly take sides, and high-ranking military leaders maneuver their troops into position for World War III. The Protagonist is called back to espionage duty, with his first assignment being to trace the attack orders that are apparently authorized by the high-ranking commanders. After recovering the first few keys, he recognizes one. He checks the old mission report, and finds that many of the encryption keys match.

The Protagonist uses the other keys from the report to unravel most other fraudulent orders, but there's one more key that he can't break, and he still doubts whether it's right to help the military. He calls up an old friend for advice: his patriotic CO. They talk for a while, but the Protagonist is worried about McCarthy-esque persecution if the government learns of his doubts, so while talking vocally about the weather, they carry on an electronic discussion securely. The secured conversation is a trap. The Protagonist has placed the same bugs as they'd used in Africa, and he now has his CO's key. It's a match. The CO is the Villain!

The Protagonist confronts the Villain openly. The Villain reveals that he's not patriotic, but a powerful pacifist. By impersonating military leaders in every superpower, he intends to bring the world to the brink of war, then order all the aggressors to stand down simultaneously. Just as each nation must follow the calls for escalation, they must take credit for the ensuing peace. Past transgressions will be forgiven thanks to the newfound common restraint, and peace can reign. The Protagonist can choose to turn him in, or let there be peace.

DylanApril 2, 2013 8:07 AM

Cyber-Climate Wars
America's fledgling renewable energy sector is destroyed by a group known only as the LFN Defenders (Low Frequency Noise.)

Initial attempts to cause wind turbines to start and stop at irregular intervals thereby destroying them are thwarted when the group fails to locate USB ports on the turbine towers.

However, their coup-de-grace is the downing of the Secretary of Energy's helicopter on an overflight of the newly commissioned Tonopah Concentrating Solar Thermal Plant in Nevada. Cyber-terrorists hack the servo motor controllers on the heliostat field, and shine "the light of a thousand suns" directly on the aircraft. Stunned officials are swift to denounce the raids, but in a defensive measure, several expired coal leases are swiftly reactivated, and research funds diverted to new-new-coal energy.

paldubeeApril 2, 2013 8:39 AM

One of the major goverments (or a small one) finds out there is going to be a major cataclysmic event in space. This could be a huge sunspot, asteroid collision, etc. They realize this will produce a huge electromagnetic pulse that will cause all unshieled electronics to burn out, and also cause the magnetic polarity of the earth to switch.

They thus start a campaign to shield all of their electronics and build in the ability to handle to earth's polarity switch.

When the cataclysmic even occurs, the country then takes over the world because everyone is without electronics.

Andrew YeomansApril 2, 2013 8:48 AM

Big Data meets Big Pharma, Big Politics and Big Aliens

Dateline February 2016. The Head of the Global Information Trends Agency receives a call from the Head of the Pharmaceutical Manufacturers Association. “We've been working round the clock to meet your predicted demand for influenza antiviral agents - but sales are just dead. Your data's failed again”.

Similar scenes a few months later from the energy industry – steady discrepancies between metered power trends and the predictions from search analytics. Travel is hit next – both business and holiday travel are diverging from all expected norms. But there's no obvious reasons why. Then the polls for the US Presidential Elections are returning shock results – Green Party candidates are mounting a serious challenge to the two-party system, to the point where they may hold the balance of power.

Is this indicative of a change in the global psyche? Psychology researchers try to understand the swings, but only demonstrate that there has been no measurable change in individual responses.

An astrophysicist detects an anomaly in the processing of his supercomputer data. He notices that data abbreviated to “Cnc” is fine, but if marked in full as “Cancer” then subtle changes are seen in the processed results. Cue for general disbelief, but test data sets clearly indicate the effect. Source code gets thoroughly examined, and nothing can be found to explain the errors.

Ernie Bucscher, a “benevolent black-hat hacker” repeats the calculations on a botnet of compromised home PCs, but also fails to detect any difference. So our hero Ernie manages to crack into the NSA's code cracking centre in Utah, and repeats the calculations there – bingo, differences found.

But the alarms have been triggered. Cue to a chase across the country, with FBI in hot pursuit, while Ernie digs deeper into the data, in a race against time. Eventually finds that the problem affects only server processors. But still no issues in the source code, even when run on virtual machines. While holed up in a building surrounded by the FBI, Ernie makes his escape by flinging the server that he's been working on through the locked glass doors. The server case breaks open and coincidentally the IPMI board pops out of the broken circuit boards. Light dawns... Ernie realises that he's never checked the IPMI code.

Discovers an extra software module, which downloads keywords, searches undetectably for these keywords in server memory, then makes small random changes to data values in adjacent locations. Thus applying a slight bias to any results that trigger the match. Each individual change is almost imperceptable, but cumulatively, over millions of processors in the search & cloud computing engines and supercomputers, the errors add up. They influence data results and individual choices, explaining all the effects seen.

Being Hollywood, the movie can't end in plausibility. The source of the keyword data is tracked down to Tycho crater on the moon. A race of aliens are modifying human behaviour to terraform the Earth to a greener world, to better suit their planned invasion.

Michael JApril 2, 2013 9:21 AM

This story starts a long time ago for a cyberwar story that
ends in a physical armageddon in the 21st century...

In the late 30s President Roosevelt's concern about the
growing Nazi menace is heard by the United States Secret
Service who, since the 19th century, had a really secret
arm of their service. Two men from that agency approached
Mr Roosevelt and apprised him of The System. The System
composed of an entirely isolated division which was
intergenerational and born and bred deep cover agents who
worked in commerce and government.

They had their own Manhatten Project, which was the one
thing they were missing: super advanced disguise technology
which allowed them to disguise themselves as anyone. Quickly,
and even long term without surgery. Meanwhile, the RIA was also
given controlling influence in the intelligence agencies.

Flash forward to the year two thousand, and RIA was
entirely forgotten by anyone outside, entirely self-sufficient,
as always, only far more powerful now.

In the year two thousand, the RIA was deeply entrenched in
the computer security movement in Israel, Britain, Germany,
the US, and China.

Their MO was to have some agents who had familial background
to their respective countries intel agencies. Some were
also given false backgrounds of criminal exploitation or
charges. (Who suspects a government agent would have
criminal bonafides? Rival nations -- that's who.)

And they created technology designed to appeal to their
respective governments, who overlooked their potentially
shady past.

Over the next ten years, the RIA had arms which attacked
foreign nations with careful concern to make it appear as
though these attacks came from their host countries. They
relied on the fact that each host country would believe
the attacks really came from their own so no deep
investigations would ensue. And target nations would assume
the attacks were really from the countries they seemed to
come from because they wanted to believe this.

Nobody had heard anything of any group like this, because
groups like this never get caught. And when they do exist,
they do not get caught because they never talk about themselves.

After heightening tensions for ten years and perfecting
attack MOs (targets, technology, types of mistakes to get
caught to get the target countries over confident and never
assume they were intentionally caught)... they finally
started the attacks which would really hurt, after engaging
the various services of the various nations against each
other and their own people: too distracted, the RIA could
really get things heated up.

So, the painful attacks started. No longer just grabbing
data, they started to crash major corporations and destroy
credit data. With a mixture of shorting stocks and buying
rival stocks through rival companies, they pinched harder
and brought about extensive, global economic collapse --
all the while still appearing to be from deep intel
in rival nations.

Nations go to war against each other, blaming them for
the attacks. In the ruins of global corporations and
governments, in the theater of a new world war, the RIA
sees their path of obtaining complete global dominance
finally apparent. Owning the companies that said "I told
you so" and the military and intelligence officers who
kept being right on these issues they had no problem
finally taking over completely from the ashes of the old
age.

paulApril 2, 2013 10:15 AM

Hackers infiltrate high-frequency trading systems at multiple stock exchanges, causing a -- oh, wait, that already happens without hackers.

How about:
Hackers take control of the guidance systems aboard GPS satellites, causing countless traffic jams, crashes of GPS-controlled cars and aircraft, lost military vehicles, hikers, blah blah blah.

The hero figures out the problem when his GPS tries to lead him into an avalanche zone while he is climbing in the Alps with his supermodel girlfriend (higher altitudes are affected first because they're closer to the satellites). He attempts a counterhack, which fails, but reveals to him that the hackers are planning to divert a missile-equipped drone on a training exercise toward a presidential motorcade. (Cue ticking clock, explosions etc)

Then we learn that all across the midwest, GPS-controlled tractors have been plowing furrows and planting seed in the wrong places, and the country's food supply is DOOMED, DOOMED! Only a brilliant bioengineering project can save everyone, but meanwhile records of futures speculation lead us to a financier who is also a deranged environmentalist and plans -- after the apocalypse -- to step in with his trillions and remake the world in his eco-friendly image. (Cue more explosions, improbably personal duel.)

alanmApril 2, 2013 10:23 AM

Coming This Summer: it's a Cyber Black Hawk Down!

The year is 2017. Three quarters of developing world citizens are carrying smart phones. Tesla shares have just touched $500. Google Accessories debuts at the Sao Paulo fashion week.

United States Carrier Group Two is stationed off the coast of war-torn but oil-rich Nigeria. Drones flying from the USS George HW Bush target separatist rebels intent on capturing vital oil pipelines. Led by the charismatic Dr Garam Marsalah, the rebels are about to launch a devastating counter attack.

On the morning of 1 October, a navy intern on the Nimitz class supercarrier follows a link in an email claiming to come from an exiled Nigerian prince. In seconds his tablet computer is compromised by a military grade cyberweapon. The weapon uploads a zero day exploit over the cabin wireless to the carrier's DNS. From there it establishes contact with a command and control server on the mainland and then deploys a series of deadly payloads against the ship's subsystems, payloads built with one special goal: taking control of a US aircraft carrier.

Nigerian child-hackers raised by Dr Marsalah developed the fearsome cyberweapon with the help of carrier system blueprints supplied by the Chinese. The great ship comes around and starts to head for the shore, while the weapon systems begin coming online under control of the child-hackers. Drone strikes are launched against the unsuspecting destroyers accompanying the carrier, disabling many of them. Simultaneously, Marsalah's hackers launch massive denial of service attacks against the border routers, all but cutting off outside access to Nigerian Internet.

The only hope is a crack squad of CIA-trained hackers from US Cyber Command in Maryland. From across the Atlantic they must penetrate Marsalah's relentless DoS shield, hack into the carrier's systems via a secret US government back door and defeat the terrifying Nigerian cyberweapon before it's too late!

GhostOfLeCarreApril 2, 2013 10:31 AM

A teenager in Florida develops an online role-playing game for smart phones that’s so compelling and addictive that it makes World of Warcraft look like pong. All over the United States people are drawn to the game’s prosaic virtual reality and transformed into smart phone zombies, completely oblivious to the world around them.

Unable to break the game’s hold, society begins an ominous downward spiral. News coverage of the event only serves to make matters worse as curiosity leads more people into the game’s clutches. People are so hooked on the game that they play until they expire. Half of Congress calls in sick. The U.S. drone fleet is knocked offline. NORAD devolves into a huge LAN party. The President’s wife hides his smart phone and refuses to tell him where she stashed it!

The tiny fraction of the population that remains, mostly people over sixty who don’t own smart phones, walk dazed through barren streets. Rule of law breaks down. Seniors can’t get refills for their prescriptions. Corpses grasping smart phones litter the countryside. Oh the humanity!

GM-HaxorApril 2, 2013 10:51 AM

Opening scene: Firing squad mows down a lineup of stereotypical hackers in Hong Kong, taped to their chests is a printout of a news story about a premier's relative in a car accident with hookers

Cut to docks in Taiwan, camera pans inside to hidden cyber cafe ( with neat neon lights and 'cyber style' furniture as out of place as the cafe is on the docks). Camera sweeps to workstation in back where an uber hacker swears vengeance [subtitled], starts clicking away on same MAC laptop model used by Jeff Goldblum in Independence Day.

In Hong Kong at night - scene starts with tourist skyline view, sweeps in through a hospital window. Camera shows screen of medical lab computer waking up. On the screen the recent DNA analysis of the bird flu scrolls on screen, with helpful pictures of dead photogenic victims next to the code. Big pop up starts timing the download of said data. AC/DC song gets blasted out from PC as a victory anthem after data download pop up chimes 100 percent.

Scene shifts to outside of building that with trademark proofed version on 'Monsanto' on the outside. Sweeps into past locked airlock doors of lab with big 'DNA' signs on them. Silent workstation attached to machine labelled 'Sequencer' wakes up. Inventory screen showing folders of custom seed orders comes up. Mouse opens up a folder labelled Beijing. Inside are MS office files labelled in DNA-country-city-order-number syntax. CLICK on Beijing. Up pops a DNA 'editing' window that, in an extravagant show of graphics reminiscent of Jurassic Park's frog DNS movie, allows the remote hacker to cut paste the flu code into the wheat germ genetic sequence.

Apocalyptic music swells as camera now pans to bees swooping down onto waving wheat stalks in China. Scene must include stereotypical dressed Chinese farmer, or else oddly out of place pagoda style building in order to place the field in an Asian context.

Anne OniApril 2, 2013 11:59 AM

"The Special Level" is mix of the cult-classics "Halloween III" and "The Last Starfighter".

A mix between first person shooter and adventure game, the Taiwan produced "Tewu" was secretly produced by North Korean programmers. Hidden behind its fancy graphics engine, a personality profile gets produced for every player. If the player is determined to be highly suggestible, the game switches to soldier indoctrination mode. The North Korean Propaganda ministry monitors the progress of its American 5th column through a Panamanian proxy server to the Norwegian based game server. The ministry is wrapping up and waiting for the "go" signal from the Glorious Leader, but one adept player discovers this devious plan and must sever the game from the server to stop this evil plan.

Miguel FarahApril 2, 2013 12:31 PM

It's the year 2036.

Unix servers are ubiquitous and present in all industries, from nuclear armament to candy factories; Windows as a server operating system is but a (bad) memory; Linux is ubiquitous, too, as 2025 was (finally) the year of the Linux desktop.

Server engineers everywhere begin to worry about the Y2038 bug. Will *their* systems and software be affected? Most companies in the world turn to the one company expert in this kind of problem: S&M (for Stallman and Mundie, of course). S&M's small army of paid volunteers work non-stop during the following months, and finally, January 19, 2038 comes and goes without a hitch anywhere.

The world sighs with relief and moves on to other things, but... in April 1, 2038, Master Stallman comes out of retirement with a threat: FREE ALL THE SOFTWARE IN THE WORLD, or all Unix servers will stop working until his demands are met. Since most of the world thought this was a joke (the reason for it lost on Master Stallman), he whacks all servers in the Microsoft Museum (this doesn't actually damage anyone, of course, but now the world understands this is a real threat). Master Stallman issues a deadline: Unix's birthday.

Desperate, the government calls in all the help it can get: an old, jaded, Visual Basic programmer, and a young hotshot programmer that has been studying the Unix's internals on his spare time, much to his family's chagrin. Will they be able to close the backdoors S&M installed everywhere? Will they be able to determine what date Master Stallman had in mind, to begin with?

Miguel FarahApril 2, 2013 12:49 PM

It was a quick war. The military blitzkrieg was perfect. Total occupation of our nation by the enemy country has been successful. Or is it?

A small band of teenage hackers come together in a private IRC channel and organize the cyber-resistance. With nothing but old (uncompromised) laptops, hollowed-out Pringles cans and free software, they fight against the enemy, defacing their websites, one after another, planting trojans on them and even retaking enemy-controlled local websites. Even seemingly unaffected portals display the secret resistance information, when activated with the Konami code. Capturing them is impossible, as they appear, hit, run, and disappear into local WiFi networks.

The resistance is making advances toward liberation, but... they catch a ROT13-encrypted message that reveals the presence of an enemy mole in their organization. Will they catch the traitor in time, before they mount an all-out assault on the enemy's DNS root zone?

XavierApril 2, 2013 3:40 PM

A major breach occured at google, facebook, amazon, and a lot of banks and organization but nobody knows.

One day, millions of people everywhere in the world receive a package with a single USB dongle. Inside, the private profiles of all the peoples they know : family, friends, enemies, colleagues, local and national political figures. Each dataset is different but all secrets are out.

Who sent the packages and hacked all theses systems ? And why ? What to do with all these secrets ? Public figures are nowhere to be seen, most judges are discredited and medias are overhelmed.
And how so much data existed in the first place ?

Some want to accuse foreign countries, but they are all victims of the leaks. Some accuse anonymous, but no one is anonymous any longer.

Chaos rules everywhere, angry mobs start destroying computers, peoples are killed, the big cities burn and civilization ends.

Konstantin SurkovApril 2, 2013 5:02 PM

Software developer working on setting up fully automated Foxconn factory in US gets furious after factory goes live and he goes laid off.

Using dev password and login left in the system for debugging purposes he reprograms factory to produce laser-equipped drones.

When hack is noticed, it's too late: drones patrol factory perimeter killing anyone trying to get inside. Drones form the collective mind that threatens to attack nearby cities (in 1500-mile radius) if factory is left without electricity or raw materials.

The only viable option now is to nuke factory hoping that blast will take away all drones.

Mark AllynApril 2, 2013 11:21 PM

Bruce Schneier is busy in his office working on a contract with the T.S.A. to coordinate the response to some script kid's attack on the T.S.A.'s no-fly-list database server.

Bruce's son, Toby is very curious about the gun safe in the basement of Bruce's family home. He feels like he needs some exercise, so he lifts the safe and lets it drop onto the floor, just like in this video:
http://www.forbes.com/sites/marcwebertobias/2012/...

The safe pops open, revealing a gun. Toby takes the gun out. At that time, he notices the blinking lights in the far corner of the basement.

Although Toby does not know it, those blinking lights are on the Internet router that connect Bruce's network to the Internet.

However, they look like a very enticing target.

So, Toby fires the gun at the blinking lights.

In a puff of flame and smoke and dust, the router disintegrates.

Bruce's Internet connection instantly ceases.

At that precise time, by sheer coincidence, the SSH login session that Bruce had on the T.S.A.'s database server is hijacked by a hacker.

The hacker, a teenager whose girlfriend dumped him for someone who is more adept socially, is angry at the world. He runs a script on the T.S.A. database server that enters several millions random names to the No Fly List, including several corporate executives and senior law enforcement personnel, among others.

FigureitoutApril 3, 2013 1:50 AM

@Bruce Schneier
--Please keep prodding at nerd's creativity, it's very interesting reading/hearing things 'you' would've never thought of yourself, just expands one's mind; instead of regurgitating semi-tested knowledge.

@Mark Allyn
--Toby? You mean his son '1ae53fe5b6c9f252'?

EricaApril 3, 2013 4:02 AM

Microsoft announces Windows 8.1.

The time lost to the economy as people attempt to install it and discover the bug randomizer has moved all the known bugs around crashes the western economy.

