Common SHTF scenarios include natural disasters, long-term power outages, or nuclear war. But what if society collapses not with a bang but with a click of a mouse? (h/t to TheOrganicPrepper.com)
What is a cyberattack?
A cyberattack is defined as the deliberate exploitation of computer systems, technology-dependent enterprises, and networks. Experts have expressed concern about how a cyberattack is a growing risk.
A cyber attacker will use malicious code to alter computer code, data, or logic, causing disruptive consequences that aim to compromise data. These attacks can also be used for cyber crimes like information and identity theft.
Below are some of the possible consequences of a cyberattack:
- Breach of access
- Identity fraud and theft
- Intellectual property (IP) theft
- Password sniffing
- Private and public web browser exploits
- The spread of malware and viruses
- Stolen hardware (e.g., laptops and mobile devices)
- System infiltration
- Website defacement
How will a cyberattack affect a prepper?
Not all preppers live 100 percent off the grid. Even if you only spend a fraction of your time working or casually browsing online, a major cyberattack on the country’s computer infrastructure can still affect you.
A cyberattack can disrupt the economy, utility grids, and transportation systems – all of which rely heavily on computer systems. (Related: Security researchers discover new ways your internet browsing history is exposed.)
America is very vulnerable to a cyberattack that a large-scale effort can paralyze the whole country.
What kinds of systems rely on computers?
If the country experiences a widespread cyberattack, a lot of systems will either be completely inoperable or breached. A domino effect can also involve systems that are beyond the cyber attacker’s original target, such as:
- Air traffic control
- Automated water treatment facilities
- Banks and ATMs
- Digital pumps at gas stations
- Everyday trade (e.g., businesses with computerized cash registers that communicate directly with banks and businesses that use bar codes for inventory control and pricing)
- Government operations
- Internet service
- Telecommunications systems
- Traffic management systems (e.g., crosswalks, stoplights, etc.)
- Transportation systems (e.g., planes, subways, and trains)
- Utility systems and computer-operated power stations
- Your personal information (e.g., academic records, finances, medical records, and physical location, which someone can use to commit identity theft)
How can you prepare for a cyberattack?
Just as preppers anticipate disaster scenarios that may affect the grid, they also take certain measures against a cyberattack.
To ensure that you and your family can operate independently of public transport, public utilities, or stores, you can set up the following preps:
- Set up preps, so you can safely bug in at home to avoid the chaos that follows a massive cyberattack.
- Have an emergency fund in small denominations, so you can purchase additional supplies.
- Prepare gear and supplies for a long-term power outage.
- Pack bug-out bags (BOBs) for the whole family.
- Set aside a supply of clean water, food, and several ways to prepare food without the grid.
- Making sure all cars always have at least half a tank of fuel, with extra gasoline stored in your garage. If you need to bug out, just grab your BOBs and head to a secure bug-out location.
- Address off-grid sanitation needs.
- Learn how to use your chosen self-defense weapons properly. Prepare to defend your home from attackers and looters when SHTF.
- Invest in communications devices like a ham radio or two-way radios so you can monitor the news and keep in touch with loved ones.
Like other survival scenarios, your stockpile and prepping skills can help improve your chance of surviving a cyberattack.