The headline reads, “U.S. officials have warned for years that the prospect of a cyber attack is the top threat to the nation and have sharply increased spending for computer security”.
A report released by the Republican staff for the Senate Homeland Security Committee states that federal agencies are ill prepared to defend cyber networks against even the modestly trained hackers. In other words, anyone with a computer and a complaint against the United States could in fact shut us down at anytime.
The report goes on to say that, workers responsible for the systems have failed to install security patches, update anti-virus software and failed to communicating on secure networks. No one is, or was checking the security of passwords used. One common password found to be used often was the word “Password”. Sleep well tonight everyone.
Despite the clamor, warnings and obvious problems with the nation’s cyber security profile, it appears that nothing is being done about the crisis. The security of the country’s infrastructure and lives of American citizens is on the line (Rein, 2014).
“U.S. intelligence agencies last week urged the administration to check the new health care network for malicious software. All this after learning that developers linked to the Belarus government (a former Soviet Republic that still has close ties to Russia) helped produce the website. This of course also raises fresh concerns about the security of private data posted by millions of Americans”.
The report goes on to say that officials suspect that programmers in Belarus have inserted malicious code that can be used for cyber attacks against the United States (Gertz, 2014).
It seems that every American today is either a target of a terrorist organization or a target because of governmental incompetency or a target by design. It does make one wonder.
How Are You Affected
Stop and think about how much of what you do on a daily basis is controlled by computers, computers that could at anytime fall into the hands of a terrorist organization bent on our destruction.
Trains, planes and many new automobiles are directly controlled or can be directly controlled by a computer. Internet, cells phones and many other types of communication are controlled by computers somewhere. Water treatment plants, food processing facilities, hospitals and police departments all run by computer. Not to mention the military is highly dependent upon computer systems these days.
How many sick or dying people will need to show up at the hospital before someone realizes the computers have been hacked at the local water treatment plant and someone has been poisoned? The point is once you realize it has happened it may be too late.
A nuclear weapon is launched by a rogue nation, our missile defense shield is activated, and we fire a missile to intercept the warhead only to find out that the intercept missile is way off course and has landed in a suburban neighborhood. The ICBM carrying a nuclear warhead cannot be stopped. It is now too late to realize that the computers have been hacked.
You Never Saw the Need to Begin Prepping Before So How About Now
It seems that no matter how we vote or how much we protests to our Senators and Representatives nothing ever seems to change. In today’s world, no one can afford to have those responsible for cyber security falling asleep at the switch. Do politicians not realize they live here too? Any lapse in security will affect them, maybe more so than other groups of people because Washington D.C. is a prime target and may be the first to be struck by a cyber attack.
You have to assume a crisis will strike the United States and based on real world intelligence gathering the next crisis could be a cyber attack. You will not have time to prepare because once you realize it has happened it will be too late.
Gertz, B. (2014, February 04). Retrieved 2014, from http://www.foxnews.com/politics/2014/02/04/obamacare-network-vulnerable-to-cyber-attack/?intcmp=latestnews
Rein, C. T. (2014, February). Retrieved 2014, from http://www.washingtonpost.com/business/technology/senate-cybersecurity-report-finds-agencies-often-fail-to-take-basic-preventive-measures/2014/02/03/493390c2-8ab6-11e3-833c-33098f9e5267_story.htmlRead Full Article
The California state water project has announced that beginning in the spring of 2014 they will no longer send water to local agencies. This move affects the drinking water of 25 million people and affects nearly one million acres of farmland.
This is an unprecedented act by the agency and officials have stated it is the only time in the agency’s 54-year history a move like this has been made.
The move affects 29 different agencies across the state, and it has been noted however that those affected do have other resources, such as federally run reservoirs and canals, but the state is in a severe drought and water is becoming scarcer by the day.
The governor of the state has asked everyone to reduce consumption by at least 20 percent. This drought is considered the worst in a century. Lack of a snow pack and little rain over the last three years has contributed significantly to the problem.
The governor was quoted as saying that “all options have to be on the table” when talking about the “toilet to tap” process and other ideas bandied about. The process would take flushed toilet water and filter it back into the drinking water supply. The governor was also quoted as saying, “it is ultimately the home, and every day this drought goes on, we’re going to have to tighten the screws on what people are doing” (Elex Michaelson, 2014).
Those annoying health nuts that insist people drink water everyday is obviously the problem, eight glasses a day indeed they must have not gotten the memo about cutting back. Maybe the politicians that have known of this for years are the problem. Could it be the rich elites that fill their Olympic sized swimming pools every day or the environmentalists that have contributed to the problem?