RainForestGuppyApril 3, 2013 6:41 AM

Bond is back
In
Café Noir

Interior M’s office in Whitehall. There is a knock on door.
M: come in OO7
Bond walks in and stands in front of desk.
M: What do you make of these bond?
Throws a handful of brown beans across the desk, Bond picks one up and sniffs it.
Bond: Coffee, Ecudourian.
A 3rd man who had been looking out of the window turns around:
Man: Correct, and currently one of the most expensive commodities on earth.
Bond raises an eyebrow inquisitively.
M: 007 meet Prof S.T. Arbucks an expert in commodity economics.
The picture behind M slides up to expose a video screen, showing news footage
Arbucks: In the last 3 months, Somalian pirates have attacked and sunk 6 bulk carriers carrying African coffee beans for processing.
In Guatemala, rebels have set fire to plantations; it’s the same across Columbia, Ecuador and Brazil.
In Europe there have been accidents destroying storages depots and processing plants.
This has led to a world shortage of coffee, and a dramatic rise in the price of raw coffee beans.
Bond looks at the screen, coverage of 2 housewifes fighting over the last jar of coffee on the supermarket shelf.
Bond: Looks like they should switch to decaf
M: This is serious Bond.
Bond: But what has this got to do with MI7?
Screen changes to reveal image of Man, Latin complexion, early 40’s.
M: Costos Ricas, Ex Brazilian Intelligence, believed to have dealing various terrorist groups, retired several years ago to run his own organic coffee plantation.
Arbucks: Which has been totally untouched by the recent attacks.
Bond: And if I’ve I’m not mistaken…
Taps on keyboard on M’s desk. Screen shows website of company called BrazIT, news article announces new owner Costos Ricas
… the owner of the largest IT provider in Latin America.
Arbucks: Exactly, and Senor Ricas has being buying all the remaining coffees reserves at massively inflated prices.
Bond looks perturbed.
Bond: But why would an IT service provider do with very expensive coffee??
M: (into Intercom) Miss Moneypenny, please send in Q.
Q shambles enters office, pale skinned, dark rings under eyes.
M: It’s a well known fact that Geeks can only exist with sufficient coffee intake, Q here has been reduced to 2 espresso’s a day.
Q: It’s true without the required coffee intake, developers will no longer be able to develop code, operators won’t be able to respond to P1 incidents, the data centres of the world will collapse, twitter will fall quiet, Facebook will be closed. Billions will be left unable to get adequate desktop support.
M: and the only people able to respond…
Bond: Will be Ricas and his caffeine fuelled army of IT nerds….
M: Exactly Bond this isn’t a Cyber war anymore, it’s a Cyber Siege.

Hynek FabianApril 3, 2013 9:05 AM

Setting
Stuck elevators, power outages, malfunctioning industrial equipment, viruses running rampant… civilization has seen better days.

Opening
Our hero/heroine is working at peering center in Hong Kong. While disentangling yet another gordic bundle of patch cables, strange box in position to intercept passing traffic is discovered. H/H asks coleague with security clearance and they decide that somebody screwed legal wiretap (You can't just walk in data center and install random hardware, so what else could it be?). Plan is that H/H will move it inside government-sanctioned and properly secured black chamber (its delicate and top-secret piece of hardware after all), while clearance-guy inquires proper people. (think along the lines of "what cretin gave sensitive task to untrained personel? do you have any idea of bureaucratic shitstorm if government finds out?" ) Coleague is then mysteriously killed and our H/H run for life, with magic box still in pocket.


Toughin up
H/H turn to police and is dismissed by commanding officer (uncompromising but strangely distressed) as nutjob, but sympathetic low-rank promises some unspecified help. H/H then probe the box, expecting to see vanilla case of industrial espionage and hopefully some pointers about attacker or target. Instead, loads of seemingly random of traffic captures are found, quickly turning into treasure trove of prospective 0-days. In-depth analysis of trigger code show these are foot soldiers of ongoing cyber war. H/H is then saved from apprehending assasins by three-letter agent investigating fate of security-cleared coleague (tipped by police insider). But when presenting his findings, mother agency suddenly denies any support on pretense of attackers being common mobsters (turns out to be true), not associated with any "player". Further digging in magic box reveals that some third party is using these exploits to target various surveilance systems. H/H take on his black hat, go have a look and bingo – there is handy backdoor already installed. And with it a little daemon is gathering all kind of compromising info on important people (Unwilling police officer from above is pretty low on the list.) and sending it somewhere in Nigerian IP range.


Showdown
Assasins are back on trail and they turn out to be henchmen of cyber-criminal syndicate! In between action scenes, it is revealed that trading in cyber weapons is as profitable as trading in real things. And much more if you outsource production on G-class governments and copy their results. Actually, mastermind in background is not content with scraps and is actively fueling cyber-hostilites in hopes of getting to plutonium-grade stuff. If you like good endings, H/H and three-letter agent prevent escalation to full-scale conflict (albeit in some proxy state), in last second of course.


Epilogue
So you don't like good endings. Examination of crooks computers show direct links to security industry. Before they could be investigated, three-letter agent is dissmised from case and case is closed. After threatening to go public, H/H is promptly stabbed in some back alley. Last scene is newsreel of peaking computer related accidents ending with optimistic note about heroic stand of AV firms in ongoing cyberwar developing countermesaures "24/7".

IJBApril 3, 2013 10:53 AM

A crack team of Moussed hackers break into the supervisory control systems of a newly built Iranian nuclear plant and trigger a meltdown, a catastrophic nuclear event occurs as a result. Having traced the attack to a hop in the United States Moussed used to cover their tracks the Iranians openly blame the USA and block the Strait of Hormuz and declare war. The ensuing World War III results in massive devastation in the Middle East, the resulting turmoil allows Israel to exert further control over the region.
A small group of elite hacktivists uncover the truth of what happened while browsing the confidential email of senior Israeli officials and plan to blow the lid off of the story, however their access has been observed and a crack team of agents are dispatched to eliminate them.
The resulting chase is the main story line for the movie and ends with either a) the story being broken by world news media b) the hacktivists being eliminated or villainized and locked up.

artemisimoApril 3, 2013 12:34 PM

A cyber expert decides it would be a fun idea to create a cyber war movie plot and solicits ideas from other cyber experts who read his blogs. Those experts come up with some really fascinating stuff and a winner is soon declared... all are happy and Hollywood is intrigued.

Shortly thereafter, news spreads that hackers infiltrating the cyber underground have happened upon a doomsday scenario which combined elements of 3 different movie plots previously posted on the blog. Individually those threats were relatively harmless and easy to thwart, but combined they threatened to destabilize the already weakened relationships between the world's cyber super powers.

Realizing the impending doom, a few folks in the cyber underground now have to decide whether to protect the society it had been fleecing and, in doing so, risk their own exposure and imprisonment or to hope the governments at the brink of mutual assured destruction will be smart enough to stand down. But as they battle to save the planet, other elements of the cyber underground realize their own fortunes are at risk and launch an all out attack on the few who threaten their lucrative incomes.

While the cyber superpowers wage war both in and out of cyber space, and the cyber underground conducts its own cyber civil war, who will protect the rest of society?

wumpusApril 3, 2013 1:28 PM

Operation Zombie

While the zombie fad might be dying, google glass gives it that one last chance to be used in cyberwar. The Chinese (if it isn't the Chinese, it isn't cyberwar) concoct a dastardly plot to determine a set of google glass users who are both zombie enthusiasts and survivalist/planners (gun enthusiasm and practice required). Those meeting the requirements are then scheduled for their glasses to be hacked and backdoors inserted (all phones and whatnot should also be under control).

Meanwhile, lists of specific skills should be drawn up with serve limits of available candidates: something like those who maintain CSI's infinite zoom (http://www.moronail.net/img/2010_see_if_you_can_enhance_that_license_plate) are great candidates while actual scientists (http://xkcd.com/683/) are not.

Those running the cyberwar planning would then schedule multiple simultaneous conventions for these professions while getting as many of the hacked zombie enthusiasts (with shotguns, natch) as close to the conventions as possible (their own con would likely not work, possibly a job fair of nearly "too good to be true" jobs). Once everything is in place, the zombie enthusiasts begin receiving updates indicating a zombie outbreak is taking place and occasional targets (and any of the above targeted professionals) have there bodies overlayed with zombie graphics. Any zombie enthusiast who becomes suspicious of his feed and starts to put the word out that it may be a hoax has his communications cut and is immediately put on the "target" list.

After the dust has cleared, it appears that these targeted professions are only available from China (as H1-Bs and such) and all have been vetted by the Chinese as sufficiently loyal to be trusted as double agents.

tc>April 3, 2013 6:27 PM

Inspired by Aaron Schwartz, the Dreamliner and a modest burn on a friend’s left leg.

Apps for smartphones were simply too useful and too varied to restrict. Plans to make them easy to write had worked, all too well, so that anybody could be an app author. It was inevitable that someone would realize that the app, even a real, working app, was just a delivery system for the real payload.

But for most users, the apps only worked as advertised. Only on the five to eight percent of phones that were “rooted” did the real payload emerge. But five percent of a billion phones was fifty million, eighteen to thirty thousand in New York City alone.

In the first attack, those phones became jammers, flooding cell towers in downtown Manhattan, even jamming bluetooth devices and wifi hotspots for just a few minutes, to cover an ordinary bank robbery. The surprise from that first attack was in batteries. A few percent, only a couple hundred phones in the first attack, were in handbags and laptop cases. The power draw from the jamming overheated the phones, and the ones in hot places simply kept heating up. Some of those had batteries that were old or damaged, and caught fire. A hundred fires, in Starbucks, subway cars, taxi trunks and one airplane created minor havoc.

The next attacks focused specifically on batteries, altering the power management software in the phones, trying to generate thermal runaways. Only a small percentage were successful, but each was a real emergency. As the attacks continued, the malware added fake emergencies, with panicked voices flooding 911 centers alongside the (fortunately fewer) real ones. The bank robberies weren’t repeated, but a variety of other crimes, from vandalism to murder were carried out while police in every major city were busy.

“Today”, the Attorney General announced, “we are in cooperation with all the nation’s phone companies, implementing new restrictions on cell phones through changes to their Terms of Service. Starting today, rooting is illegal, a violation of the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act.” Suddenly a bricked device was not the worst that would happen. Federal prosecutors would seek jail time for anybody operating a rooted phone on any wireless network.

The app developers were simply too hard to find. Nobody needs a rooted phone, and full weight of the United States government would assure that nobody had one.

ErmineApril 4, 2013 1:56 AM

The North Koreans begin secretly funding (and soon founding) organizations that research contemporary miscarriages of justice all across the USA. Focusing mainly on cases of ongoing unfair incarceration.

But rather than help fund appeals, they fund and train the harmed outsiders to take revenge on the crooked lawmen, judges, law makers or other agents of injustice.

Soon, aggrieved and aggressive brothers, lovers, mothers and significant others are wreaking havoc on the criminal justice system as revenge for its wrongdoings.

The North Koreans have successfully subverted Robert Heinlein's maxim "An armed society is a polite society" into "An armed society is a vengeful society".

Gun manufacturers, seeing an upturn in sales of arms to both the security forces and the millions of vengeful wronged-ones, start also secretly funding the miscarriage research organizations. Soon, the North Koreans need spend no more of their own money, just sit back and watch.

The USA turns inward to a civil war predicated by its own internal contradictions over the relative unobtainability of justice versus the easy access to firepower.

vasiliy pupkinApril 4, 2013 7:36 AM

Year 202*. All automobiles in use are now safe google electrocars, much more reliable and less error prone than human drivers. Everyone is happy.

April 1st deep in Uganda jungle, restless Bram Moolenaar discusses with local
chieftain a new model of cheap bicycle power driven tablet, shipment of which
was delivered by his charity organisation recently. The chieftain, laughing,
says that for some reason his internet startpage (which is, of course, google)
today takes two times longer to load than usual. At first Bram thinks it's a joke, but other locals confirm this. Bram, being a hacker, out of curiosity connects his netbook to the tablet's engineering interface to investigate. Just to discover that google startpage is changed to celebrate Fool's day and, being highly integrated with google services, the tablet's software sees that something changed and initiates quick integrity check, transparent on modern tablets but, consisting of megabytes of javascript code and dozens of ajax calls, taking seconds on this charity device.

Back in the mission, Bram tells about this curious behavior to his
international team fellows. Camera shows one of them, a man wearing dark
sunglasses, saying just "hmm". He is in fact an evil foreign government secret
agent. On the next scene, we see him in a semi-dark room, showing a piece of code with "try...except" to other ominous men, all wearing dark sunglasses.

Months later, we see John, minor Google interface designer,
in his apartment with bimbo blonde. He tells her that his task is to
prepare Google Fool's day pranks for this year. She laughs silly and says "you
are so smart". Hot bed scene follows, to make things spicy. John
falling into sleep, the blonde approaches his desktop and types something on
his keyboard. The last line she typed starts with "git commit"
(lame, as should be in every hackers movie).

April 1st this year. We see men chatting and drinking inside
a car on a highway, safely driven by google software. One of them says, "I'm
going to play fool on my brother", launching browser on the car's builtin
touchscreen. Suddenly his face changes, "what?!!" he screams and we see
quickly approaching oak tree through the car's windshield. Spectacular kaboom
follows. Next minutes we see explosions, accidents and huge traffic
jams all around the country, including googlecopters crashing into mountains and
buildings.

Next we see emergency summit in Google headquarters, one of top
programmers trying to explain what happened. He says that their ubiquitous
software has several layers of integrity checking, which makes intrusion
fairly impossible. First layer, rather lightweight, was a simple check
by calculating some hashes. "We knew that Fool's day one-day changes on google
title startpage won't pass the check, but it was so unessential that noone
cared to fix it, as no harm was done, all it's results was several errorlog
entries. And, of course, deeper layers of IDS just didn't see this piece
of nonessential, already failed data. However, somehow this year's prank pages
did pass the hash check due to hash collision. We suspect that someone made
some hard to detect changes to the prank page, like replacing 1 with l, spaces
with tabs and so on. In such a way, the erroneous page passed to next level of
IDS, which used more resource costing Fourfish algorithm. Which, of course, it
didn't pass, the system suspected compromise, and initiated costly request
to host cloud. Which usually would pass transparent, but not now, when the
request was made by millions of devices all over the country. This resulted in
blockouts and the cloud effectively has dissolved." "Can we do something?"
asks one of the suits. "Hardly fast", programmer answered. "Most devices
think that this is an intrusion and don't trust servers anymore. Besides, we
have no means to broascast recovery instructions, as client software considers
host infrastructure compromised."

The last screen of the movie shows big plasma screen, an issue of CNN news is
on air. It says "Sergey Brin experienced severe shock and resigned from the
Google head position. He is to be replaced by [insert an arabic, farsi,
chinese or korean name here, whichever is appropriate for the time when the
movie is released]. He also replaces Brin as democratic presidential candidate."

M WApril 4, 2013 2:18 PM

Michael Raskin posted an idea about hacking into the Dragon capsule and reprogramming it to crash into a major city.

It's a great plot idea, but I'd extend it by crashing it into a nuclear power plant and hacking into the power plant to disable it's backup safety systems, thereby causing a huge nuclear catastrophe.

Chris ZweberApril 4, 2013 2:47 PM

Scene 1:
Organized criminals begin by raising tens of millions of dollars from the criminal underworld. Drug dealers are promised 200% returns on the money. The money is used to place short sales on Medtronic stock.

Scene 2:
A hacker in a New York apartment is beginning to mastermind his cyber plot. The walls are covered with references to pacemaker documentation taken from Medtronic's website. An opened packing box from Ebay is on the table with a sales demo pacemaker and CareLink monitor used to communicate with the digital pacemaker next to it. The hacker smiles in delight as he types a command on his computer and the pacemaker surges with electricity.

Scene 3:
A man is in the park with his grandchildren when he grabs his chest and falls dead from a heart attack. Upon autopsy it is discovered that his pacemaker defected and shocked him unexpectedly. It is then discovered that malware had compromised the firmware of his pacemaker - the payload was set to kill him at a randomly chosen time.

Scene 4:
The media erupts with news of the killer virus dubbed: Stuxheart. Medtronic immediately notifies all people with their pacemakers to arrange for an inspection of their pacemakers firmware. 50% of those inspected are discovered to be compromised by Stuxheart. 4 more people have heart attacks.

Scene 5:
The day before Medtronic's quarterly earnings release 9,345 people have malware induced heart attacks. Medtronic's stock drops by 250% in the wake of the devastating news.

Scene 6:
A man dies when the electrode implanted in his brain surges with electricity over and over. Upon autopsy it is discovered that his brain implant firmware contains a virus with remnants of Stuxheart.

Chris ZweberApril 4, 2013 2:59 PM

On the topic of movie plot threats...

Has anyone ever thought about a scenario of "Mule Murder"? Similar to targeting naive individuals on job postings boards to wire / launder money.

Instead of laundering money a series of job postings created from an anonymous server in China cause 4 separate people each to perform a seemingly innocuous activity. The culmination of the 4 individuals actions results in someones death with each of the participants being an unrealizing naive "mule".

It is discovered during the investigation the plot was masterminded by one anonymous individual.

Clive RobinsonApril 4, 2013 4:00 PM

@ Chris Zweber,

Has anyone ever thought about a scenario of "Mule Murder"

We have seen it used for other crimes.

Also we have seen people apparently randomly killing people such that they can then use the same method to kill a spouse.

So put the two together and I'd say you've got a got a little to realistic plot line to realy be a Bruce "Movie Plot".

Though a thought does occurr...

An IT tech tired of his spouse nagging him about all the time he spends online and not with her gets his brain triggered when she yet again moans about being an "Internet widow" just as he reads the blog page and this post.

His brain realises just how easy it would be to do and so thinks about it over night. Tomorrow he starts his plan of randomly killing people by mule and over the next few days kills two or three people a day all over the US.

Finnaly as he is about to arrange for his "Internet widow" to make him a widower the police smash down his door and drag him away.

It turns out the Russian site he recruited his mules from is one Brian Krebs had been monitoring whilst trying to get hard evidence on who had sent a SWAT team to his house. Just by chance Brian realised what was going on and due to his police contacts and high profile he got the police to act quickly.

Shortly after the man is arrested the FBI grab the server that this blog is hosted on to try and find who had made various posts.

Over the next couple of weeks regulars on this blog cease to post as they are grabed by the FBI via arrest and extradition warrants on conspiracy to commit murder charges.

As many of those grabbed are not US citizens the FBI do their usual trick with foreigners of making examples of them. The FBI manipulate the press to get public opinion against the actually blaimless posters, who unfortunatly get convicted and sentanced to 10 consecutive life sentances without parole or the death sentance by leathal injection.

Despite appeals all the way up the US justice system all the forigners have their convictions either confirmed or extended. In various speaches US politicos call these blaimless individuals "terrorists" and on 1st April 2016 the first of the forigners is executed.

WillApril 5, 2013 4:01 AM

[A Brief Note]This was designed to be read in a curving paragraph format, which is lost here. C'est la vie. This story is called Circles.[/A Brief Note]

-

The beat on the radio is the signal trigger to an alien invasion.

The telephones have brought forth the art of long distance hypnosis.

Blame is cast upon the river and suspicion falls on every doorstep.

All Mr Morrison wanted to do was just to mow his lawn.

Such a shame his lawn is the lonely marble of Earth.

Somebody bleached the power and stole the dust.

We sold our souls to the screens and serpents.

Our new overlords found us so wanting.

The loud said it served us right for decadence.

The louder spoke of riots and war to the unbelievers.

Some went mad with the revelations of fell beyond yore.

Archimedes claimed he really didn't want that sledgehammer.

The humorous weapon was brought forth as our one last shield.

They stole us from within our phones, our computers and tablets.

Our wastes of time much displeased the mechanical overminds.

Life just has such a funny way with circles.

DaveApril 5, 2013 1:14 PM

In Cuba, Fidel Castro lies on his deathbed.
"I have only one regret: I never got to really repay the US for trying to kill me those hundreds of times. And I have an idea that will devastate the imperialists while leaving our peasant's lives untouched."

