How great is this: in 2003, the Pentagon and intelligence agencies had a plan on the books to launch a cyberattack on Iraq that would have zapped the country’s money supply. In other words, Saddam Hussein wouldn’t have had any money to pay his troops or whatever. Three cheers for destruction!
Now, the military never actually went through with the attack since President Bush and his advisers were afraid of the external financial ramifications. (Nobody knew for sure what type of collateral damage would play out.) Says one cyberwar specialist, “If you don’t know the consequences of a counterstrike against innocent third parties, it makes it very difficult to authorize one.”
What could go wrong in a cyberattack? “The chances are very high that you will inevitably hit civilian targets—the worst-case scenario is taking out a hospital which is sharing a network with some other agency,” says a Silicon Valley computer security specialist.
It goes without saying that cyberwar peaked in 1983.