January 11th, 2010
12:13 PM GMT
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For an entertaining, thought-provoking and sometimes infuriating read, Marc Faber’s aptly titled “The Gloom, Boom & Doom Report” fits the bill. Among the wide swath of topics he tackles in his New Year’s Day edition this year, this section on the potential for cyber attacks jumped out at me:

“I, for one, am convinced that sometime in this next decade we shall experience successful cyber attacks, which may result in electricity blackouts, airport control tower failures, traffic jams, train and underground collisions, erroneous missile launches, a breakdown of the Internet, and so on.

“And whereas I perfectly understand their entire investment strategy around such highly disruptive events, they should at least prepare themselves for the day, week, month or even year when they may not be able to access or use their credit cards, bank and brokerage accounts, the Internet, and their mobile phones, and when they may have to live without oil and electricity amidst acute food shortages and poisoned water…

“It’s all wonderfully depressing, and some readers will consider me to be an alarmist. But the fact is that the likelihood of one or other of these conditions occurring sometime in the future is actually rather high. Therefore, I advise my readers to take out some insurance (but not with … any insurance company) in term for being prepared for an emergency situation.

“I suppose most people keep a small toolbox in their cars for emergencies, a fifth wheel in case of a flat tire (the Fed chairman doesn’t need a spare wheel because he wouldn’t know how to replace one in the first place), and a small home pharmacy for treating minor injuries. So, being prepared in the event of a major disruption in our lives might be considered prudent (especially if other people, such as small children) and not just an unnecessary warning by an insane alarmist. Hoping that all will go well is just not an option at this stage.”

Yikes! Sounds like science fiction. But as he quotes Arthur C. Clarke, famed writer of “2001: A Space Odyssey”: “If we have learned one thing from the history of invention and discovery, it is that, in the long run – and often in the short one – the most daring prophecies seem laughably conservative.”



soundoff (17 Responses)
  1. Sergio

    Nobody ever got poor predicting gloom and doom. There's nothing original here.

    January 11, 2010 at 1:28 pm |
  2. ilyas

    It isn't science fiction. They ve already tried hi-tech. If they could fly planes into buildings why would they spare an opportunity sitting in the comfort of their home and disrupting systems.

    It's upto us to invest into systems and their securities to preempt such attacks.

    January 11, 2010 at 2:07 pm |
  3. Dan Brown

    Would it be too cynical of me to assume that although our assets may be wiped off the books by a cyber attack (or at least our access to those assets for an extended period), steps have been taken to make sure that our debts, notes, mortgages, car loans and credit card balances will be well-preserved and payable every month throughout such a disaster?

    Or will some future Treasury Secretary be able to send a letter (by sea, flying is too computer-dependent) to our Chinese creditors saying, "T-bills, what T-bills?"

    January 11, 2010 at 2:08 pm |
  4. louise

    Perhaps hiding money under your mattress isn't such a bad idea after all?

    January 11, 2010 at 3:36 pm |
  5. Joe Uma

    A bunch of Chicken-little nonsense. Cyber-security is a serious issue but fear mongering isn't.

    After all, if the author wasn't pandering fears and speculation to the ignorant masses, sales wouldn't do so well.

    January 11, 2010 at 3:41 pm |
  6. toccata

    I agree with the fact that such attempts wil occur soon (actually some already occured..) but the effects (poisoned water, air collision and so on) are overestimated for one reason, all computer systems can and do fail regularly because of "ordinary" bugs. We almost never notice it because the inconvenience is generally solved within hours.

    Remember last year's BA flight reservation system collapse?
    Remember the "Y2K bug"? The end of the world fizzled....

    People don't realize that strategically speaking, a massive cyber attack is never an end, it's a beginning.
    The only strategic or tactic use of such attack is to prepare a more conventional one (bombing or invasion).
    So I think we'll have something more important to worry about if it ever happens.
    People like Mac Faber live on such phony prophecies, but it's only a divertion from real security issues.

    January 11, 2010 at 4:18 pm |
  7. Jacob Hitsman

    If I were considering this article it sounds just about right considering the Judgement of God is soon at hand and this world will go through some very bad suffering. We know this because our Bible tells us so. The only thing missing is the Hope of Eternal Life with Christ and abiding in His Kingdom. This is positive and the earth will be filled with love and hope. To leave this part of the picture out Mr. Faber would be only telling half of the story and the worse half at that. Anyway I found your article interesting and tied to the prophesies of my Bible. May the Will of God be done on this earth. Amen

    January 11, 2010 at 7:56 pm |
  8. linda j hamilton

    I totally I agree,unfortunetely it is a little hard to get a next egg.

    January 11, 2010 at 11:25 pm |
  9. James

    Hang on to your hats around the beginning of June 2010! Shocks, shocks, shocks!

    January 12, 2010 at 12:28 am |
  10. agnes prieto

    it's back to basics time...going far ther away from the city , into the fields and forests and even the caves,
    learning to draw our own water
    plant our own food
    and live simply, as simply as we can

    these are just signs that we need to recognize what we truly need in our lives

    January 12, 2010 at 3:16 am |
  11. Kelly

    The article fails to define just what sort of shelter can be constructed to survive such an event. Gold? Jewels? Materials for barter?

    The future holds several frightening scenarios including the decline of oil reserves, global warming and the resulting problems, economic collapse and cyber attacks. What all of these share is the potential to separate ordinary people from the security of their bank accounts, savings and investments. With any of these out of reach, the question of basic survival becomes the key issue. But in a situation where everyone is in the same boat, what shelter will there be?

    I doubt much will help. But it warrants exploring options.

    January 12, 2010 at 4:21 am |
  12. BARBADINE

    2 choices : one is "manana por la manana" or "after me the deluge" that's the world's position, unless you are a poor guy in the middle of nowhere (where i have the luck to live) and is not at all interested in the last most sophisticated appliances or computer gadgets or complicated iphone that you don't even know all the application, in the meantime it has drowned under the last rainseason... so you see you refer to a very small part of the population in the world that need these so called modern life; most of people around me live very simple, except from some "fauru" (proud) you know the one you meet in the street the nose very high so they don't see under their waist; CIAO so i said

    January 15, 2010 at 12:14 am |
  13. Andreas Stockholm

    The more people listen to these doom prophets the more likely their predictions. I'm sure some second messiah preacher somewhere has been lucky to predict some disastrous event at one point or another. The nice thing about the future is that noone can predict it but it is in the hands of us. I praise those who foresee positive events but then again that doesnt sell headlines.

    January 23, 2010 at 8:50 am |
  14. Khoo Boo Boon

    Plan we must for such an eventuality but let's not get so spooked that we will directing so much money and resources like what we did in preparation for the Y2K (Millennium Bug) only to find that its significance was overstated. Remember there were no severe computer glitches when the clocks rolled over into 2000!

    Boo Boon, Philippines

    January 31, 2010 at 12:43 pm |
  15. Khoo Boo Boon

    Plan we must for such an eventuality but let's not get so spooked that
    we will directing so much money and resources like what we did in
    preparation for the Y2K (Millennium Bug) only to find that its
    significance was overstated. Remember there were no severe computer
    glitches when the clocks rolled over into 2000!

    February 2, 2010 at 12:52 pm |
  16. Boo Who You You

    There may well be various crises, but it is always the poor that get ground up.

    February 12, 2010 at 10:07 pm |
  17. fcgbslgwl

    hassle ? promised ? buy ? that ? Because

    June 22, 2013 at 10:40 am |

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