After a quick phone conversation, several of the best-and-brightest die-hard Communists hackers from Russia have gathered in Havana. Fidel lays out the plan:
"Your target is the industrial systems that uniquely mark pills so that pharmacists in the US give out exactly what is described. You are to hack into those systems, scramble the pill markings randomly, and also randomize the distribution of the pills at the end of the assembly line so that each bottle will get a jumble of pills."

Two years later, as Fidel is struggling to survive, the attack happens. Most major pharmaceutical companies are affected, because all chose to cut costs and skimp on computer security. The first reports of the scrambling come in from disgruntled customers who are depending on the pills to survive. When they begin to realize how widespread the phenomenon is, they end up, with help from the CDC and FDA, hiring millions of workers to re-sort all the bottles at a staggering cost.

Then the real trouble starts: Schizophrenics end up taking a random assortment of painkillers, those on blood thinners suddenly are taking hemophilia pills, and so forth. Millions are killed outright due to the wrong medication. Those getting treated for mental illness are roaming the streets, and millions more are clogging the hospitals trying to get treatment. But the hospitals are no better off: The doctors are prescribing the correct antidotes, the pharmacists are carefully checking each pill or IV bag, but nothing is helping.

Pharmaceutical companies, hospitals, and their insurance companies are going broke trying to pay for correcting these problems, the government takes over. But the costs are so astronomical that they overwhelm even the government's ability to correct the issue, leaving the nation completely bankrupt, Wall Street in free fall, and approximately 100 million people dead or seriously ill.

Fidel Castro dies a happy man.

GordonApril 5, 2013 2:18 PM

A variant of Stuxnet is released into the wild that attacks natural gas pipelines and pumping stations, using a logic bomb to increase pressure dramatically on a given date at a given time, which snuffs pilot lights and fills homes and businesses with gas that explodes catastrophically across the country simultaneously. No warning is given, no credit is claimed.

Nick PApril 5, 2013 2:45 PM

Backdrop.

Rogue pharmacies are a major problem. They use malware to take over computers and create their own botnets. These cybercommands coordinate their operations, advertise their fake products, hide their identities and move money untraceably. Some suppliers even put real drug's active ingredients in their fakes. Big Pharma is loosing millions as Americans trade expensive, patented medicines for fakes that deliver.

From Bad To Worse.

New group emerges with unknown, powerful backers. Their chemists clone every profitable drug they can and began manufacturing everything from Loritabs to Viagra to “chemo” drugs. Quality is excellent, supply endless. Their competition is feeling the heat as their sites are DDOSed and hackers steal their customer lists to deliver them targeted advertisements. They even forge takedown notices to their payment processors, who shift business to newer firm. The Feds intel says one group is doing manufacturing and drug development, others are doing the rest. They exclusively sell to US, Canada and Europe. Cyberwarriors' “military grade” 4,096bit crypto is uncrackable and the command network constantly changes. Feds are in the dark.

Maybe they just want money. They did trick hospitals into buying their stuff. They partnered with sneaky marketing firms and affiliates to reach more customers. They used scare tactic emails and comments to get papers in almost every major city to print enough about them for readers to find them on Google. Their hackers game the search engine to ensure they are the top hits. Even street dealers in "hoods" across America are selling their products. Their shipping methods constantly evolve and fool the best postal inspectors. Sympathetic and scheming doctors all over the country order their products. Their US customer base is estimated in the tens of millions and growing.

End Game

Director of supply laughs reading these descriptions. Their Chinese and Russian partners sure did a great job marketing and monopolizing. Their cyberinfrastructure automates the sales, urgent messages to customers, and logistics. The partners got a bigger cut, too. The Director knows it's time to let the world see his country's true capabilities. He supervises his Hazmat-wearing crew carefully swapping out active ingredients for new liquid ones. One drop per pill. Ready to go.

Customers (and partners) weren't happy with shortage due to “supply issues.” Pill supplies were running really low. Everyone was missing out on their favorite (or necessary) drugs. They access the website to see reassuring messages a huge batch was coming in and discounted for their troubles. And in fact, the new supplies arrived quickly (and on same week coincidentally).

Within days, the CDC announced the discovery of a new bird flu outbreak that had already killed almost a million people, was highly contagious, had spread everywhere from LA to Wall Street, was lethal in days and resisted all known medications. Hospitals everywhere were overloaded. Just as politicians were debating martial law, the Pentagon detected missiles being launched from a certain Asian country with a trajectory that would place them in a few major cities, including DC.

Not the killerApril 5, 2013 3:49 PM

"Killer App"

A mysterious app appears on your phone and launching it will be the last thing you do. You won't believe who is behind it all.

Tagline: There's an app for that too.

Clive RobinsonApril 5, 2013 5:20 PM

@ Nick P,

Within days, the CDC announced the discovery of a new bird flu outbreak that had already killed

I don"t know if you've been listening to the news, but... A new variety of birdflu (H7N9) has been found in Shanghi in pigeons being sold for food and it's apparently already killed atleat six people (as of lunchtime news today).

DavidApril 5, 2013 7:00 PM

Scene 1: Oil goes to $150 a barrel. The U.S. invests in Vietnam and vastly expands its oil production.
Scene 2: Vietnam uses its new found wealth to modernize its country and majorly expands its armed forces.
Scene 3: The U.S. establishes a mutual aid treaty with Vietnam.
Scene 4: U.S. perfects fracking technology and world oil production blasts off. Oil falls to $20 a barrel.
Scene 5: OPEC is in disarray and dissolves.
Scene 6: Russia's economy is in near collapse; China mobilizes army units in the northern provinces.
Scene 7: Russia starts selling off military hardware to Vietnam and satellite networks to the EU in order to raise need funds.
Scene 8: Vietnam flexes its military strength and moves into the Spratlys in force.
Scene 9: China starts a blockade of Vietnam and intercepts Russian arm shipments to Vietnam. The Chinese navy sinks two Russian ships.
Scene 10: Russia activates its army and navy units. The U.S. moves three carrier groups from the 7th Fleet towards the South China Sea.
Scene 11: Meanwhile, an EU telcom is trying to upload new GPS software to its newly acquired Asian satellite network but runs into issues "Even Russian satellites have viruses" a EU technician grumbles.
Scene 12: EU telcom brings in the EUCERT which begins troubleshooting and is making progress with one satellite but inadvertently disables the Russian backdoor.
Scene 13: Former Russian satellite is activated and releases its payload but misses its Chinese target.
Scene 14: Unarmed nuclear bomb is not detected except by the Russians who panic.
Scene 15: The Russian cyber tsar directs creation of a virus masquerading as a patch to provide to the EU to restore the Russian backdoor and shut down the satellite network.
Scene 16: Russian president directs task force to recover illegal space nuke, but task force is captured by the Chinese.
Scene 17: Anonymous launches DDoSs against Chinese servers. The Occupy movement announces plans to occupy the Spratlys.
Scene 18: World War III is approaching and only Russian malware can save the day.

benjinApril 6, 2013 6:04 AM

Tschetschenian terrorists merge with Saudi-Arabian ultra-conservatives to get the resources to legally take over the most important export firms for kaviar on the Krim. Then they add a modified ebola virus to the Kaviar exported to the White House and the Kreml.
After the very graphical whipe-out of both, the russian and the US government during banquets with several casualities from other countries, the movie would be about the track down of the attackers by forces from russia and the USA, not working together smoothly all the time.

IstiApril 6, 2013 7:34 AM


"In war the victorious strategist only seeks battle after the victory has been won, whereas he who is destined to defeat first fights and afterwards looks for victory." - Sun Tzu

Want to win a conflict before it is even started? Skynet's T2013 terminates key enemy personnel before they were born! The T2013 is optimized for being sent back to the 2010's and eliminate targets or wreak havoc in that era. Certain functions of this terminator model have been cloudsourced, both for cost-efficiency and for making use of this hype of that dark age. The T2013 is fully compliant with the International Cyberwar Treaty, the Causality Manipulation Act and the Evil Overlord List.

Features include:

  • Plug-ins for social networking sites allow reliable identification of target; money-back guarantee in case of the 'which Sarah Connor?' problem;
  • 'Erase everyone she holds dear' function based on social networks for intimidating elusive targets;
  • Social engineering via impersonation of the target's friends based on pictures and videos they shared of themselves; can even post funny status updates on their behalf;
  • Can track target by obtaining GPS information from their own smartphones;
  • Acquires its own startup equipment (clothes, handguns, nuclear warheads) via e-Bay in a safe and non-violent way; reclaims this investment by selling equipment after successful mission;
  • Full synergy with the early Skynet already available in the 2010's (then branded as 'Google');
  • Equipped with exploits for the over 1.7 zillion vulnerabilities in the OSs, browsers, smartphones and (in)security software of the 2010's (with most of them still unknown and zero-day in that age), can thus penetrate any IT system of that age;
  • Infiltrates even isolated, offline systems; circumvents air gaps using USB sticks or proprietary mingun interface;
  • Able to disrupt critical infrastructure of any country if necessary; use of this function should be avoided however, as T2013 relies on the infrastructure of the 2010's;
  • Can organize its own cheap mass production and outsource it to China;
  • Complimentary software update for winning elections and filling political roles if needed;

That's for only $2.7 million, for the price of two Big Macs!

WARNING: Terminating mother-in-law prematurely may result in unintended erasure of own wife and kids.

d3rrialApril 6, 2013 8:32 AM

Cyber terrorists hijack every satellite in earth orbit and start crashing them in high population cities (in the USA of course, those things never happen anywhere else in movies), then the attackers (obviously north korea) demand retreating of the US troops in south korea, and 100 beeeeeeelion dollars.

Sam JApril 6, 2013 4:52 PM

The fools. Dan Brown already won this competition with Digital Fortress. This might be longer then 500 words, but I don't care. It's absolute genius:

When the United States National Security Agency's code-breaking supercomputer (TRANSLTR) encounters a new and complex code—Digital Fortress—that it cannot break, Commander Trevor Strathmore calls in Susan Fletcher, their head cryptographer, to crack it. She discovers that it was written by Ensei Tankado, a former NSA employee who became displeased with the NSA's intrusion into people's private lives. Tankado intends to auction the code's algorithm on his website and have his partner, "NDAKOTA", release it for free if he dies. Essentially holding the NSA hostage, the agency is determined to stop Digital Fortress from becoming a threat to national security.

When Tankado does indeed die in Seville, of what appears to be a heart attack, Strathmore asks David Becker (Susan's fiancé) to travel to Seville and recover a ring that Tankado was wearing when he died. The ring is suspected to have the code that unlocks Digital Fortress. However, Becker soon discovers that Tankado gave the ring away immediately before his death. Each person he questions in the search for the ring is murdered by Hulohot, a mysterious assassin.

Meanwhile, telephone calls between "North Dakota" and Numataka (chairman of a large computer company in Tokyo) reveal that North Dakota hired Hulohot to kill Tankado in order to gain access to the passcode on his ring and speed up the release of the algorithm. At the NSA, Fletcher's investigation leads her to believe that Greg Hale, a fellow NSA employee, is North Dakota. Phil Chartrukian, an NSA technician who is unaware of the Digital Fortress code breaking failure and believes Digital Fortress to be a virus, conducts his own investigation into whether Strathmore allowed Digital Fortress to bypass Gauntlet (NSA's virus/worm filter). However, Chartrukian is murdered by being pushed off the catwalk in the sub-levels of TRANSLTR by an unknown assailant. Since Hale and Strathmore were both in the sub-levels, Fletcher assumes that Hale is the killer; however, Hale claims that he witnessed Strathmore killing Chartrukian. Chartrukian's fall also damages TRANSLTR's cooling system.

Hale holds Fletcher and Strathmore hostage to prevent himself from being arrested for the murder. It is then that Hale explains that the e-mail he supposedly "received" from Tankado was actually in his inbox because he was snooping on Strathmore, who was also watching Tankado's e-mail account. After the encounter, Hale's name is cleared when Fletcher discovers through a tracer that North Dakota and Ensei Tankado are actually the same person, as "NDAKOTA" is an anagram of "Tankado". Strathmore's role as the primary antagonist is revealed when Strathmore fatally shoots Hale, and arranges it to appear as a suicide. Susan later discovers through Strathmore's pager that he is the one who hired Hulohot. Becker later kills Hulohot in a violent confrontation.

Chapters told from Strathmore's perspective reveal his motives. By hiring Hulohot to kill Tankado, having Becker recover his ring, and at the same time arranging for Hulohot to kill him, would facilitate a romantic relationship with Fletcher, regaining his lost honor, and enable him to unlock Digital Fortress. By making phone calls to Numataka impersonating as "North Dakota", he thought he could partner with Numataka Corporation to make a Digital Fortress chip equipped with his own backdoor Trojan so that the NSA can spy on every computer equipped with these chips. However, Strathmore was unaware that Digital Fortress is actually a computer worm once unlocked, "eating away" at the NSA databank's security and allowing "any third-grader with a modem" to look at government secrets. When TRANSLTR overheats, Strathmore commits suicide by standing next to the machine as it explodes. The worm eventually gets into the database, but soon after Fletcher figures out the password (3, the difference between the Hiroshima nuclear bomb, Isotope 235, and the Nagasaki nuclear bomb, isotope 238, a reference to the nuclear bombs that killed his mother and left him crippled), and is able to terminate the worm before hackers can get any significant data. The NSA allows Becker to return to the United States, reuniting him with Fletcher. In the epilogue, it is revealed that Numataka is Ensei Tankado's father. Numataka left Tankado the day he was born since Tankado was a deformed child.

Sam JApril 6, 2013 4:54 PM

Sorry folks, Dan Brown beat you all to this way back in 1998. Wikipedia's plot outline of Digitial Fortress doesn't truly do the insanity justice:

When the United States National Security Agency's code-breaking supercomputer (TRANSLTR) encounters a new and complex code—Digital Fortress—that it cannot break, Commander Trevor Strathmore calls in Susan Fletcher, their head cryptographer, to crack it. She discovers that it was written by Ensei Tankado, a former NSA employee who became displeased with the NSA's intrusion into people's private lives. Tankado intends to auction the code's algorithm on his website and have his partner, "NDAKOTA", release it for free if he dies. Essentially holding the NSA hostage, the agency is determined to stop Digital Fortress from becoming a threat to national security.

When Tankado does indeed die in Seville, of what appears to be a heart attack, Strathmore asks David Becker (Susan's fiancé) to travel to Seville and recover a ring that Tankado was wearing when he died. The ring is suspected to have the code that unlocks Digital Fortress. However, Becker soon discovers that Tankado gave the ring away immediately before his death. Each person he questions in the search for the ring is murdered by Hulohot, a mysterious assassin.

Meanwhile, telephone calls between "North Dakota" and Numataka (chairman of a large computer company in Tokyo) reveal that North Dakota hired Hulohot to kill Tankado in order to gain access to the passcode on his ring and speed up the release of the algorithm. At the NSA, Fletcher's investigation leads her to believe that Greg Hale, a fellow NSA employee, is North Dakota. Phil Chartrukian, an NSA technician who is unaware of the Digital Fortress code breaking failure and believes Digital Fortress to be a virus, conducts his own investigation into whether Strathmore allowed Digital Fortress to bypass Gauntlet (NSA's virus/worm filter). However, Chartrukian is murdered by being pushed off the catwalk in the sub-levels of TRANSLTR by an unknown assailant. Since Hale and Strathmore were both in the sub-levels, Fletcher assumes that Hale is the killer; however, Hale claims that he witnessed Strathmore killing Chartrukian. Chartrukian's fall also damages TRANSLTR's cooling system.

Hale holds Fletcher and Strathmore hostage to prevent himself from being arrested for the murder. It is then that Hale explains that the e-mail he supposedly "received" from Tankado was actually in his inbox because he was snooping on Strathmore, who was also watching Tankado's e-mail account. After the encounter, Hale's name is cleared when Fletcher discovers through a tracer that North Dakota and Ensei Tankado are actually the same person, as "NDAKOTA" is an anagram of "Tankado". Strathmore's role as the primary antagonist is revealed when Strathmore fatally shoots Hale, and arranges it to appear as a suicide. Susan later discovers through Strathmore's pager that he is the one who hired Hulohot. Becker later kills Hulohot in a violent confrontation.

Chapters told from Strathmore's perspective reveal his motives. By hiring Hulohot to kill Tankado, having Becker recover his ring, and at the same time arranging for Hulohot to kill him, would facilitate a romantic relationship with Fletcher, regaining his lost honor, and enable him to unlock Digital Fortress. By making phone calls to Numataka impersonating as "North Dakota", he thought he could partner with Numataka Corporation to make a Digital Fortress chip equipped with his own backdoor Trojan so that the NSA can spy on every computer equipped with these chips. However, Strathmore was unaware that Digital Fortress is actually a computer worm once unlocked, "eating away" at the NSA databank's security and allowing "any third-grader with a modem" to look at government secrets. When TRANSLTR overheats, Strathmore commits suicide by standing next to the machine as it explodes. The worm eventually gets into the database, but soon after Fletcher figures out the password (3, the difference between the Hiroshima nuclear bomb, Isotope 235, and the Nagasaki nuclear bomb, isotope 238, a reference to the nuclear bombs that killed his mother and left him crippled), and is able to terminate the worm before hackers can get any significant data. The NSA allows Becker to return to the United States, reuniting him with Fletcher. In the epilogue, it is revealed that Numataka is Ensei Tankado's father. Numataka left Tankado the day he was born since Tankado was a deformed child.

Bryce StenbergApril 6, 2013 5:47 PM

3d printers are everywhere, just like regular printers now. Of course computer security is still like swiss cheese. The printer drivers are infected by malware.

This causes nano-sized synthetic viruses to be created on the surfaces of all printed objects. When handled the humans become infected. And everyone handles objects created by these printers as they are ubiquitous, lots of everyday objects are now created with them. No one knows, the virus spreads rampantly.

The effect of the virus is slow and subtle... It leads to an easy acceptance and belief in all information that they already have an affinity with. The effect is most noted in groups that have already suppressed higher thought and critical thinking (like the religious).

One group of scientists have discovered this and try to rewrite the malware virus so as to neutralize the earlier version - but they can't seem to get a handle on how it operates. They are in a race against time...

The acceptance virus is an amplifier of bigotry and narrowed thinking. As the mass infection takes hold all christians become extremist, as do muslims, hindus, etc. They all take the literal word of their chosen 'texts' (bible / koran / bagavagita / etc) as truth and law.

Riots break out. Government organisations that might have reigned this in are as affected as everyone else - these organisations break down in chaos. In the east sharia law breaks out in full force. In the west people are again burnt as witches and subjected to inquisitions and torture. Unbelievers are killed outright. Priests rule supreme. Democracy is lost.

The group trying to neutralise the virus, and bring some humanity back to society, are slowly isolated with religious defections. Some cling on to mental freedom as that also got amplified. Universities become fortresses, but the religious are everywhere, slowly infiltrating everything.

There is no hope. The world returns to the dark ages. Seats of learning are burnt to the ground. Death squads patrol streets ready to inflict punishment for the slightest infractions of religious canon.

The last remaining people trying to reverse the virus are killed horribly...

Of course the world destroys itself in nuclear armagedon as both muslims and christians try to rid the world of the infidels. However, this armagedon doesn't bother those creating it, as it is the natural end of all their expectations and the teachings they have absorbed (shots of joyous crowds as they burn to death).

