Today Yahoo started "Cybergeddon," a very poor woman's "24," underwritten by the giant computer security software and services peddler, Symantec. You know what it's all about: Push software button remote terrorism, with all the scenarios and myths the salesmen and fear-mongers have delivered over the last ten years.
Since the episodes are only 10 minutes long, there's a lot of push-buttoning to be shoehorned into each segment.
The premier episode of Cybergeddon, uniquely entitled "Push of a Button," has its central character, a young FBI lady of two first names, Chloe Jocelyn, who's just nabbed her first cyber-terrorist in Prague, dumping her boyfriend special agent because she prizes her career track more.
The cyberterrorist is sent to prison in the Ukraine where his term is cut short because he has a smartphone which he pushes a button on to deposit a quarter of a million dollars in the accounts of his guards.
A deal's a deal -- so instead of beating him to death and keeping the cash -- the jailers let him out.
Upon which he pushes another button on his smartphone to launch an attack on the, wait for it, water systems of southern California. A virus, said to be like Stuxnet, you know -- the one we wrote to attack Iran, has been activated in Los Angeles.
It's a laughable subterfuge, regularly peddled by cybersecurity salesmen.
Water in Los Angeles county is not centrally controlled or even in one spot. It's all over, in the little sub-communities and tracts, in the valleys and the foothills, and the smaller to medium-sized cities of the Los Angeles metropolitan complex.
It's distributed, there's no way to centrally attack it, or to even attack one piece that would immediately threaten to endanger millions of people. Sadly for terrorists, if not scriptwriters or cybersecurity salesmen, water is durable in the US.
For example, my brain tells me, and it's usually pretty good at these things, that it would be virtually impossible to affect water in Los Angeles County short of destroying the Owens Valley, the Los Angeles Aqueduct, the Colorado River and the Colorado River Aqueduct. It would take an almost irreversible blackout in California to hinder the flow of water into LA County.
What, could hackers or cyber-soldiers blow up Pasadena Water & Power or make the complex unusable and all the water unpotable?
Contrary to what may be popular belief, huge vats of poison are not stored right with water so that a "the push of a button" can contaminate it. Too much chlorine, or adding a little too much alum, would have only negligible effects.
Southern California would ignore you, "Push of a Button" cyberterrorist.
The traffic on the freeway through Pasadena would start jamming around three, as usual. The sun would blast the concrete on the el Molino bridge as I walk over it. Maybe make a quick stop at Bobby's for a soda and a taco.
Yeah, yeah, it's made by the creator of "CSI" but it's still pandering crap where the technical advisors were asked to make up ludicrous stories about how to end things digitally, just like, uh, about 100 or so other bad movies and tv shows in the last decade. I jumped on the grenade.
Cybergeddon -- "The Push of a Button" -- is here. You were warned.
Don't patronize that corporate security fantasy rubbish. Those people couldn't write their way out of a soggy paper bag. Watch reality in our humorous video music interlude, "The National Anthem."