Hey everyone! Last weekend I catch a show on National Geographic about the potential consequences of a cyberattack that would leave the country powerless for a couple weeks.

Here’s the trailer:

Of course, this is fictitious, but the realistic touch of resembling a documentary about a real past event made me believe it for a second and it honestly made me freak out! A couple years ago I wouldn’t have imagined that a cyberattack was a possibility, but apparently it really is. I found it fascinating to see how much we depend on electricity at all levels in order to survive. This portrayed only a few days, and the country was already a disaster within a few hours of blackout!

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How would the average US citizen cope in the wake of a catastrophic cyberattack?

As the power grid goes down across the country, the streets quickly descend into chaos while consumers ransack stores for bottled water and canned goods.

Those without sufficient cash handy are quickly in dire straits, since no electricity means no credit cards or ATMs, either.

Meanwhile, the heroes of the day are “doomsday preppers” who have had the foresight to stockpile a couple years’ worth of bottled water, batteries, and military-style meals-ready-to-eat in secret underground bunkers.

This is the scenario explored in “American Blackout,” the National Geographic Channel’s fictionalized account of a 10-day-long power outage precipitated by a cyberattack. The program airs Sunday.

Read the full article here: csmonitor.com.

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According to several critics, the facts were pretty consistent and I read that most people will do anything it takes to get food after a few days without a meal. However, how likely it is that a blackout would affect the whole nation at the same time for an extended period? The article I quoted brings an interesting perspective to the table:

“Not very likely,” former National Security Agency director Michael Hayden said in a panel following the film.

That said, most of the power grid is the responsibility of the private sector, he added. For this reason, the private sector “at the end of the day is the main body” that should take the lead in national cyberdefense, Mr. Hayden said in a discussion the next day at the Center for Strategic and International Studies.

It was a statement that caused a ripple in the panel as Hayden argued that “the government has to conform its activities” to enable the private sector to take the lead in cyberdefense, much like the US military takes the lead in the defense of American airspace, for example.

“We expect the government to control and defend our airspace,” Hayden said. “I don’t think that’s true – or at least it’s not as true – in the cyber domain.”

Same link to read the whole article: csmonitor.com.

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The whole thing reminded me a lot about the unfortunate hurricane Sandy and the following week exactly one year ago. Manhattan went blackout for a week. It was only this one borough, and there was power above 40th street… However, for people like me, living below that street it was already difficult enough! Here’s the post I wrote about that week: josenavarronyc.com.

While it wasn’t that bad at all in my case, it was pretty uncomfortable and I can only imagine what it would be like if this happened nationwide! Just in case, I’ll keep that in mind next time I’m at the grocery store and stock up on a few things. I don’t think I’m going to become one of those “doomsday preppers” but I’ll have enough canned food for a couple days!

You stay safe! Thanks for reading and see you soon!

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About José Navarro

I grew up in Barcelona, Spain. I moved to New York City to get my BBA in International Business at Berkeley College after studying Advertising and Public Relations in my country and in Tallinn, Estonia. I love traveling; it's my biggest passion. I like learning about new cultures and traditions. I consider myself to be a very positive and active person.

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