Fast forward 50,000 years. Life is returning to planet, but not life as we know it... is based on the synthetic viruses genome. And synthetic based aliens have arrived to view their terraforming handiwork.

lydia euleApril 6, 2013 10:18 PM

A group of super-terrorists of IT and Microbiology planning to eradicate humanity save for them and a few friends creates a formally harmless botnet using the supercomputing-power of the internet to compute the DNA-plasmoids and for a very special bacteria that will perform normal enterobacterial function (just like usual gut bacteria) while it's population in a place is thin enough between the normal bacteria. It will slowly gain mass (in a computable speed) in any inhabited organism and, reaching the threashold to switch to a second set of instructions making it a factory producing lots of an artificially designed virus tha's doing no more than inject some specific information in most cells of the infected organism to activate the cell-internal immunic-system to block furchter transcription of the DNA-code of a vital enzyme thus on long sight (a few days) making that organism decay to black slime.
In order to bring that bacteria into the world most effectively crowd-funding by internet and television-commercials will be set up with the tearsome story of a very good fried with very bad luck in life, that's died just some time ago, who always wished to travel the world and dying wished to be burned and strewn into the wind in all greatest Cities of the world from little flying lanterns a little of his ashes everywhere.
Naturally, no ashes, but life-bearing dry-spores of those bacteria will be brought to the recipients by this actions and when about months/years later the first casualties occur, the big race begins, to trace back what's happening and find a cure.

Alex PApril 8, 2013 10:35 AM

People start getting tweets that they have to kill 3 friends or be killed themselves. Chain letter concept. You have to forward this to an x number of your friends or something will happen to you. In the opening sequences you can have a bunch of scenes where people are getting chain mails so they get the concept of the film from the opening credits.

If you do not kill someone or kill someone not on your friends list and instead you kill 3 random people then you get killed. The rogue government that sent the tweets has agents to enforce the murders of people that do not kill by the rules and the news is broadcast. The people you kill have to be in your social media graph and not just acquaintances. Someone ignores the message thinking it is a joke and they are killed in a horrific manner and the audience, from news reports, know it is for real. The audience who are getting tweets. So people start using foursquare, facebook, latitude on google to track each other because everyone is paranoid. And when the news starts really hitting that people are being hit by a random number of killers the only thing the police have is people are getting killed nationwide and people are constantly updating their status using foursquare, etc. So then all these people are deactivating their accounts because they don't know who is going to kill them.

People start moving into dead zones where they have no cell service. Another news cast where tourism has risen in Colorado, Yellowstone, etc as a complete by and by and you get the one person who has found a dead zone that has closed off all their accounts and they're using their cell phone for their alarm clock. They took their battery out before getting to the dead zone. Plug their phone in and there is no signal and just as they're falling asleep …. beep the (smart phone gps enabled) comes to life.

People gouging out their gps navigation out of their cars.
The hero is misfit female goth that spends all the time in the basement who is actually started tracking the chain mails paying attention because they were writing a report on social media and they just happened to come across all this and tracking it and it interested in it. Never a target is one of those kids who was against using social media and foursqaure. Writing a thesis “how social media is destroying us as human beings”. Using google maps and starts friending people to see where they are going. And you have the element they maybe get her but she is just an acquaintance.

And then at the end by now facebook, twitter are done with as everyone has abandoned them and a new social media is borne called FriendArch. It sounds innocuous. They are hoping to take over where twitter, foursquare and facebook has left a gap.

RSaundersApril 8, 2013 7:08 PM

Recent Auto Recalls Result of Multi-national Cyber Attack

Detroit – Six major automakers today held an unprecedented joint press conference to announce the result of investigations into the spate of recent recalls. GM, Ford, Fiat/Chrysler, Honda, Toyota, and Nissan met with their major electronic module suppliers Delco, Bosch, and Mitsubishi. All recently issued major recall campaigns to address rough idling, high gas consumption, and PCM (powertrain control module) failures.

Albert Darrow, chief counsel for GM, released the following:

“This week the major automakers worked diligently to understand what we now know was an cyber attack on our industry. A multi-national group, funded by oil producing and electronics manufacturing countries, engineered a virus that attacks our PCMs, causing them to overwork their output drivers until the drivers fail. What begins as poor mileage causes complete engine failure within about 4 weeks.

When we asked how this was possible, we found three critical factors. In 2012 a group of thoughtless computer science researchers in Washington and California reported that automotive systems were not protected against hackers. These results alone were irrelevant, the automobile is a closed system not connected to anything. The US Department of Transportation and international counterparts in the 1980s required that all cars include an OnBoard Diagnostics port (called OBD-II in the US and EOBD elsewhere) connected to the PCM to facilitate emissions maintenance. Several insurance companies made devices, devices not sanctioned by the auto manufacturers, which plug into the OBD-II and connect to the Internet.

Insurance companies failed to warn customers that these devices were dangerous. In fact the insurers, in the form of lower premiums, paid customers to install the devices. The government mandate for OBD-II made all cars vulnerable, creating what security researchers termed a monoculture. Government was aware of the risks caused by mandating a monoculture, but since it was only discussed in obscure security blogs the industry was unaware of it. Under the recent cyber-security regulations, the Department of Homeland Security took responsibility for protecting automobile infrastructure from cyber-attack, and they did nothing to prevent this.

We have identified over 150 million autos in the US that are vulnerable to this virus. It has spread to every dealership and emissions inspection station in the country, and there is no means to eliminate it. Any car that has been to the dealer in the last 6 months should be considered infected. All infected cars will fail in the next 3-4 months. Estimates to replace these cars begin at $3 trillion. We call upon the government, in light of their substantial fault in the matter, to institute an immediate program to compensate victims. We expect to have new cars, without the vulnerabilities, on the market within 6 months. The PCMs will be designed and built by a consortium of defense contractors; knowledgeable of the techniques needed to make computers invulnerable to such attack. Unfortunately, old PCMs cannot be retrofitted. Thank God we had an American cyber-industry available to help when this war on cars was started.”

E LovejoyApril 9, 2013 1:12 AM

Operation Righteous Harmony has been underway since 2004, and as of 4/1/2013, the penetration rate is sufficient to provide the PRC with confidence that the USA has been effectively neutralized as an obstacle to Chinese foreign policy goals.

The American political system has made the work of the Righteous Harmony brigades straightforward and the goals achievable. Political leaders, marked by both decadence and corruption, are the easiest targets: offshore accounts are sometimes difficult to find, but evidence of drug use, pornography, and prostitution are easily obtained from laptops, tablets, and cell phones. Business leaders are often similarly easy to target, although in some cases the division must rely on financial peccadilloes to build a profile. While some key leaders provide limited targets for blackmail, ridicule, and criminal prosecution, their numbers are sufficiently small that they can generally be ignored.

While Operation Righteous Harmony is expected to be ongoing for the foreseeable future, the immediate goals are to secure American support the People's Republic establishing a permanent military presence in the South China Sea and assent for the Chinese purchase of energy companies in the Americas. Righteous Harmony made it possible to sink the keystone pipeline in 2012, reducing the amount of capital required for CNPC to effectively take control of the tar sands. Construction of a major navy base in the Spratly Islands is scheduled to begin July 4, 2013

The success of Operation Righteous Harmony has been noted in a few segments of the American intelligence community since the arrest of Senator Craig in 2007, in order to demonstrate to the Politburo that full control of the US Senate was in place. Unfortunately, by this time Chinese control of US leaders was sufficiently established that the whistleblowers were quickly arrested.

Just when all seemed lost, and the stars and stripes were on the ropes, a small group of patriots from Malibu, California put together a crew of elite hackers to set things straight, save the day, and replace the corrupt establishment with the only political leaders you can trust any more... Hollywood movie stars. And you didn't think Schwarzenegger would ever be president?

C0d3rr in 2^8April 9, 2013 5:26 AM

Panic events are happening "randomly":
- explosions on a crowded bus,
- big banking frauds, or frauds with individuals stealing all their money from their bank account even protected by two factor authentication
- food poisoning (incl. pet food) in mass but also uniquely against a single person shopping in a supermarket.
Locations are also different parts of the city, and a code is always mailed to the media and that code contains the details of the next place. CCTV is always hacked around that place or not existing, no witnesses and everyone starts to feel that anyone may be the next target.
The government has to ask for help, international cooperation to solve the code, but that is protected by a strong RSA key...and if it can be solved, that opens up another nightmare where bad guys will use that knowledge, or at least the society will not trust in systems protected by such keys…so it is a hard dilemma: to protect against something and by protection to open a new threat. Which fear is higher in which part of the society? What may be the solution? The time is pressing and the events are spreading by density and location also, as new members join the team doing the same events using another key…the panic comes to every citizen, does not matter if they’re using Internet or mobile phones or not, they travel or not, they have social relations or are alone. But all of them are waiting for the unwanted. To solve the code.

Jex mannApril 10, 2013 11:28 AM

A new nano computer is created and made into a pill form which is then ingested by the user. The computer can regulate the body and alter moods and sensations. The computer-pill is quickly adopted as a "happy" pill. The computer-pill is controlled by the user who sets the parameters themselves with a program on his own pc. The computer-pill achieves ubiquity quickly.

Unbeknownst to the users, the manufacturer has built in a "backdoor" to the management agent. The "backdoor" is discovered by a "rogue" nation state, which then exploits the backdoor to turn the citizens of the "enemy" nation state against their own government and neighbors.

Milan MerharApril 10, 2013 4:42 PM

“Gentlemen, do you remember the old Heinlein story, The Moon is a harsh Mistress?”

“Right….the revolutionary leader ‘Adam Selene’ was the moon base central computer, which had direct communications access to everyone. Amusingly, this committee’s original threat analysis covered that as Scenario 28 -- ‘Distributed insurgent cells communicating via covert electronic channel.’ But, later analysis discounted the hypothesis because…”

“Because the covert channel could not be sustained over emerging monitoring technology. Analyze the message traffic and you’ve found your rebels. Then subvert the central hub, and you own the operation.”

“Precisely.”

“Well, I am sorry to report that we have obtained evidence that such a scenario is in play right now. SIGINT has not given us any hard data, which is itself telling, but Global COMSTATS are unambiguous – the covert cells are out there, they are being updated daily, and there are a lot of them.”

“How many? And who’s running it?”

“Thousands; maybe tens or hundreds of thousands. As for who, we don’t know. They’re clever, I’ll give them that. ”

“What do you mean? If traffic analysis gives you one endpoint, it surely gives you the other.”

“Sir, do you know how Internet Advertising works? You go to a website, any website. The page loads, and as it loads it has anchors, placeholders if you would, for advertising. That advertising comes from other websites, brokers who sell, package, and deliver those ads, at pennies per impression. The websites can be anything, and might be viewed from anywhere -- just sit in Starbucks and click until you get the right ads. All the covert data is in that ad stream.”

“The covert agents request the ads? With a user login or such? Then we have them!”

“No sir. Nothing directs a particular ad to a particular viewer. But the big services, Google, Bing, Facebook, they match groups of users with consumer profiles, and the ad agencies match desirable consumers with suitable advertising, so….”

“And Facebook has decided that Boris and Natasha would really like to see banner ads for revolutionary overthrow of the government?”

*Laughs* “Not quite so simple, sir. The ads don’t actually contain subversive content. There’s a stegographic component as well. As best we can tell, the agent has to view two different images simultaneously to produce a 3D effect like those ‘Magic Eye’ drawings. You stare at the images, unfocus your eyes, and the visual components hidden in the background noise fuse together. And that effect could contain a code word or could flag a moment in time on an audio track. We believe there may be a podcast component as well.”

“So, all we have to do is find a deadbeat sitting in a WiFi café staring at the screen and clicking randomly through the World Wide Web while listening to their iPod? And that’s our covert agent? I can see my retirement, flying right out that window…”

FigureitoutApril 11, 2013 1:08 AM

the agent has to view two different images simultaneously to produce a 3D effect like those ‘Magic Eye’ drawings
@Milan Merhar
--Nice! I used to love those in newspapers!
The ending was perfect!!

PeterApril 11, 2013 5:31 PM

Ten minutes into the Superbowl, sirens start blaring and the big screens start flashing "Evacuate!". Phones start buzzing as approximately 20% of the people in the stadium receive SMSs from loved ones saying that North Korea just launched a missile at the stadium and they should get the hell out of there. In the ensuing stampede for the exits, 100 people are crushed to death.

Subsequent investigation reveals infiltration of the major telecoms companies and a massive data gathering and traffic analysis exercise which allowed the attackers to identify for each phone in the stadium a set of suitable sources for the spoofed messages (wives, siblings, business partners). The stadium alarm system was child's play for the attacking team, and the phone network was spoofed by parking microcells in vans, with the added benefit of blocking phone calls out from anyone who tried to check with the people who had allegedly warned them of the threat.

Robert in San DiegoApril 12, 2013 8:27 AM

The US becomes a motor transportation utopia when a massive infrastructure project brings all traffic signals under central control, allowing real-time traffic metering and.... Yeah, only a traffic engineer would love this. Then, all the traffic lights in Merced, CA turn green during rush hour. All of them.

Merced, it turns out, was picked for obscurity, small actual city in a big state, but far from major media centers (local reporters, not the anchors, to cover, etc.) -- it's a demonstration project.

The brave FBI agent and sultry FHSA analyst gumshoe and analyze their way into a plot by nefarious external agents (gotta be Asian or have weird accents), abetted by DoT careerist denialists, to paralyze the US by doing the same to all traffic lights across the country at 5:35 PM Eastern Time on a Friday of the Memorial Day 3 Day weekend. The plot is foiled when the national controls are turned over to state administration using a proprietary code scheme and password protection instead of "open protocols" and the national web-based control system.

National mass carnage is averted by local action/adventure carnage, and yes, there will be a kiss.

DonApril 12, 2013 8:52 AM

The hacker seizes control of portable welding robots at a shipyard and a power station. He drives them to several remote areas which are crossed with power lines. Simultaneously, the robots cut down the tower, causing nationwide blackouts and mayhem.

BenRifkahApril 12, 2013 3:17 PM

tl;dr: separate cyber threats combine with deadly fleshspace consequences.

Animal control specialist [sensitive guy] has his hands full as reports pour in of pets all over the city attacking their owners. Worse yet his Twitter feed explodes with similar reports from cities around the world. As if his day couldn't get any worse he's getting calls from creditors collecting debts he never incurred. A call to deal with out of control K9 units at police HQ downtown gives him the opportunity to file an ID theft report when he gets there, but the place is in pandemonium.

Passing a cracked office door [guy] overhears snippets of conversation between [cyber detective chick] and [menacing suits]. Half the city is having financial problems ranging from empty accounts to all out identity theft. But, the FBI can't track them because their surveillance is down. [guy] continues eavesdropping but the suits notice and corner him in the break room. [the suits] start grilling him about the compromised surveillance systems.

Just as [guy] explains that he's just there to help the dogs a news bulletin comes on the TV with a report of claims from [cyber libertarians]. They're through watching world governments encroach on citizens' rights. They've hacked WI-FI APs around the world making them generate a blanket of background radiation disrupting wireless surveillance systems.

[The suits] suspect that [the activists] are actually just crooks and their claims are a cover to hide the massive identity theft they're perpetrating. [detective chick] knows there's more to it. She's traced the financial issues to a previously undetected massive sleeper botnet of Near-Field RFID enabled smartphones. Digging deeper she discovers that this network is harvesting credit card and identity information from passersby. But what about the unhinged pets? It can't be a coincidence.

By now the pets are rioting in uncontrollable hordes. The chilling truth uncovered by [detective chick] with the help of [guy] is that the smart phone botnet is being controlled by [foreign organized crime]. This RFID sweep has combined with the [libertarians'] surveillance jamming to set up resonant frequencies that are screwing with our beloved companions' tracking microchips and turning them into a blood thirsty zombienet. But, it isn't just our cuddly familiars anymore. Chipped circus and zoo animals have joined the ranks along with GPS enabled livestock. The national guard has to step in to face the animal army.

While the nation's cities continue to drown in rivers of their own blood all attempts to shut down both attacking networks fail. Clearly neither of the attacking cyber groups could have predicted this calamity. Each group, when confronted with the horror they have wrought, attempts to disable their network to no avail. [detective] discovers the same kernel at the core of both group's botnets. This is no coincidence. A montage helps trace this kernel to disgraced former PETA activist and former communications professor [dr. badguy]. What is [dr. badguy] trying to acomplish? Can our heroes avert this cybergeddon turned K-9/11?

Ari E-BApril 12, 2013 3:36 PM

A North Korean hacker manages to take control of Obama's blackberry. He starts sending emails and making phone calls designed to weaken US defense systems around the city of San Diego. At the same time, he also uses his power to try and find a weakness in the nuclear weapons storage facility in Hawaii. (You know, the secret one).

The hack is discovered and NSA personnel manage to drive the attacker form the system..... or so they think. The DoD, realizing that this probably means an attack on Sandiego, moves several missile interceptors there.

Meanwhile, a crack team of North Korean commandos sneak into the facility (aided by lots of electronic countermeasures of course), and manage to take control of an old nuclear weapon. They launch it, but not at San Diego, at Los Angeles. SD was a ruse - the interceptors can't make it to LA in time.

Obama, sitting in the war room while generals run around trying to find solutions, notices his blackberry buzzing. He picks it up and sees a message which he immediately realizes is from the North Korean hacker. He talks to the hacker, through the blackberry of course, and eventually convinces the North Korean hacker (who had fallen out of favor with the North Korean government after being driven from the blackberry the first time by the NSA), to side with the US and provide the shut down code. Obama enters it (from the Blackberry of course), and shuts down the missile with seconds to spare.

The movie ends with the North Korean hacker having sucesfully risen to the rank of president of NK giving a speech about the need for a more peaceful future.

Vincent BernardiApril 15, 2013 4:00 AM

The Qatar emirate mounts an evil plot to become more rich than ever. It corrupts several Chilean and Argentine officials over the years to buy back large pans of Antarctica currently claimed by those two governments and buys enormous amounts of weapons to militarize the continent as soon as the deal is signed.

At the same time, it mounts a secret team of money-motivated elite russian hackers and have them write a supervirus, Megiddo. This virus slowly infects all CPUs on the planet (computers but also routers, mobile devices, industrial controlers etc) and stays perfectly invisible, excepts that it makes them all run a few degrees hotter than they should.

The goal of this evil plan is of course to accelerate global warming and provoke the desertification of most arable land and therefore make antarctica land extremely valuable.

Discovering this plot bits by bits, our hero, a British (the UK also has UN claims on Antarctica) counterintelligence officer from MI-5, tries to advocate a shutdown of all connected CPUs for a day to install a countervirus he feverishly wrote on all of them. The complete network shutdown is necessary because Megiddo is so powerful that it will reinstall itself on a newly connected CPU as soon as it is on the network. But our hero draws the ire of very powerful stock-exchange business interests who don't care about the Qatari plot and don't want their computers stopping making them money even for an hour.

The virus would also in the course of the movie be used to plant false pornographic evidence against the few good american and british officials helping our hero to take them down. Our hero could only get acess to connected Megiddo-resistant computers through an old CIA friend, who defies security clearance law by giving our hero access to an ultra-secret Echelon-like project consisting of computers untainted because they use new carbon-nanotubes technology instead of silicon. The romantic interest of the movie would be a very attractive corporate shill, who in the course of the movie slowly discovers the dangers of the actions of her corporate masters and that she has a conscience.

MichaelApril 15, 2013 7:59 AM

Summary: A private investigater is hired to spy on an board member of large company by his/her spouce, but soon after find himself/herself in a intriging web of conspiracy.

