Cyber War: How vulnerable are we?

Saw this book review on the Wall Street Journal website earlier this morning: “Tinker, Taylor, Soldier, Hacker” by Glenn Harlan Reynolds.  He reviews the book “Cyber War: The Next Threat to National Security and What to Do About It” by Richard Clarke and Robert Knake.

Mr. Clarke annoyed me during the 9/11 blame game for being opportunistic, though I’m ready to admit that the fault may have been mine for too readily holding a false impression — I can’t say.  However, the vulnerability of American society to attacks on our networks is, I believe, remarkable, and so I am quite interested in what the book has to say.  As Mr. Reynolds says in his review, “[I]n a cyberwar, first-strike capability is an enormous advantage. The instigator can launch an attack before the targeted country has raised its defenses or disconnected vital services from the Internet altogether. The targeted country may be damaged so badly that it cannot respond in kind, and a weaker response would probably meet a well-prepared defense.”

Our electronic infrastructure is vulnerable in so many ways…  Extreme solar activity (though nothing to do with inaccurately-called-Mayan 2012 stuff, thank you very much!), EMP burst above the United States, cyber war — it’s all rather mind-boggling.

God says that if we do not repent, He will break the pride of our power (Leviticus 26:19).  Reducing one of the world’s most technologically advanced nations to a state of technology equivalent to the stone age might do the trick.

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5 thoughts on “Cyber War: How vulnerable are we?

  1. Hi Mr. Smith,

    By chance I stumbled across another verse that refers to “the pride of your power” (the phrase in Hebrew is identical):

    (Ezekiel 24:21 RSV) Say to the house of Israel, Thus says the Lord GOD: Behold, I will profane my sanctuary, the pride of your power, the delight of your eyes, and the desire of your soul; and your sons and your daughters whom you left behind shall fall by the sword.

    No other verse has that exact wording. John Gill had this comment about Leviticus 26:19:

    Lev 26:19 And I will break the pride of your power,…. Which the Targum of Jonathan and Jarchi interpret of the sanctuary, which they were proud of, trusted in, and boasted of; but was broke or destroyed, first by Nebuchadnezzar, then by the Romans: but it may rather signify their country, the glory of all lands for its fruitfulness, which for their sins should become barren, as follows; or the multitude of their forces, and the strength of their mighty men of war, in which they put their confidence; it may take in everything, civil and ecclesiastical, they prided themselves with, and had their dependence on, thinking themselves safe on account of them, but should be broken to shivers, and be of no service to them: (…)

    Jacob’s prophecy about Reuben doesn’t use precisely the same wording, but the sense may illustrate:

    (Genesis 49:3 RSV) Reuben, you are my first-born, my might, and the first fruits of my strength, pre-eminent in pride and pre-eminent in power.
    (Genesis 49:4 RSV) Unstable as water, you shall not have pre-eminence because you went up to your father’s bed; then you defiled it–you went up to my couch!

  2. Norbert

    If you look at fairly recent history and how the events shaped the predominate nations from the first world war to the second, it could be said it’s much easier to break a nation’s power than it is their pride.

    After WWI Germans greeted their defeated armies back as their soldiers marched home, leaving the population wondering why they lost in the first place. Even though all sides suffered horrific loses and most historians would admit the seeds of the second were sown because of the first. Where Germany’s pride was not broken having lost millions of young men in bloodshed, not even with the economic collapse of the Great Depression that followed kept pride out of the picture. But it certainly gave fertile ground for the growth of dramatic world wide changes in civil and ecclesiastical matters.

    There are distinct things that happen to shape world events, they don’t just happen out of the blue. The catch is most people aren’t aware of them as they occur, nor do those catastrophic events necessarily progress in a manner a person might think they should. “The war to end all wars”, Woodrow Wilson.

    As mind boggling world events are and how they’re relating to prophecy can be, whether or not a person will live to see them happen, I have always found a timelessness and a present urgency in these words today.

    …. “Come out of her, my people”… (Rev 18:4)

  3. Greetings Norbert (and if I may, Mr. Smith),

    In the light of the Hebrew wording, and of history too, I’d advise not inadvertently “striving over words” here. Human pride goes deeper than that part of it generated by human power. You can break human power, and with it the pride going with that power (including, for example, the Israelites’ pride in their chosen status as shown by the Abrahamic blessings on their produce and on their Temple, or the Assyrians’ and the Germans’ pride in their manifest destiny as the Master Race as shown by their sheer brilliance), without breaking the deeper levels of human pride founded on human nature itself.

    The other punishments described in Leviticus on Israel, and elsewhere on the whole world, are described as striking at the deeper roots of human pride in the rest of human nature. Until human nature is conquered all the way to the bedrock, this world can’t know peace.

  4. Norbert

    That’s very interesting rakkav, indeed the thought “pride of your power” can be more of a package deal. That it is something a nation holds as a high ideal, while the deeper level of pride within human nature is not necessarily affected by the destruction of it.

    Which makes for events like Ezk 24:21 rather thought provoking. Where one such very literal event by those seeing the destruction of the temple in Jerusalem in 70 AD, did not by all those who experienced it or they who know it as a fact of history, turn all the people to believe in the good news.

    So when I think about the chain of catastrophes that happen to the world, no matter how they are set in place that would change civil and ecclesiastical matters in my lifetime. One of the things I like to remember and strive for, not only before catastrophes occur but also does not even need a national catastrophe to happen is, “Today, if you will hear His voice, do not harden your hearts as in the rebellion”

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