The Company turns out to have another much more beneficial revenue coming from blackmailing and cyber attacks against all kind of nations and used by all kind of nations.
He/she finds out the thruth using non-technical means but got dedected and get's chased by all means of cyberwarfare.
It's a race against time. Get the thruth out in time or die. But who can he/she trust? Why was he/she hired in the first place?

Plot: He/She was selected carefully for the task and continously monitored and assisted in the background. It was a financial company betting on the downfall of companies and states using hedged positions to get the money.
And it was revenge. They were blackmailed once too.

ShogunApril 15, 2013 8:44 AM

The People's Republic of China (PRC) has successfully seeded its electronic technology throughout the world. From the late eighties until this year, the People's Liberation Army (PLA) has followed its doctrinal guidance of clandestine information warfare.

Most importantly, it has integrated a covert kill switch at the integrated circuit level in devices manufactured in PRC. Hardware ranging in complexity from Core Routers to cell phones are susceptible to an encrypted signal that will disable the target device, permanently where feasible.

The final command to execute the kill switch is termed Operation Jiao (Sea Serpent); this Information Warfare program is classified at the highest levels of operational security within the PRC government and the PLA.

Jiao is fascinatingly simple in principle. Targeted devices are segmented into four categories.

Category 1: embedded systems, appliances, and related standalone microprocessor-driven systems that deal with machine control

Category 2: personal computers, wi-fi hot-spots, tablets, smartphones, and other personal systems

Category 3: first-level network communication systems: switches, relays, SIP gateways, and other "single network" devices

Category 4: SCADA systems, Edge/Core Routers, and other "meta systems" that command entire systems

When the command is begun to launch the overarching attack against the West -- the United States being the primary target -- the operation unfolds in phases for maximum effect.

Using a compromised botnet of uncertain national origin, Category 1 devices are hit first, causing embedded systems around the world to fail.

With short intervals between each category, devices at levels 2 through 4 are then targeted, which gradually serves to throw communications networks, financial services, power grids, and other critical infrastructure elements offline.

The result in the United States is catastrophic. The attack mimics that of an Electronic Magnetic Pulse (EMP), which -- in a matter of minutes -- bring the entire United States into the 19th century.

Virtually every supply chain, every business, every government agency, every piece of the economy that touches an electronic device grounds to a standstill.

Within 72 hours, as the inability of the government to respond becomes clear, the United States dissolves into a frenzy of looting, arson and violence.

Over the coming months, tens of millions will starve to death, freeze to death, or succumb to disease.

Harry PayneApril 15, 2013 9:22 AM

The FBI thought it was going to be easy. Identify a disaffected Brown-American, feed his disaffection, get him to agree to take part in an attack at a Denver Broncos game, sell him the explosives and firearms to carry out the attack through a “friend”, then arrest him on live TV and boast about how they were keeping the US safe from terrorism.

The Congressional inquiry into the resulting incident known as the Sports Authority Field Massacre, which ended with over 100 civilians killed and several hundreds more injured, mostly from the fire-fight between two FBI groups who were unaware of each other, the DHS who’d received a tipoff that a paramilitary group was going to assassinate the Governor, a BATF SWAT team who had been told the game was being used as a cover for a major covert firearms deal, and, inevitably, the local Police, was unable to determine the existence of any Brown-American terrorist involvement whatsoever. The surviving FBI “handlers” were unable to produce any footage or photos, and the person they thought they were dealing with had in fact been completing a post-doctorate at the University of Oregon, with dozens of fellow-students and faculty members confirming his alibi.

The resulting political fallout, leading to widespread purges in the aforementioned Federal agencies, and the general distrust engendered in the US public for those agencies, reduced their effectiveness to the point that the organisation who provided the Brown-American (who was in fact neither), along with all the resources to game them and subvert their surveillance, to put the next phase of their plan into effect…

ScottApril 15, 2013 10:42 AM

China makes a public announcement that they are turning off their "great firewall".

What they have *really* done is stolen the signing key to every major CA, and are doing an active MitM attack on every connection in and out of China.

A lot of possibilities from here on out but I'll throw a ridiculous one out there.

Government official in China is browsing the data and finds North Korean nuclear launch codes. Was trying to copy/paste into a text file but accidentally manages to copy/paste into a browser window instead, and manages to order a missile against a nearby U.S. base. U.S. MAD systems respond by vaporizing Pyongyang. Chinese MAD systems respond by vaporizing every major U.S. city. U.S. MAD systems respond (due to a bug) by taking out both China and Russia. Russian MAD systems take care of the rest of the world.

Jesse SlicerApril 15, 2013 10:59 AM

Date: February 23, 2014

Location: Daytona Beach, Florida

Time: 2:47pm Eastern Standard Time

As stock cars rounded yet another turn in the seemingly never-ending circle that was the Daytona 500 race, suddenly each and every car began to veer wildly out of control and speeding up uncontrollably. Several smashed through barriers into the midfield, injuring and killing entire pit crews, while others vaulted into the stands, causing untold carnage amongst brim-hatted, beer-swilling fans.

This president had abused his power for the last time by using CIA satellites to interrupt the on-board computers of the race cars with his custom cyber-intrusion designed to remove voting opposition.

This time, the South WILL rise again. No voting for THIS president in 2016.

Tom GiangreoApril 15, 2013 11:06 AM

Bruce Snoddgrass lived a simple life, had few friends and was considered the mega-geek in the universities nano-bot research lab, where he was working on his doctorate degree. Bruce had made great progress lately but because of his almost obsesive paranoia, kept most of his research data to himself, planning on releasing his discoveries when the time was right. And the time was nearly right.

Bruce has discovered several innovative uses for nono-bots and for ways to deliver and deploy them. One of his most satisfying successes (for a geek anyway) was his recent discovery of a way for a flock of tiny, almost invisible nano-bots to communicate with each other to perform some simple organized tasks. Nothing as complicated as the Borg, but useful non-the-less. For example, he could program thousands of these tiny little computers to detect the color of the object they were sitting on and communicate that, along with it's exact position in relation to the other bots in the immediate vicinity, to a nearby receiver. A processor could easily correlate the data from all the other bots and produce an exact duplicate of the picture they were sitting on. The receiver and processor had to be within a few feet of the bots but it could then transmit the data more than a hundred feet to a more powerful receiving stations.

He also managed to deliver his bots from an aerosol spray bottle. Pretty ingenious he thought….

Of course, the story continues with, for some silly Hollywood contrived reason, Bruce's program being unceremoniously cut from the university research programs. Depressed, discussed and of course, paranoid, Bruce sets on a course to ruin everyone else's fun. He trains his bots for a new mission.

After being sprayed on a fingerprint reader and the associated keypad, he develops his plan to circumvent the access controls on a nuclear power plant. Since Bruce's local neighborhood nuclear power plant doesn't use a keycard any longer, but instead elected to use a fingerprint and key code for physical access, Bruce devised a brilliant plan. He instructed the bots, that would be sprayed on the fingerprint reader, to transmit a perfect topographical picture of a persons fingerprint and transmit that to a nearby receiver while the other bots, sprayed onto the keyboard, would transmit the subsequint sequence of key pressed. He would then reproduce, with the new 3-D printer he got from some KickStarter program he contributed to a while ago, a perfect silicone copy of the fingerprint, along with the key code he needed to enter the power plant.

At some point the entire neighborhood is threatened by a release of contaminated steam and the discovery of Bruce's surefire plan to meltdown the entire plant. There would. of course, be some hero, who just happens to be dating the girl that Bruce hoped to marry some day, who will attempt to thwart all Bruce's hard work, but I'll leave that for Hollywood to complete.

murkyApril 15, 2013 11:20 AM

The CIA director learns in his daily security brief, that someone is persuading the president by email to take a blue pill. Prudently he does some research on the web on blue pills, which triggers the web surveillance system to classify him as vulnerable to blackmail, and informs other CIA officials. In a recursive process of web research on pills and letting vulnerable officials go, the CIA collapses. Officials who get informed later, realize the problem and avoid web research, but Google advertisement is faster... ;-)

starc@April 15, 2013 11:33 AM

Bob sat staring at his screen. Bob did that a lot. His high school curriculum was no challenge for a bright American boy like Bob, which left a lot of time for his computer "games". Today he had discovered a computer with a misconfigured web-server, somewhere in China. After a few minutes of tweaking some ruby script and a download of a couple of exploits (the first someone's remote shell code, the other a privilege escalation for that particular make and model) he was in; he had acquired full access to the machine. From here, he began to explore the network. He opened a new pack of M&Ms and munched distractedly as he bounced from machine to machine. He reflected on how this subnet had little internal security once initial access had been granted. On a couple of these machines, he started network scans with nmap of another randomly chosen network, 198.81.0.0/16, looking for more targets and open relays.

In the situation room, Major General John L. Sullivan watched as several of his people huddled around a collection of screens showing flashing red warnings. "They're at it again!", he exclaimed as they handed him a summary of the recent attacks. Of course, China was behind it once again. There was no denying the source of the attacks was controlled by the Chinese government. "Those buggers ought to know better than to try this", he muttered as he sent the reports on to the White House. It had been about a month since the Congress has passed the VMAD act, Virtual Mutally Assured Distruction had authorized a military response against any act against government computer systems. A moment later, he had his response from the President; authorization to retaliate. Following standard procedure, two operators on duty inserted their electronic keys and punched in the required codes. Within minutes the nukes were flying towards their intended targets. The general and his team watched their screens as first more of them lit with red flashing warnings, and then began to blank out.

Somewhere a siren was blaring. As the general looked on, he exclaimed, "Oh, shi..................".

John OhnoApril 15, 2013 11:45 AM

After hearing the trigger word on Fox News, David Bowie unleashes the latent personality implanted during his first abduction experience, and proceeds to spend his entire fortune on Amazon S3. He uses all of his nodes to systematically brute-force collisions for various popular hashing systems, and publishes them on archive.org. He buys the rights to the goatse.cx domain and links it to a frontend that allows reverse lookup of hashes. Overnight, the complete password list for every phpbb install is cracked. 93% of these passwords were shared with the email addresses. Access to these addresses were held for ransom by a splinter group of Anonymous.

MuppApril 15, 2013 11:54 AM

Loosely based on the story from The Winter War :

After a major and inconvenient malfunctioning of a Western European city's water distribution network, Doru Mandreanu, a Romanian computer scientist gets implicated by a security agent. This sets off a series of paperwork and his subsequent arrest under a European warrant. His sister Anka, an equally talented mathematician cryptographer, tries to figure out what has happened to him but ends up getting stuck in the bureaucracy of the local police.

Their brother Constantin, a state administrator entrusted with the task of ensuring fruitful cooperation between different CERTs in member states in Central Europe (for the purpose defined so as to include Austria and Germany), and close friend to the family András, a Hungarian currently based in the Netherlands to help the European CyberCrime Center with its important transnational missions, try to find out where Doru is located. However, András gets labled disloyal by his institution and his security clearances are revoked. He returns to Hungary where he meets up with Anka.

Meanwhile, Constantin disappears journeying in France. His last message indicates that he is seen by a liability by his own government as well as those of their collaborators because of the precarious situation surrounding his brother.

Anka is trying to prove that the water distribution network was not sufficiently protected, but when finding an obvious flaw in the authentication mechanism for shutting off water access to public institutions and private households, she is detained by the police upon disclosing this publically.

András is now alone trying to clear his name, and the Mandreanu's are all outside his reach or kept outside his reach. Following a second attempt at clearing the bureaucracy, he is given a strong warning not to meddle further in the affair. As he fails to heed the advice in his new position as system administrator in a local municipality of his home member state, he too eventually disappears.

John CheyneyApril 15, 2013 12:12 PM

Currently, when someone donates a unit of blood, that blood is tested for a number diseases (HIV, Hepatitis, etc). It is also typed and crossmatched, because there are serious consequences to getting blood that isn't your type. It is then typically broken down into components and each component is given to a patient based on need.

Pretty much all of this is done using computer based lab systems. Many of these involve interfaces that send orders and results back and forth electronically between the instruments and the processing system. This system is currently very safe and, at least in the developed world, it is extremely rare to have an issue with contaminated blood being used.

However, what if a foreign power was able to hack these systems? Units that were actually contaminated with infectious diseases were marked as clear and were actually transfused. They could also mark units that were clear as contaminated and take them out of circulation so that patients who needed them would be denied due to lack of blood in stock. They could also mark units with improper type and crossmatch designations. The implications are huge:
1. Patient who receive blood could either die or become unwitting vectors for large scale disease outbreaks.
2. Surgeries could be postponed or cancelled because of lack of blood.
3. And perhaps most importantly, it would destroy confidence in the blood banking system and healthcare as a whole. If people decide not to seek healthcare because they don’t trust the system, then we would get into this vicious cycle of out of control infectious diseases, ultimately resulting in massive panic and death.

Pete ManciniApril 15, 2013 12:32 PM

(Mine's a comedy) An Asian oligarch is being pressured to produce better sales numbers. The problem is he's been demoted due to a scandal and is in charge of selling plastic dog shit for those who love a good dog shit prank. So, he turns to his underground contacts and is put in touch with some genius black hats. They formulate a plan. By using analysis of demographics and sentiment, they target specific groups and intercept their communications on the social network. With small changes they create a wave of positive sentiment around fake dog shit and triple sales. At this point the wife of the Oligarch sees an opportunity and turns the ring onto manipulating sentiment around political issues, figures and diplomatic relationships promoting her husband and causing people to alter opinions. It relies upon people not having a good sense of logic and promoting various logical fallacies. I know - totally unheard of on the Internet!

The RubberduckApril 15, 2013 12:46 PM

A shady business conglomerate is trying to pass some new anti-privacy legislation through congress. They’ve almost got the votes that they need, but there are a few senators that won’t budge. Using big data and analysis, they figure out who will need to be removed to shift the votes in their favor. Some lobbyists, some journalists, family members of a couple of the senators, and the vice president.

They then begin to eliminate them in inconspicuous ways, using network controlled devices. A drawbridge that suddenly opens. A car’s electronic steering that becomes unresponsive. A private plane, where the navigation computer flies the plane into a mountain.

In the secret service, agent Trevis Stoker is contacted by an anonymous blogger called “Liberty”, who claims that he has information about a plot against the vice president, and asks to meet Stoker. Stoker heads off on his own time to meet with Liberty in a parking garage. He only sees the silhouette of Liberty, before a black SUV with tinted windows screeches onto the scene, does a drive-by at the pair of them, and then disappears. Stoker is unhurt, but Liberty has fled the scene. All that Stoker finds is a receipt from a pizza place.

Stoker returns to the office, and convinces his partner, agent Lewis, that they need to find Liberty, as he will surely not contact the authorities again, after this attempt on his life. A brief digital investigation leads to nothing, even with the Secret Service databases. Liberty is doing a really good job of hiding his real identity. But Stoker and his partner heads out to do some legwork on the pizza receipt clue. Throughout the investigation, Lewis is dismissive of how important Liberty can be. He only follows Stoker because he owes him for that time he saved his life.

In the end they find Liberty, aka Freddy Anderson. Anderson is not happy to see them. Surely they will have been followed by the bad guys. Just as Stoker is in the middle of saying how they have not been followed, the house is attacked with automatic firearms from the outside. The trio flee out the backdoor, and Anderson leads them on a route that avoids cameras and other surveillance. He also has an app on his phone that allows him to see the surveillance drones that the local police uses.

Taking the agents to a diner, he explains how he hacked into a server, and found the plan of the shady business conglomerate. The agents must get Anderson to the Secret Service HQ, so he can share his data. When they reach Washington, a secret CIA gun drone is on their trail. Luckily Anderson can track it. Lewis volunteers to lead the drone on a wild goose chase, as it is important that Anderson’s data reaches the HQ. They reach the HQ, but the assassination attempt on the vice president is already in progress. Anderson counter-hacks the bad guys, and the VP is saved. The End.

Michel LoweApril 15, 2013 12:46 PM

MD Lowe Cyberwar Movie-Plot Threat
(This is loosely based on a book I've written. Know any good agents?)

A serial killer hijacks nanny cams, watches families at play, eating dinner, watching TV. He notes the schedule, comings and goings of mom and dad, kids, Fido, and the nanny. Then he strikes in the night and annihilates the family.

Worse, he has followers. A cult of nanny cam killers emerges.

The Nanny Cam killing videos are posted to YouTube and go viral.

Art OrrApril 15, 2013 1:52 PM

If you’re reading this, it may already be too late, but I have to try. Whatever you do, don’t go to the hospital. Any hospital. Any clinic for that matter. They are breeding us out of existence. It started simple enough. First came DNA sequencing. We all thought it was a great idea. They had other plans. Once they had our sequence, they could target delivery systems to hit each of us individually. They needed a way to do it large scale so they made sure the doctors had to use the new electronic healthcare systems. Everything became connected to the internet. They now had access. Even that heart and respiration monitor became connected to a centralized system. They made the system’s health codes larger. Much larger. Instead of 5 digits, we all had to use many more. The slightest digit change could make something as simple as a diagnosis for cough with fever into something else like meningitis with complications. They could change those digits. Alter the treatment. Other drugs could be handed out. Drugs that the doctors didn’t prescribe. Drug compounding companies are not regulated like other drug manufacturing companies. They control drug manufacturing. That medication that you take can be compounded with drugs that do other things. It can be compounded with the delivery system meant for you. That baby that you are having can be changed. That baby may not be your baby. It may be theirs. I’ve got a lead but I have to act fast. I’m texting this while I’m on the plane to take me there. To the place. I hope they don’t notice this message. The plane seems to be acting funny now. I have to press send just in case. I hope this gets to you. Please, just don’t go to the hospital. And have somebody armed with a gun when you deliver. To protect you, just in case.

Tom JoyceApril 15, 2013 2:56 PM

A Government plan is hatched to distribute bugging devices in products that Americans bring home from the grocery store, specifically the toys inside cereal, using a marketing strategy to get children to desire that product via mining Facebook pages for current interests.

When the kids get the cereal and open the toy, the cyber device is activated by the winding mechanism, a worm then seeks out a known venerability in the home router, which has been pre engineered by the CIA. ISPs are forced to install the software under the patriot act. Opening a door for the "toy" to become a listening and viewing device but further infecting the computers and cell phones in the household creating access to work places and private places.

However the plan falters when "the fill in the bad guys" get wind of it , hack the system and are able to now have access to literally the inside lives of Americans work and play, knowing where they plan to spend money, what they plan and what they fear and love, resulting in all out financial Armageddon

Joshua BruleApril 15, 2013 4:20 PM

It's 2015 and organized crime has risen dramatically in dramatically in power. Due to the proliferation of easy-to-use cryptographic software, the US government has lost the ability to effectively track or monitor illicit activities. Without the constant threat of DEA and ATF intervention, black market drug and firearms trading has exploded, netting Columbian drug lords and Russian and Chinese arms dealers trillions of dollars.

Exacerbating the situation is the creation of the cryptocurrency "BlackCoin" designed by a nebulous group of anonymous hackers known only as "Nakamous". BlackCoin allows the drug and weapon cartels to easily launder their money and conduct untraceable transactions. It has also gained popularity with many slightly disreputable ordinary citizens who use it to hide their purchases to avoid paying taxes - despite repeated warnings from the government that cryptocurrency cannot be guarded against cyber-theft. (Indeed, many people have lost their entire life savings when BlackCoin accounts on their personal computers are hacked.)

Meanwhile, a young agent in the FBI's cybercrime division has noticed a disturbing pattern: odd chunks of code snuck into almost every major banking and stock exchange network under the guise of patches to the open-source components of the software. But as he digs into the details, he determines that these 'updates' are actually viruses waiting for an outside trigger to bring down the entire financial system!

Tracing the source of the viruses leads the FBI agent to anarchist group Nakamous revealed to be brains behind the largest of the weapons cartels. By destabilizing the economy, BlackCoin will become the world's only viable currency, and with the backing of the weapons dealers, Nakamous plans to lead an armed takeover of the United States!

Jordan RApril 15, 2013 10:03 PM

Story starts with a series of unremarkable company takeovers that barely make the news. Real estate companies primarily with no apparent connection to one another. However these companies own the buildings that house the Internet hubs where internet cables come into the continent from outside the USA such as 60 Houston Street. As time goes on the new (Chinese) owners begin to renovate the buildings, secretly installing devices that provide them access to the "veins" of the internet where they can listen into the traffic that passes through their buildings.

With this window into the internet traffic they are able to make huge sums of money front running stocks. They use and conceal the gains in three hedge funds that hide the ownership of the money.

The first hedge fund uses their cash to purchase Microsoft, the second hedge fund successfully takes over Apple Computers, and the third hedge fund uses their resources to garner influential people in DC to help change, add, or reduce government barriers.

Over the next decade the Chinese are able to modify the OS for PCs and Macs without anyone noticing such that they are able to control them anytime they want....

The first movie ends after the Chinese practice a computer takeover of military computers around the world and the Americans are pleased with themselves thinking that they have outwitted the unknown enemy....

The sequel takes over from that point as the Chinese prepare to invade the USA after taking over the entire US Military system remotely via the OS backdoor they installed....

DJApril 15, 2013 10:44 PM

Cyberwar: The Movie

He wrote an Open Source BitCoin Wallet application and it caught on.
Soon, people were using their smartphones to conduct private P2P transactions.
An underground economy sprung outside of the controls of government.
Rickshaw pullers replaced Cannabis growers as main users of BitCoin.
People stopped paying taxes. Governments were threatened and started a cyber-counter-offensive against their citizens.
The Internet might have to be shut down. It had grown out of their control.

Wait for the sequel: The Government Strikes Back!

DaveApril 15, 2013 11:38 PM

SETTING THE SCENE:

Major internet companies (Facebook, Google, etc) track everything they can about everyone who uses the Internet. Telephone companies do the same. Police forces and national security agencies do the same. See the ‘Schneier on Security’ blog for details.

NSA harvests all of this information – some legally and some tapped illegally – holding files on everyone in a massive data warehouse known as ‘The Store’. This is all updated, correlated and turned into usable intelligence in real-time by heuristics run on massively parallel supercomputers and an army of technicians and analysts. In addition to its own citizens, US espionage activities have provided The Store with real-time feeds from other Governments’ equivalent databases including everything Russia, China, UK, etc possess.

If you don’t live in an unpowered cabin in the woods and grow/hunt your own food, you’re in the Store. If you do, your cabin has been geolocated from satellite photos and The Store states how many deer you eat per month base on wildlife survey statistics.

THE PLOT:

The Store gets cracked. A trio of movie villains get access to it and develop an app for their own use – they take a photo of a random person with a smartphone and immediately pull up that person’s Store file on the phone. These files include affairs, hidden bank accounts, deviant porn tastes, and other info suitable for blackmail or manipulation. They can walk up to someone, take a photo of them, and a minute later whisper blackmail into their ear to force their cooperation. A social engineer’s dream.

The villains use this technology to pull off a series of heists, cons and blackmail – starting off seemingly random and petty but building towards a major goal. After they blackmail a bank guard into giving them access to a vault of safety deposit boxes, they trip a covert alarm system while cracking a box and, after they’ve departed, a bank investigator starts sniffing around.

Quickly figuring out that the guard was blackmailed the investigator uses CCTV footage to identify several of the trio’s aliases and sets out on their trail. As he puts two and two together he realises they’re working on something big, speculating about a major criminal/terrorist plot.

THE TWIST:

The trio actually plan to bring down the Store by cutting it off from NSA control and opening it to the public – using its own cyber and physical security systems and power generators to prevent the NSA taking it offline for at least 12 hours to make sure that word gets out and force the US Government to publicly acknowledge and dismantle The Store.

The investigator, built up as the hero of the movie, gets a last-minute opportunity to avert this strike and chooses not to.

The trio delete their own records from The Store and, through it, the primary feed databases and disappear.

The US Government does not acknowledge the Store, and the NSA go back to business as usual as the film concludes.

KenApril 16, 2013 2:44 AM

A group of libertarian-leaning IT specialists, led by an idealistic but somewhat naive protagonist decide to liberate the USA from the federal government.

The protagonist and his friend work for a firm that does security audits on banks. They decide to liberate America from the federal government.

They do so by reverse engineering Stuxnet virus and producing a similar virus with three objectives:

1. Collect the victim's identity and credit card information which is use to send bogus tax returns with real people's names and social security numbers from the infected computer to the IRS in 2014 in such quantity that the IRS cannot tell which tax returns are the real ones.

Bolstered by their initial success, the protagonist and his friends are emboldened to try a social engineering attack on Goldman Sachs in order to gain access keys to the Comex trading accounts.

They successfully do so without being detected.

This emboldens them to attempt a third and final coup de tat, in which they will bring all of their stolen information assets to bear.

They perform another social engineering attack to hack the Federal Reserve.

Having gained the access keys they execute an April 15th tax protest attack by using Goldman Sachs accounts to buy $2 billion worth of gold on COMEX, while simultaneously using the Fed's plunge protection team accounts to short the US stock market, and to short the dollar on the major forex exchanges.

The markets crash, gold skyrockets, and the dollar goes into a worldwide selling panic.

But the protagonists get killed in the ensuing mob violence on the street.

End of story. :)

marcopolosApril 16, 2013 3:01 AM

In the near future, all major domestic and foreign car makers equip their vehicles with “OnStar” like services, including always-on internet connection, GPS, remote start & stop, etc. Of course, all of these boards are made by just a few suppliers, but the main SOC is made by only one manufacturer, who sub-contracts to a manufacturer in North Korea. This manufacturer has built in a universal root level back door.
Cut to a weather forecast, talking about the blizzard that is going to bring record snow and cold. Predicted to hit the East Coast in the next 24 hours.
It starts during the Inauguration of the new President, as the video of his motorcade making its way to the capitol is beamed across the world, a hacker furiously types away and soon, all of the cars in DC begin to stall. This quickly spreads throughout the eastern sea board. Chaos quickly ensuses, as all commerce grinds to a halt, fire trucks, police and ambulances are unable to respond to emergencies, and everyone is forced to go on foot. Cars are unable to move, and even though the police motorcycles and the presidential limos are not effected, they are paralyzed by the snarled traffic.
Cut to: The outgoing president, sitting in the Oval Office, writing the letter to his successor, when the secret service rush in, and hustle him to the bunker. The inauguration is delayed, the president elect is stranded, vulnerable in his car. With no way to get him to safety. The storm is already hitting the lakes area and then reports of the vehicle blackout in the storm area start coming in. The temperatures are dropping, people are going to freeze to death outdoors.
Cut to: US Cybercommand, people are running around, commands are being shouted. Questions: is it a virus, a glitch, sunspot? Focus on one agent slowly cleaning out his desk, taking pictures off the wall , somewhat oblivious to the chaos outside his office door. The door bursts open: “ Major, you were right, the Icarus scenario is playing out.” “Not my problem, remember? Doesn’t matter how many times you run the simulation, the brass have made it abundantly clear that…” “No, it is REALLY happening, virtually all the vehicles on the eastern seaboard have stalled out, ground transportation is frozen..”
Someone in the command room suddenly starts shouting “put my monitor on the main screen! Everyone listen”
Cut to a YouTube video: recent TV news of the sudden crisis, then a VoiceOver starts, accompanied by text on the screen: “For far too long the world has been ruled by the imperial ambitions of the United States. We will no longer sit by as the United States wrecks war and havoc across the planet. We have taken control of your countries vehicles. The age of oil is at an end..”
An aid runs up to the pair: “ Major, the President is on the line for you..” “Which one?” “Both, they said you need to mobilize your team. .”

ravanosApril 16, 2013 7:52 AM

Teheran, Iran, May 15th, 2017. Computer screens dimly illuminate a small room. A group of cyber hackers is diligently working behind their computers. NASA’s logo is prominently visible on the main screen. Cries of excitement break the silence. Finally, after months of stealthy activity and nearly being discovered multiple times, the intrusion has been complete. The backdoor and system override has been successfully installed on NASA’s latest prestigious project.

Cape Canaveral, April 9th, 2018. A bright day. Fumes and heat explode from underneath the rocket engine. Just a matter of minutes later, the successful launch of the ION (interplanetary object network) interceptor is completed. The president announces this as a major step towards securing the planet from impact by interplanetary objects. The interceptor is now on its first mission to study an asteroid and deflect it’s course. Not that it would have hit planet Earth anyway, but this object serves as a decent try-out as it has a very large size. It is assumed that if the interceptor works on this object, it will work on any object.

Washington DC, May 22nd, 2018. The ION interceptor has closed in significantly on its target. Only a few more hours until physical contact with the asteroid can be established. The process is fairly simple: align with the course of the asteroid, match the asteroids speed, take some samples for scientific purposes and engage booster rockets to divert the object from its original course. All of a sudden, the control screens in NASA headquarters go blank. All communications with the interception is broken. This has not happened before. The ION interceptor is fitted with the latest in interplanetary communications that is designed to be robust and failure proof. Fortunately, several minutes later, communications have been restored. The self-test on the interceptor show no signs of failure. Everything seems to be in order, except… commands sent to the ION interceptor are not carried out. Instead, the machine seems to act on its own, although it’s actions are well coordinated. There seems to be some form of control, it’s just that the interceptor doesn’t seem to be under NASA’s control.

The announcement is made soon after. A group of Islamic extremist hackers, calling themselves “Yawmuddin” (Day of Judgment) send out a message claiming that they now have control over the ION interceptor. They announce that the Day of Judgment is coming as they plan to drive the asteroid straight into the political heart of the United States. It is quickly estimated that the asteroid will hit Earth on the 10th of July. However, due to acceleration caused by the interceptors booster rockets, this may be as early as the 4th of July. A race against the clock starts to locate the cyber intruders, regain control over the interceptor and steer the asteroid safely away from Earth before an entire city is wiped from the face of the earth.

The war in cyberspace has just taken a giant leap into actual space.


AndriasApril 16, 2013 10:26 AM

A group of hackers take control of the worlds fleet of super tankers. After using a number to ram and destroy key oil facilities, they hold the US and EU hostage for want of crude oil to feed the market.
Mooring the fleet in Somalia they hire local warlords to provide protection, little reaslising that Al-Shabaab intends to destroy them all to weaken the West.
As governments race to find the hackers and regain control, the military forces begin to square off while a rogue group attempt to detonate the tankers as American forces race to halt them.
Oil, terrorists & hacking? Boom instant blockbuster.

KenApril 16, 2013 11:48 AM

A flaw in Facebook's authentication process is used to convince millions of Tweens that they have been slut-shamed. Panic, suicide, and lawsuits result, paralyzing the US legal system and The Internet. German Terrorists take advantage of the chaos to book resort holidays, and proceed to drink up all of the liquor. Bruce Willis is brought back from retirement and cleans up the mess with by giving the Facebook CEO a stern talking-to. The END??? (Room for a sequel)

MBishopApril 16, 2013 12:54 PM

Confounded by the internal coherency of thought that whittles away at the creativity in any self-contained government organization, the cyber assault group of Freedonia sought outside strategic guidance. They did not have the military industrial complex necessary to compete in a conventional war with their larger neighbor, Sylvania, but their low minimum wage and lack of regulation had led many cutting edge tech firms from larger nations to outsource IT operations to their small country. They utilized the technological acumen of local Freedonians trained in computer security at the expense of commercial firms in wealthier states to build a formidable team with which to conduct offensive cyber warfare. Given the escalating tensions with Sylvania, war was seen as inevitable, and a crippling strike to their technological infrastructure was Freedonia’s best chance at averting a conventional invasion. Unfortunately, how and where to conduct such a strike was the problem confounding their cyber leaders. Sylvania had equally talented defenders, and had likely anticipated any standard attack vectors.

First, they looked toward the academic research world, but the publication cycles were too long and the strategies put forth were from one of two camps – either they were theoretical but not practical, or they were practical and industry had already responded with defenses.

Next, they looked toward the cutting edge “security” firms that regularly presented at Free Hat, their annual computer security event that catered to both sides of the security fence. The possibility of purchasing zero-day exploits was promising, but Sylvania was likely purchasing from the same pool of firms, and they had deeper pockets to afford a larger arsenal of unpublished exploits.

Finally, one their cyber warriors was reading the blog of a leading computer security expert. While ordinary Freedonian citizens were blocked from the blog by the Great Wall of Freedonia in an effort to control the internal dissemination of undesirable messages about the regime (a single word that conveyed the global views of the Freedonian government), the cyber assault team was permitted unfettered access. Having recently read several books on crowdsourcing, the cyber warrior convinced the security expert to host a contest on cyberwarfare, bringing together the greatest global minds to solve Freedonia’s problem, at no cost to the cyber team and with no link back to Freedonia.

Ironically, it was a scholar from Sylvania that provided the scenario that was used against her own country the very next day. In addition to the bragging rights of being the contest winner, she was the first recipient of the Freedonia Distinguished Warfare Cyber medal, given in absentia, of course.

NickApril 16, 2013 4:53 PM

A maniacal hacker has found a way to take control of CT machines worldwide. A Computed Tomography machine takes a high volume of X-ray photos to build a map of the inside of a person. Of course, we all know that X-rays are dangerous, but normally CT images do far more good than harm. However, this hacker is amping up the dosage and number of images on some seemingly random procedures such that the victims die from the exposure.
A young, beautiful, red headed radiologist is helping her mother settle into a hospital room due to a fractured hip from a fall just as a doctor comes in to talk about the pending CT scan. He addresses our soon to be heroine by name since they are coworkers and privately explains that their CT machine malfunctioned the prior day and resulted in a death. The backup machine is down so the grandmother cannot be scanned for a couple of days.
With her curiosity peaked, the radiologist begins to research CT deaths and finds a strange pattern of failures in a particular brand. She meets a software engineer from the manufacturer and is taken by his out of place good looks. The engineer quickly realizes that the machines have been hacked. This starts an intertwined race to find the hacker before he can kill again while the couple continues to fall for each other.
A call to the FBI is met with a cold ear and a warning to leave the matter alone. That evening an agent meets with our crusading couple and quietly explains that the FBI has known of this hacker for months. Not only are a few machines compromised, but all CT machines everywhere have been infiltrated. The fear can immediately be seen in our eye candy of a savior as she recalls the doctor’s order to have a CT scan performed on her grandmother! Just then another CT death is reported.
This leads to a discussion of going public with the information. Telling the world that CT scans are potentially lethal will shut down a vital part of our healthcare infrastructure, not to mention the damage that will be caused by the sheer terror of the crime. Not telling the world will enable some script kitty to continue to get his kicks by indiscriminately killing anyone that he chooses. In the midst of a heated argument, our engineer realizes that his machines have a very obscure method of recording incoming data which the kitty just may not have thought to delete.
From there a chase both physical and through cyberspace ensues. Danger is around every bend, lives are at risk, and a critical piece of our healthcare infrastructure is in the balance. Will they stop the hacker? Will our marauders finally realize that they have found each other for reasons greater than just life and death? What will happen when the grandmother finally does get her scan? All of this and more.

Timothy RoeschApril 17, 2013 7:52 AM

Cyber Green (based on title Soylent Green)

REAL TIME: Movie is heavily advertised with free gimmicks, apps, a web site that collects information, posted pictures, etc.

Under the surface a vicious 'anti movie' group begins to surface, posting Youtube videos which are quickly scrubbed, comments on popular websites which are then scrubbed.

Subsrcibers to the various fan sites begin receiving 'have you seen...' posts and emails.

The movie can be an internet love story or something attractive. The point is that the movie advertised will not be the movie the audience will see.
The movie is about a a computer program that slowly infiltrates the World's computer systems. At first it was 'conspiracy groups' ( CFR etc) seeking world domination but the program they created 'gets away from them'. The movie is 'hijacked' and a vignette of scenes is shown (as if the movie was, indeed, taken over - these are set up like an action adventure but that is 'really' going on) which suggest that the audience is watching 'real' events which are, in reality, very possible (geo tagging, dark market, silk road, etc).

The movie ends with
What are you going to do, people?

The movie is made very 'War of the Worlds' like but with a computer program playing the part of Martians.

You have the movie, at one level, and the reality of cyber attack on the level of really happening in much the same way.

Think the made for TV movie 'Special Bulletin'. Imagine Soylent Green created as if the audience is seeing movie REALLY warning them not 'entertaining them'. Like a newsreel put on the projecter INSTEAD of the movie advertised.
You will not look at your cell phone in the same way again...

Paul WApril 17, 2013 2:46 PM

Unbeknownst to the public, POTUS has a secret online gambling addiction. Suddenly, billions in government funds are missing. Did he gamble public resources all away, were critical government computer systems compromised by foreign operatives, was it all just a ploy by the opposition party to subvert the authority of POTUS, or was it all just a false flag operation to justify a weakening of civil liberties and the role of the president?

In the end it turns out all to be a web of lies created by a conniving VP who wants more power for himself and plans to obtain it by having POTUS impeached. His team of hackers is caught by a nerdy high school student and her compatriots known as the Dream Team when they realize that the weak password the media reports that the POTUS used was the same word they saw on a yellow sticky note on the VP's office computer when they were touring Washington DC and visited his office just days earlier.

Erwin in ShanghaiApril 17, 2013 8:16 PM

2,147,483,647. THIS NUMBER WILL LIVE IN INFAMY

Prior to the attack, we still had the edifice of a republic, though democratic discourse had long ago deteriorated into the reactionary mob politics of division and entitlement. Economically, the republic was gradually collapsing under the inefficiency of seven decades of Military Keynesianism.

The last thread of imperium was global control of oil, but our "allies" in East Asia had realized control over cheap energy would never peaceably be wrested away from the dying empire.

Few Americans recall that we precipitated war in the Pacific the summer before Pearl, with our embargo blocking 90% of Japanese oil imports. American's didn't read the [japanese language] banners posted after Nagasaki:

"Never has great Nippon known defeat. The present difficulty is but a stepping stone to the future. Rally around the imperial throne and fight on, for this is a one-hundred-year-war."

In a repeat of the Y2K bug, banks were storing balances as 32-bit signed integers. Asians found the bug when executing millions of rapid transfers during the Asian Financial Crisis.

First came the influx of East Asians studying technology at US Universities. Within 15 years, the last agent was in place. Two in each federal reserve bank and two in each of the transnational western banks: Wells Fargo, JP Morgan Chase, Citigroup, HSBC, RBS, UBS, Deutsche Bank and Credit Suisse.

  1. The first agent in each pair was responsible for Disaster Recovery for each institution. Organizations hadn't thought to separate backup from verification & recovery, the way accounting separates payables and receivables. All backup media were completely blank.
  2. Mission for the second agent in each pair was almost as simple. He was the Head Database Administrator for all financial systems. Even though each of the worlds major financial institutions had custom software for controlling transactions, the database layer was far more vulnerable. 20 different organizations, 17 different software packages, only 3 different databases, and only one way that $21,474,836.47 was represented in binary:
  3. 0111 1111 1111 1111 1111 1111 1111 1111


Thanksgiving morning, all 40 agents, plus embassy personnel boarded flights to East Asia. At 03:00 Eastern Time, on Black Friday, the cron jobs started running direct disk updates, bypassing all "database security", simultaneously updating necessary checksums. All account balances became $21,474,836.47.

Of course we know the result. The euphoria of the next several hours wasn't affected by small price hikes. It was the airlines that started the hyperinflation with their 100x price increases. Credit union and community bank members were hit hardest, since their systems were separate from the majors. Food riots and looting were everywhere. Gas, Heating Oil and Electricity utilities were cut as the treasury tried to slow the flow of gold out of the country.

On New Years Eve, east asian helicopters landed on all our international bases and carrier groups. Enlisted men were given raises and citizenship in the new East Asian Union. Officers became highly paid consultants.

Control over oil passed to East Asia.

Mike CarterApril 18, 2013 6:40 PM

Cyber Apocalypse
The North Koreans (acting as a front), in unison with the Chinese (who wish to keep their involvement secret), have hacked into all of our national defense and government financial servers. They now see, and control, all US military and finance operations worldwide. North Korea moves to take South Korea and unite the two countries; China moves to take the Diaoyu Islands from Japan and a large tract of islands from the Philippines. All US forces receive orders, on proper military encrypted channels with proper authentication, to leave the affected areas immediately. Strict communication silence is ordered. All US missile silos go offline. All US satellites covering these areas go dark. The US House of Representatives attempts to take immediate action – this move is filibustered. As our forces pull out and attacks begin, China announces that it is demanding payment in full of all US debt held by them. The Chinese then begin the electronic transfer of all US funds to banks controlled by the Chinese government. The President of the U.S. issues an indignant speech of protest. A global DDOS attack against the root of the Internet disables all Internet communications. A large block of senior US Senators immediately demands that we pass a law against such behavior. Japan and the Philippines attempt to defend themselves without aid. The UN General Assembly votes to create a committee to investigate – the move is blocked by China. The Secretary General of the U.N. issues a stern warning, which is promptly ignored. A team of engineers remotes into the Internet routers around China and North Korea, cutting off communications from those two countries. Once the routers go dark the DDOS attack stops. DOD and Treasury Department techs reboot all systems and bring everything back online. Our military is ordered back to their previous stations on full alert. The Chinese and North Korean delegations to the UN are informed of the changes on their situation – but they have no way to communicate with their leadership. A router engineer creates a tunnel to each county’s command and control center, enabling the delegations to inform the leaders that the plan has failed, reinforcements are on the way and the bank transfers have been reversed. The attacks are called off, the military is ordered to return to base and the banks temporarily closed.
China and North Korea deny any involvement.
The Senate and House of Representatives unanimously pass a bill outlawing the use of any computer on foreign soil against computers in the U.S. It includes $500,000,000.00 for security hardware, software, staffing and training, as well as a new department within the Department of Homeland Security. The president promptly signs the bill into law. A joint press conference is held declaring that the U.S. is leading the world in cyber security and our cyber borders are now safe from intrusion. Everyone has a great time at the celebratory party.
And we in IT carry on ….

Benjamin EllisonApril 19, 2013 8:49 AM

The bad actor – via a series of low & slow attacks targeting GIS-enabled computerized farming equipment, field monitors, and irrigation systems; and higher-visibility coordinated attacks against automated food storage facilities sensitive to vaccuum, humidity, and temperature; interruptions and delays in food transportation & shipping systems; and tampering with food safety databases – manages to cause a significant drop in US food production and lack of consumer confidence in the remainder of the food supply.
Strategic purchase orders placed prior to the attacks, poor sales, and wide-spread food recalls put the US in the position to either have many farmers and food oriented companies in jeopardy of going out of business or execute another large-scale bail-out program. Additionally, existing international cooperative agreements largely based on foodstuffs come into play as the US is forced to decide between conservatism and internal use of the food supply and reneging on the agreements, or sending food extra-nationally and causing greater civil unrest. The US reliance on imported food increases significantly, and the value of the US Dollar against other currencies drops across the globe.
Despite the government effort to paint these attacks as cyber terrorism, pundits label the ensuing scarcity and economic downturn somewhat ironically as The Black Horseman, a reference to Famine in the Book of Revelations. This initiative is helped along by the bad actor’s creative use of social media, turning it into a viral meme. These memes are picked up and exploited, resulting in even greater dissonance between the ‘war eagles’ and those who have a subtle but distinct reduction in feelings of nationalism and increase in campaigns for good samaritanism – including extra-national assistance.
Because effective counterattacks from the US would result in even more severe internal economic impacts (primarily low cost consumer goods and high-end electronics), the government retaliations (cyber, military, or economic) are limited to arm-waving and infiltration-without-activation.
The end of the movie may seem a bit anti-climactic… there is no catastrophic Armageddon, just a gradual feeling of hopelessness as the US economy is slowly consumed and replaced (e.g. “Invasion of the Body Snatchers”).

Simon GirouxApril 19, 2013 10:02 AM

Tyler Durden's back...

M. Obama on TV: Today, the nightmare in which the US has slipped in has been identified. What was a strange coincidence when millions of clients flew McDonalds at once, then a week later when millions of commuters starting to cry for no reason, and finally with last week’s emergency shutdown of US financial system after millions of panicked citizens tried to withdraw their money. Innocent addictive games, Angry Birds, Temple Run and Plants vs Zombies, has been sublimely suggesting behaviours.

Riaan de VilliersApril 19, 2013 1:45 PM

The film opens with three seemingly unrelated events.

A professor at MIT specializing in Cryptography is found dead in his home. Police suspects it was a botched burglary attempt.

A hacker going by the online name of _M0le_ is found dead in Bucharest from a heroin overdose. He has been bragging to his friends that he has found Zero Day exploits in not only Windows but also in Macintosh and, even more unlikely, the Unix system. The police do not suspect foul play since he was a known drug user.

At a high security facility in South Africa panic breaks out as a gas explosion rocks the crowed cafeteria. To make matters worse a bomb threat is phoned in at the same time. The normal strict security protocols are out the window as chaos reigns. While people rush to safety an engineer casually walks out with a USB stick hidden in his clothes. He was working on a top secret project in conjunction with the US Military.

The scene now moves a year into the future to the tiny African nation Rwanda. Rwanda has been appealing to the USA for help, their neighboring country Congo has been acting aggressively towards them ever since an enormous deposit of the ultra-rare metal Columbite–tantalite has been found in a remote part of the country.

Since Columbite–tantalite is used in a microchip used by the USA military, the USA is only too happy to help and is now deploying troops in Rwanda to keep the aggressors at bay.

Then a WORM starts wreaking havoc on the military’s networks. It seems the WORM was programmed to stay dormant and spread as far as possible. On a certain day the WORM was programmed to start rampaging and destroy as much as it could. As military networks and communications shut down the operator could have sworn that the last message he heard on the radio was the ground force appealing for help – they were being attacked by Rwandan, Congolese and Syrian troops.

The WORM also leaked out on the Internet and is now tearing down servers and computers all over the Internet. As communications and business shut down and the world goes darker, panic starts to spread across the globe. News is now replaced with rumors and wild speculation.

CIA agent Jack Bannister has been tracking a suspicious payment from a bank in Syria to Bucharest. He found evidence that links this payment to the death of a hacker a year ago and he also suspects that this payment is linked to another one that was made to a South African engineer. He is now following a clue that will take him to the home of the murdered MIT professor.

As terror takes hold across the world, Jack Bannister is unknowingly stumbling straight into the biggest terrorist plot in history! And it is only the beginning…

Will he be able to unravel the clues in time or will this sinister terrorist group do enough damage to send the world back to the dark ages?

Moshe YudkowskyApril 19, 2013 3:52 PM

George worked at Streets and San in downtown Chicago; he downloaded a spreadsheet from his condo association in Florida. Irv worked at Stygian Instruments; he used his business laptop to read an equipment manual he received from a vendor. Janice of DAH Chemicals was middle-aged, canny, cautious, and a widow; one day she loaned her wifi-enabled cellphone to a charming man her age she met at the coffee shop.

Months later, investigators pieced together the timeline.

On June 1st the Chicago water department sent their order for water-treatment chemicals to DAH.

On June 15, Ivr from Stygian stopped by the Chicago water department with his laptop to verify and recalibrate as necessary the automated chemical test equipment; as the tech, he had access to the "backdoor" network into the instruments and control stations.

A week later the shift supervisor at DAH Chemicals entered commands to turn on the pumps and switch the contents of tank A-39 to a waiting tanker; the displays, log outputs, and meters appeared correct, but the actual contents came from tank A-38, which was listed in the records as a tank for test batch, and unlike tank A-39, had not been inspected.

On July 2nd, late Friday afternoon, workers pumped the contents of the tanker into the Chicago water treatment plant's holding tank D. Their instruments detected nothing wrong with the contents. They carefully marked tank D as "untested" anyway in the computer system, not to be used until verified by a chemist.

At about 2 AM July 4th, on a hot night, shift workers entered commands to top off reservoirs by pulling chemicals from tank A. The graphics, instruments, meters, value lights, and flow diagrams all showed fluid leaving A for the reservoirs. The chemical sensors at the reservoirs showed all clear – expected concentrations, no contaminants.

That morning people took their showers, drank their coffee, made formula for their babies, and watered their lawns while their kids played in the spray.

Mass, indiscriminate poisoning takes finesse and careful planning. Too large of a dose and babies will die early and set off alarms; too little and many will escape unharmed. The terrorists managed to find the right balance. By late July 4th, known ever after as "Death Day," a significant fraction of the city's residents were ill, and by morning most of them were dead.

Author's note: I didn't enter prior contests because I considered them eminently do-able. My favorite movie-plot scenario -- blocking the streets with cars, using arson and snipers to attack the populace -- was implemented in Mexico several years ago. I still won't enter those contests.

But cyberwar? This level of speak-phishing? I think not.

That's not saber-rattling you're hearing from the Pentagon; it's the sound of fingernails scratching, desperately scrabbling for funding. Old hands will recognize the drill from the 1990's, when military reductions produced a sudden concern at the NRO (of all places) in the dangers of Internet hacking.

Tony StewartApril 20, 2013 11:05 AM

I like Chris Zweber • April 4, 2013 2:47 PM Movie plots based on Canadian medical high tech solution based company Medtronics.

Monsanto and Big Pharma are sources of terror and devastation that they draw yawns. 21st century drama relies on real terror whereby the Iranian crack programmer, who could get even with pretensive authority and cracking any certificates of authority, even creating valid Certs to authenticate webpages to mimic a Google search page, the god of answers for any personal question on the web. The first result is your Web friendly mobile device sends commands to sacral nerve stimulator and pacemaker to wreak havoc with your bowel movements and hear rate, just from having used Google on your mobile web browser..

C UptonApril 21, 2013 11:32 AM

They’ve been quietly phishing and brute forcing accounts for nearly two years; green Monday is almost here.

Some people have changed their passwords by now, no doubt. But, hundreds of thousands haven’t. The cyber terrorists are in the final preparation phase, writing scripts that will login to all of these accounts in very quick succession.

The first wave of scripts will login to email accounts, and send the following email to everyone in that user’s contact list, “dont call or text me or the police they will kill me go to cvs and pickup the red phone, ask moneygram rep to make $500 deposit into the following account 4403 4490 233. Then call 555-555-5555 and they will release me. no police or i will die please help”

Then those scripts will change the recovery email address and/or cell phone number and change the password for the email accounts.

Where those accounts are gmail accounts, they will also google voice to dial 911 and play a prerecorded file with difficult to hear voices and muffled sounds. These files are intended to sound like something dangerous might be happening and keep the operator on the line as long as possible. Because hundreds of thousands of these calls are being made, the 911 lines will be jammed for legitimate calls.

The second wave of scripts will login to all social media accounts, including many belonging to major media outlets and journalists, and change the passwords so people cannot access those accounts to send or receive messages. The script will also change the contact email address to an inaccessible one.

Every time someone calls the 555-555-5555 number, the voice (a recording) simply says, “The ransom just went up. Deposit another $500 and then call back” and hangs up.

All of the moneygram transfers are heading to an account that is setup to buy bitcoins through a third party, ensuring all of the money is untraceable once the third party has deposited the bitcoins.

David RuizApril 22, 2013 9:15 AM

A leader of a drug cartel was killed near a beach by policy forces.The successor, Ramon promises revenge against the political leaders that launch a war against the cartel. But this time, he will use other means. The cartel starts to develop a cyber weapon called the cyberpoison pill. This is a software targeted to their political enemies. This malware is targeted to electronic health records(EHR).This piece of software alters the content of EHR in order to induce medical errors that may cause fatalities. This malware sends to a server key personal info of the victim and in the server, a doctor hired by mafia suggests small changes to the EHR. After that, the malware retrieves the reply from the server and updates accordingly the EHR.

AlexKApril 22, 2013 10:19 AM

A bunch of evil chaps start DDoSsing medical MRI and X-ray devices, causing them to switch into fail-safe maintenance mode. After that, teams of lookalike technicians visit hospitals to retrieve the nuclear material, starting construction of a bigass atomic bomb and threatening the state of Ohio (why? Because the aptly named capital 'Columbus') with it. CyberSWAT teams are hammering at their keyboards, trying to evade the DDoS attacks with specailly-crafted ICMP packets while the countdown clocks are ticking.

PatApril 23, 2013 1:19 AM

Protagonist invests massively in highly leveraged gold derivatives. Then using an assortment of zero-day exploits purchased from global hacking groups and other criminal organizations, a global attack is launched on the top 1000 financial blogs and investments sites (mostly based on CM software such as Joomla, Drupal, WordPress etc), publishing false and highly alarming bearish information. At the same time a DDOS attack is launched on any target that could provide sanity to the situation and could not be hacked. Stock market collapses as gold return to its bubble as safe harbor. Profit.

name.withheld.for.obvious.reasonsApril 23, 2013 7:21 PM

The report researcher/author spent a short career serving as the Information
Technology engineering lead at a moderate electrical generation facility in
the state of California from 2005 to 2011. As an engineering professional; a
background in electronic engineering, operating system development, systems
engineering, and as a research analyst with IBM; the author's broad background provides a useful template to appraise the state of critical infrastructure systems. The report became necessary, not by the will of the author but by the lack of integrity and political efficacy in addressing the issues, which, having the force of political power, will be a miscarriage of action and justice instead of properly addressing the stated issues and goals. One only needs to understand the global network computing
infrastructure and it's history from a design, implementation, sociological,
and physiological perspective to become concerned. When technical leaders
have been asking for consideration regarding issues of digital network
trust, confidentiality, integrity, and reliability only to repeatedly be dogged by mindless executive management one has to wonder, "What has changed?" The short answer, opportunity-and that's opportunity spelled with a few $$$.

Big business; SAIC (Boeing), Lockheed Martin, and Microsoft along with the
Pentagon and the federal government have fallen in love-meet my new boyfriend "Big Data". He's special! Backed by recalcitrant and draconian new
federal laws, "Big Data" can make changes that "Just weren't popular before, it's all about 'Social Media' don't ya know!" says the new and improved
CEO's of the corporate gentry. The privileged class(es) have made a calculation or two on a silicon tablet-your name's on it (along with your
SSN, DOB, DMV, IRS, E-Mail, Phone Calls, Bank Accounts, and blood tests-oh,
and you need to return that video to netflix) and it looks like they have a
way to cash in on you! Not only are you commoditized, but small business and
other players are at real risk of being swallowed whole by this new world
order. The opportunity and the tools to make it happen are being coalesced
around an already stewing caldron of riches and rape. Never has the
alignment of government (law), the military (force), and the means (moneyed
corporations) had such a useful and helpful impact on this new three-way
friendship. With all the issues facing the citizenry; the de-industrialization, de-intellectual, and dumbing down of the U.S society; the masters believe it has become increasing necessary to find solutions that offer "A way out!" The way out is "THROUGH YOU!" Uncle Sam really does want you, well, not the vessel.

withheldApril 24, 2013 7:26 AM

CYBER ZOMBIE APOCALYPSE AKA GLOBAL CYBER-PSYCHIATRIC-BREAKDOWN-PANDEMIC

During the year 2012, sporadic incidents of extreme violence and psychotic episodes were seen across the United States and Russia, where apparently normal people suddenly began attacking innocent civilians in the streets, naked, wide-eyed and snarling, eating off the faces of their victims and fighting off police officers with their bare hands despite being tazered multiple times.

The media attributed these incidents to the mysterious unidentified, uncontrolled drugs called 'Bath-Salts' which had been found on sale in these countries on the internet, and those people who became violent and murderous were branded 'Bath-Salts Zombies'

in 2013, the number of these incidents began to grow to startling proportions, resulting in widespread panic and chaos among urban populations across the globe. Investigators soon realised that the majority of these 'zombie breakdown' cases were not linked to drug use atall, and the only common factor linking all these cases was that each of these screaming, naked, flesh eating lunatics were heavy computer users.

Forensic investigation of the hardware of these users revealed the presence of a sophisticated, never before seen piece of malware, built on the skeleton of the Gauss malware and carrying a highly encrypted payload.

As cities across the planet began to fall into unmitigated chaos, and thousands of people lost their lives every month, the race to decipher the payload of this
virus became a matter of priority for every government in the world, and after pooling the resources of their most talented and experienced cryptographers finally the payload was decoded in late 2013.

What they found terrified them. The payload was _psychological_ in nature.

The malware was designed to stay resident on the target computer, and
insert subliminal messages into every piece of media present on or streamed to the computer, in realtime, carrying messages of violence, hate and gore, with the effect that after daily exposure to regular computer activity, the user of the system would suffer a psychological trauma culminating in sending them screaming, naked, into the streets to fight and eat anyone nearby.

Vendors are currently working on a patch.

SisyphusApril 27, 2013 1:33 PM


- rogue nation infiltrates aircraft maintenence services firm

- installs backdoor remote control software on all commercial aircraft
that come through the shop.

- also target pilots. fabricate evidence that there is a secret cabal
of suicidal chinese airline pilots pledged to destroy the Communist
Party of China for past injustices.

- 12 flights appear to be hijacked simultaneously by their own pilots and
flown at political targets. when it happens again two weeks later total
chaos erupts

- the fictitious cabal unravels, Chinese discover evidence pointing to
a CIA operation to destabilize China because America wants to erase
debt.

- a handsome american military man and a pretty chinese intelligence
operative break every rule in the book to cooperate and treasonously
share state secrets, because they're in love and they couldn't bear
their countries to go to war.

- they discover the whole thing was fabricated by Taiwan

- America and China team up and raze the island of Taiwan. happy ending.

tqftApril 29, 2013 7:58 AM

Finally it happens - cyber-security you can trust.
A bunch of hackers do something useful and provide a free and open-source anti-virus system that not only works on Windows (all flavours XP & up) but patches various design holes in Windows and provides tools for easy to use encryption and secure communication.

So what can a government do except smile? Pass laws banning it. Make ISPs cut people off who are using it. Send out internet/computer inspectors to suspected evangelical culprits.

Of course our hardy heroes sidestep the government goons with a livecd & dban. With a funky soundtrack & a love interest angle.

Claus WApril 29, 2013 3:07 PM

The government of CountryX has gathered its smartest scientists to develop a new cyber war strategy against CountryY, CountryX's biggest rival on the world economic stage. The cyber war business has become increasingly difficult, as CountryY has eventually succeeded in effectively protecting the neuralgic points of its infrastructure: CountryY's government offices, military, financial networks and power grids are virtually unbreakable. CountryX's experts have therefore devised a new three-stage strategy aiming to undermine the daily-life efficiency of CountryY's population and thereby to ultimately break CountryY's economic dominance:


  • Stage 1: Anarchic appliances
    Stage 1 tackles widespread internet-connected household appliances with fragile security mechanisms. An increase of the average freezer temperature by a few degrees provokes massive food-poisoning epidemics caused by spoiled food. The manipulation of automatic blind openers and alarm clocks makes millions of CountryYians oversleep on a regular basis. Replay attacks on radio and television devices makes the people of CountryY mistake Mondays for Sundays. Used in combination and skillfully timed, the measures result in a substantial decline of CountryY's workforce performance.

  • Stage 2: Return to Sender
    Stage 2 targets weakly authenticated order processes for goods and services. Through fake calls, manipulated email and website orders, CountryX triggers a flood of unrequested pizza deliveries, emergency plumber services and unclaimed restaurant reservations, generating a damage of several billion CYE (CountryYian escudos). When the fake-to-real ratio reaches 9:1, CountryY's fire and police departments decide to respond to emergency calls only after identification by biometrical means.

  • Stage 3: Scent Threats
    Stage 3, the highpoint of CountryX's strategy, capitalizes on a recently discovered method to remotely modify the chemical composition of customizable perfume dispensers available in luxury sedans. A special mixture leads to drivers' immediate dizziness, giving them barely enough time to abruptly stop the vehicle. Applied to maximum effectiveness on major crossroads and freeways, the traffic in CountryY's economic centers is brought to a complete standstill at CountryX's will.

The implementation of CountryX's strategy has a vast effect on CountryY's population and deeply shatters the nation's confidence in its technological supremacy. Since the originator of the attacks cannot be clearly identified, CountryY's government enacts comprehensive legislation regulating cross-border data exchange and triples budgets to develop strategies for advanced cyber warfare.

To be continued in episode 2.

Hiram K. HackenbackerApril 29, 2013 6:53 PM

A slightly brute-force cyber attack: North Korea triggers Kessler Syndrome in LEO. Kwangmyŏngsŏng-3 Unit 2 was a failure, tumbling uncontrollably in it's orbit? Not so! What appears to be a satellite is really a big ball of metal chunks and high explosive, wrapped in some gold foil with fake solar panels attached. When triggered, the fragments begin to sweep it's orbit, and any intersecting, with debris. Whenever this debris hits another satellite, it creates a new debris cloud, spreading the carnage. Eventually, Low Earth Orbit is cleared of functional satellites, leaving only an impenetrable cloud of deadly hypervelocity fragments. GPS satellites are swept from the sky, every device relying on their location data, and more importantly timing data, fails worldwide. Weather observation satellites are lost, making prediction of storm paths significantly harder. Geostationary communications satellites survive, but cannot be replaced once they fail. And the swarm of metallic debris makes picking up their signals much harder; satellite TV and broadband links fail.

Summary: NK hard cyber-attack destroys the worlds satellite infrastructure.

Joshua BruleApril 29, 2013 9:13 PM

By 2015, lower manufacturing costs have allowed CubeSats and other miniaturized satellites to become the Next Big Thing (TM) in academia. Grant after grant, study after study... every lab wants to put something in space! Even hobbyists are getting in on the action.

One disgruntled CS grad student (whose funding was cut as part of the university's CubeSat initiative) notices that while the sensors on board the miniature satellites are generally state of the art, the security on the command links is terrible. He entertains the notion of blackmailing the various CubeSat projects, messing with their data, or even just crashing them into the ground, until he realizes there is only one *obvious* choice...

Three weeks after the latest series of launches, 28 Iridium satellites are destroyed in collisions with university CubeSats. Satphones stop working, investigators scramble to determine who is responsible and the universities involved prepare to face a massive lawsuit.

In the midst of the chaos, the CS grad student quietly leaves the department and retires having just made millions by short selling Iridium stock.

Kevin P. KilburnApril 30, 2013 9:26 AM

In the decade following a series of cyber-attacks worldwide that cost the United Sates Government, its industries, and citizens billions, the USA has become one of the most digitally secure countries in the world. The remnants of private industry leadership and the vast majority of the population readily accepted the Government's "Phoenix Act" - a comprehensive security initiative including network hardening, proprietary top-secret encryption, electronic monitoring, a loss of privacy, and the creation of the Government Monitoring Element, or GME.

The façade of security is soon shattered when a 10-kiloton improvised nuclear device is detonated in Chicago. As local, state, and federal emergency responders scramble to contain the situation and rescue survivors, a wave of cyber-attacks hits the US beginning with SCADA industrial control systems. It is believed that these initial attacks came from a formerly dormant worm written into the control systems tied into the GME for years.

Several key facilities, including oil refineries and power plants go offline. The Emergency Alert System broadcasts for only a few minutes until it falls silent, leaving Americans panicked and quickly losing faith in their government. Internet2 communications fail rapidly, the firewalls left wide-open, and the only reliable communications are short-range radio systems.

US Cyber Command scrambles its best cyber warriors to determine the source of the ongoing attacks, which at first seem to be originating from Iran and later China. It's believed that they are opportunistic attempts from nation states after the NUCDET in Chicago, but the cyber warriors discover that it's far worse when they find the source -- Omaha, Nebraska -- the home of the Government Monitoring Element.

But by then, the real attacks have begun. Commercial aircraft, their autopilots long tied into the GME as an emergency hijack precaution, begin converging onto Washington, DC – toward the White House and other government offices. The Air Force scrambles all available fighters to shoot down any aircraft entering the Washington DC No Fly Zone, but several crash shortly after takeoff. The GPS satellites have been rendered inoperable, their signals completely unusable. Fighters with visual contact engage a Boeing 747 - 416 Americans perish in the fireball.

The President was en route to a 9/11 memorial ceremony when the NUCDET destroyed Chicago. Air Force One is presumed still airborne, but has been out of communications for nearly an hour.

Felix GartsmanApril 30, 2013 10:06 AM

Early morning, air traffic controller sits in a small airport air control tower. Suddenly an alert goes off indicating a 7500 hijacking code is being transmitted by an incoming plane. Air force dispatches jets to investigate and all seems normal, concluding this was a malfunction.
Several months later, again 7500 hijacking code is being transmitted. But this time it's not one plane, there are hundreds of potential hijackings. It seems the central coordination hijacking monitoring system went crazy. The people responsible believe it's a bug, because hundreds of concurrent hijackings are highly unlikely.
While the system is being diagnosed, a 747 Jumbo Jet crashes into the statue of liberty breaking it in half. A breach is discovered in the system firewall, pointing to a cyber-attack that fabricates bogus hijack code transmissions. The massive, distributed attack comes from multiple origins: Iran, North Korea, Russia, and China. Is a foreign power involved or the terrorists attempt to start a war as a byproduct?
The situation turns into a full scale chaos when no one knows which planes were actually hijacked. The heart breaking choice of shooting down a plane full of innocent passengers, versus allowing it to crash into a nuclear power plant, a water levy, or an office tower is multiplied hundreds of times without any time to think. Unless the cyber-attack is repelled and the bogus hijack code transmissions are identified, no good solution exists.

Oscar G.April 30, 2013 12:06 PM

The door slammed open. A cadet came running in. He promptly gave the chief officer the report which he had on his left hand. A quick look at the graphs was all that it took to understand the content. “For crying out loud, are we being attacked by every country in the world?!”.

Today, America woke up to find out that every major communication service in the US was down, the complete backbone of society was no longer there to sustain it... telephone providers, ISPs, cellular phone networks, television, radio... outside from military out-of-band infrastructure, everything had collapsed. A denial of service of an unprecedented magnitude. A very well structured attack which took us by surprise. Bringing down a specific target is something that a bunch of teenagers can do from their bedrooms. But to bring down the communication infrastructure of a country, it was clearly not the work of amateurs.

Another cadet rushed in through the door. He handed in an external harddrive. “It contains more samples of malware obtained through international intelligence”, he said while we downloaded the content into our forensics servers. What followed was complete silence in the room, except for the noise of people furiously blasting at keyboards as everyone continued working.

The phone rang twice. Everyone in the room stared at it. It took the one in charge a second to get the courage to answer. Not often does one receive a call from the president of the USA, and under this circumstances, not many would like to. After the most intense, caffeine and stress fueled night of our life, the quality of work that our team had performed was certainly incomparable, but the news the chief had to deliver couldn't be farther from good.

“Mr. President, preliminary results have been confirmed.” he bit his lips as he made a small pause “It is a virus, sir. ...a very sophisticated virus”. He went on to describe it, as clear and simple as he could, albeit the complex and technical nature of the problem. “It is composed of many different software elements which were downloaded into every device with an internet connection: cellphones, tablets, PC's, book readers... they look no different than a browser cookie. These pieces formed a puzzle which laid dormant until the final piece was placed” he took a brief pause and continued “this system was originally intended to be used to spy on anyone in the planet, the only thing needed to activate it was the final piece and then one would have complete control over any device...”. “We still don't know how it all got triggered at the same time...”

The question which he had been trying to avoid came at last. The chief's voice almost choked as he answered: “It was... us, sir... I have confirmed with the NSA... it is our own weapon and it has been turned against us”.

EdwardApril 30, 2013 6:03 PM

Premise: An accidental "Outbreak" of a secret military cyberweapon in multiple countries...

... as in "Outbreak" w/ a global twist.

... Whether they impact actual weapon systems that rely on software whether networked or not... or on dual-impact industrial systems like SCADA or telecommunications... or on 'personal' systems like banking and medical information and control systems, the hard part would be to make something as dramatic and tangible as a viral hemorrhagic fever and entire cities in physical quarantine (though an innundation of reports of missing nukes or inexplicable chemical plant accident alerts might suffice even if proven to be false alarms... initially).

... The international twist would come from a small cohort of 'experts' from different countries (US, China, Russia, France, Israel, etc.?) who had met at a conference in the early 90's where they contribute to discussion of the potential 'threat' as an intellectual exercise... and some of whom go on to careers on both "defense" and "offense" in both the public and private sectors of their respective countries...

... but was it an accident during a 'training exercise', a malevolent act for personal gain, or a misguided effort to teach a cautionary lesson that gets out of hand... or some unforeseen (and unforeseeable?) combination of all of the above?

Note: I have held off submitting this both because I believe "cyberwarfare" is as much a misnomer as is any consideration of the military utility of chemical and biological weapons... beyond deterrence, of course, though it's not clear the notion is applicable after having read the plot offered just above by the commentator "Oscar G.". It is frankly similar but for the implied deliberate intent to do harm. I then saw your post on "Pinging the Entire Internet" and decided to go ahead... because I believe the ultimate large-scale risk from "cyberweapons" will come from the inadvertent interation of both malicious intent, operational sloppiness, and unforeseeable dynamics between both...

Fwiw, I was contacted just a few weeks ago by an old colleague in Europe about a mission-critical data collection and analysis application that my long-defunct firm wrote in the late 90's and that is, apparently, still in use even though most of the underlying software tools and the companies that created them are either out-of-existence or totally moribund. It's not in a military context but rather in the pharmaceutical realm, but the issues are still obvious and similar...

... and while the silly movie "Space Cowboys" comes to mind, it is perfectly true that both the US and Russia have had great difficulties retaining the knowledge inherent in many of the "old" weapon systems... where "old" can be as little as a decade or, in the case of nuclear warheads, go back many decades in systems that are still in operational deployments.

PS: I just thought of a title for Oscar G.'s offering: "OOPs"...

Dan WolffMay 1, 2013 12:43 AM

Teenage friends making out in car. Door shuts, girl walks toward house. Same girl, early college age, appearing distressed, in pub. Same girl's photo, her open casket, being lowered. Unsatisifed look on male lead's face. Expression suggests it wasn't necessary; too bad people suck at thinking.

Male lead, college burnout, visualizing streams of light while consuming cannabis, preparing designer materials. Snuffs large quantity of unsampled white powder, nearly ODing, moderate visions. Shot of male lead in underground dungeon-looking tunnel of apartment building, tripping acid, see strong vision of simple interface for the next wave in technology. Lead walks to large body of water, music turns warm.

Present day: loud laptop foot rubs on table, lights brighten, high-end conference room and lead male visible, slightly older, clean cut now, in meeting. His twosome had hacked together the first version. Control is manual, but the connection with the mind is certainly there. $100K in suitcase from Asian restaurant funds a clandestine foreign agent who overhead conversation regarding meeting in prior scene. The duo hires an Asian programmer near the beach to hook up the clandestines' AI capability. Coding frenzy and partying. Blackout. Software done. Unsure what it will do, it's turned on.

Initial venture surprisingly becomes a true Turing-complete generalized Artificial Intelligence system. NP-hard solved parties.

GMO business executives into reclusion and hanging themselves. New hemp farm businesses thrive. The top 6 banks implode. Lobby, NY & Chicago streets, suits jumping out windows. Bitcoin goes mainstream. Parking lot confrontation with Chinese/American double-agent with fake job at Baidu artifial intelligence in Mountain View. Internet president wins next election. Cheney has epiphany and is accepted as a proponent of truth and liberty. The rightful revolutionaries in thirld world countries overcome their colluding opponents. Martial law enforcers lay down weapons worldwide, no longer driven. Violence ends shortly after Western imperialism meaningfully ceases. Spirituality unites Christians and Muslims.

Male lead starts experiencing audible magnetic brain communication, once briefly during the day then stronger at night—intermittent gray noise, pulses, beeps, 1.5-word phrases. Questions own sanity, find evidence of such devices' use by intelligence agents. Waking up, access to the breakthrough site is blocked everywhere. Days later all communication networks go down. Extreme weather through the roof. Huge fuckin' firefight as last martyrs on in all camps exchange tactics.

Lead bumps into a cafe patron with a surprisingly unpopular appratus for decentralized global wireless communication. Plugging in upgrades all ethernet to aethernet. Free internet granted on wireless aethernet with full AI, effectiveley finishing what was started in the 60s.

Zoom out from earth as time accelerates over 10 seconds with animation toward peaceful, non-carbon-economy, autonomous-production, new renaissance on Earth. Looks almost like it goes back in time instead of forward, but then we zoom rapidly in, revealing modern Eden. Keep zooming below Earth's surface, rapidly through layers to liquid iron core. Notice after a few seconds it's pulsing gently, then stronger, as the dance music increases and the lights go on.

DanielMay 1, 2013 1:29 AM

It was exactly 1 year before the Second Great Depression officially began. Bennett and Jesse were sitting in their university's computer lab, finishing off their entries into the Underhanded C competition.

The Underhanded C competition is a contest to 'write innocent-looking C code implementing malicious behavior'.

That day Jesse gets a phone call. Her grandparents house, the one where she always had always celebrated her birthday, has been foreclosed on.

Jesse and Bennett speak about how unfair the system is; for her grandmother to be punished while the government bails out the banks. They decide to devote their lives to taking down wall street and the american system of government.

They'll use their computer science degrees to get direct access to the stock market's source code. They will make it look like the Chinese were at fault.

They will plant the bug in such a subtle way that no one will even suspect them until the market has crashed and it is far too late to undo the damage.

Bennett interviews for a job at the Not Real Stock Exchange. For a bright computer science graduate, getting hired there was easy. He asks to be placed on the operations and deployment team.

Jesse interviews at "Not Real Operating System"; the operating system that runs the exchange.

She places the bug in the internationalization code; where it is surrounded by Chinese characters.

Bennett writes a bug into the Stock Exchange market making software. It will only trigger when the market receives a very particular set of orders. It only triggers on a certain version of "Not Real Operating System", the same one that Jesse put a bug in.

It flies through internal code reviews.

October 20th, 2014:
One week before President Obama is scheduled to travel in China to discuss cyber-security and trade relations.

Jesse's friend in London sends a particular series of buy and sell orders to the Not Real Stock Exchange.

Unknown to anyone except Jesse and Bennett; the market starts matching orders that were never placed.

Prices begin to fluctuate. Social Corp's stock grows by 10%; Defendor's price drops by 11%, AG's shoots up by 10%.

Market circuit breakers are triggered for over 10 different stocks, temporarily halting trading.

The DOW closes down 331.2 points.

Algorithmic traders start to notice odd error codes coming from the market. Messages that look like they are in Chinese.

Jesse triggers another crash every day for the next week.

Rumors start to spread that China is responsible for the market crashes.

The president makes a speech promising that if the country has been attacked it would respond decisively.

The next day Bennett unleashes phase 2. Bennett uses a botnet to DDOS several Chinese government websites. It is clear the attack originated in the US.

The next day things spiral out of control. The Chinese government decides to send a message to the US; a massive Chinese based DDOS attack which cripples Facebook and Google.

The President has no choice but to respond. US generals pointed out that while China was on equal cyber footing, the US was still militarily stronger. They should move an aircraft carrier closer to China's shore. Just as a show of strength.

As markets around the world were crashing, a cyberwar was about to become a real one.

EMay 2, 2013 1:26 PM

Chinese cyberterrorists hack satellites and use them as missiles. Deorbiting them in a coordinated attack on US landmarks and cities.

Think the movie Armegeddon with a malicious cyberterrorist group guiding the comets.

timMay 7, 2013 8:56 AM

Evil hackers build a massive ‘big data’ system that through a series of complicated attacks is populated with all the personal data being collected about us on the web. Sites you visit, things you buy, people you talk to, everything you don’t want everyone else to know.
They then begin to blackmail everyone of power around the globe, CEO’s and boards of all the large companies, presidents, prime ministers, congress members, parliament members, every publicly elected official that isn’t a part of their evil plot has their secrets put on public display in a way to make people think there government is corrupted.
As these leaders are removed / impeached / forced from office they are replaced by the only people that have ‘clean’ records, people associated with the Evil hackers, in the time of 1 year most of the powerful positions in all the ‘free’ countries have been taken over.
Laws start to change, freedoms start to become repressed, the world starts to change war seems to loom on every front, the people are scared and the Evil hackers are pulling all the strings.
There are a few that begin to see odd packets on the internet and begin piecing together what’s happening. As they come together to share what they know a race against time begins to uncover the truth, expose those responsible and stay alive before there is on one left with the power to help them.

Major VariolaMay 8, 2013 11:42 AM

China decides to accept Taiwan back with extreme prejudice. In addition, and purely coincidentally, the "Kessler syndrome" had broken out the week before and many LEO satellites were out.

During a "transition time" fabs' output no longer exported. Fabs made half the capacity used by US.

But, after a little re-education, the ICs start coming out again..

Chris DornerMay 8, 2013 12:22 PM

A telco employee installing equiptment learns that Israel has been controlling senators via the simple blackmail of backdoors and politicians' appetite for extramarital sex. When he tries to bring this to national attention, he ends up getting a very nice offer by what turns out to be the NSA... to stay quiet.. thereby uncovering an even bigger conspiracy..

MMay 8, 2013 7:46 PM

Army of Darkness

A well funded terrorist entity enlists a group of elite hackers to pilfer DNA data from every law enforcement agency around the globe. This same team is then able to compromise top research institutions specializing in the perfection of human cloning, exfiltrating enough information to allow rogue scientists to recreate previous human life.

The DNA information from the most prolific serial killers the world has ever known is then utilized to create an Army of Darkness ... Thousands of crafted killers unleashed on society with no hope of stopping them all.

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