The population in California has grown about 59 percent since 1980 but no new dams or reservoirs have been added to the state’s water system since then. Projects have been started and money spent but for the most part this seems to be a way of spreading the wealth to those that already have wealth. Tax money has been supplied to real estate developments for landscaping projects designed to conserve water but do nothing for the collection and containment of water. In other words, tax money spent with no results.
Building new reservoirs and dams may have solved the problem before it became one but once again environmentalist have kept many projects from getting off the ground, so all of you that think you need eight glasses of water a day better get over it.
No one has talked about draining the millions of gallons of water in private and public swimming pools. This water could easily be filtered and put back into the water supply. Desalination of seawater is another option that only a handful are talking about and then there are the millions of gallons of water in lakes and streams that could be tapped into.
What Can You Do
If you depend on a municipality for your water supply unfortunately, there is not much you can do but to conserve and begin stockpiling water. Stockpiling would not get you very far however unless you had the means and the storage space to collect enough to last for a year or more.
The problem is however, you believe you are the only one conserving. You walk outside and see the sprinklers running next-door or they are washing their car and you think, “Why should I if no one else will”.
In some areas it may be illegal to water lawns at certain times or, fill pools and so on, but then you have to take the time to call someone and then there is the fear of the code enforcer pointing to your house when they come out to write the citation. Therefore asking people to conserve on their own does not work well, but soon it may not be voluntary.
You can drill your own well in some cases, but the aquifers according to experts are low as well. You would have to drill deep and this is costly, but there does not appear to be any laws that prohibit you at this time from drilling your own well.
You have to assume that if the problem is not solved then the state of California will have to ration water and each household will only be allowed to consume so much a day, week or by the month. You may even be forced to collect it all at once and then the water to your home is shut off until it is time to draw your next ration. This maybe the extreme but what choices will the state have if the drought continues.
It is not just the fact it has not snowed as much in the mountains or the rains have not filled the reservoirs, it is also policies and politics.
Catastrophes do not always come on sudden. They can creep up on you like the water shortage in California. Much of it is denial by those in charge and then all of a sudden they pronounce disaster is upon us and it is up to the people to sacrifice because those in power will not be denied, government must continue at all cost.
It is important for Preppers and others to stay informed. You cannot wait until the authorities announce a crisis is looming, by then it is too late. Do threat assessments on a continual basis so you can see what may be headed your way. Knowing a head of time gives you options that you do not have once the problem is tossed on your doorstep.
To those that are sitting back and thinking that California is getting what they deserve better be doing their own threat assessments because you maybe next. Wars have been fought over water and a shortage in one state may mean resources from your state are on the list of options. Today it is water, what will it be tomorrow. Propane and oil for heating homes, natural gas, fuel for vehicles, the list goes on and on of the things that you can be denied in the blink of an eye.
Elex Michaelson, D. P. (2014, January). California drought: Gov. Jerry Brown stresses water conservation. Retrieved 2014, from http://abclocal.go.com/kabc/story?section=news/state&id=9412982Read Full Article
Headlines January 10, 2014
A so-called superbug has been found at a suburban hospital in Chicago Illinois. According to the report, Advocate Lutheran General Hospital in Park Ridge has identified 38 patients, who have tested positive for an emerging strain of carbapenem-resistant enterobacteriaceae, or CRE also known as “nightmare bacteria”.
The bacteria appear to be resistant to a class of antibiotics used to treat seriously ill people and the mortality rate of those affected is close to 50 percent.
The strain identified in Illinois is rare and is normally found overseas. The bacterium was present on equipment found in the hospital and leads everyone to speculate improper sanitation procedures caused the bacteria to spread from the equipment to patients and may have spread to any person in contact with the equipment. The hospital suspects that up to 243 patients may have been exposed to the deadly bacteria (Robert McCoppin, 2014).
Hospitals Are Not Safe
According to the CDC (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention), it may soon be too late to control the spread of the nightmare bacteria unless something is done. Untreatable and often deadly the bacteria are spreading throughout hospitals in the United States. What makes these bacteria even more deadly is that it can spread its resistant gene to other bacteria.
It appears at this time there is no reporting requirements when a hospital treats a patient with the bacteria. Essentially, you do not know if you have been exposed at your local hospital because hospital administrators may (opinion only) quell information to prevent panic in the community.
According to the CDC, at least four percent of the hospitals in the nation have reported at least one case of the nightmare bacteria so that begs the question how many did not report any cases when in fact they have treated people for the bacteria.
The bacteria has been found in 42 states so far. Some doctors may not even be aware they are treating a patient with the bacteria because approximately 50 percent of the patients do recover (CDC, 2013).
Some medical professionals believe it is simply a matter of time before there is a major outbreak and because of the mortality rate, it will be devastating. Imagine millions of people being infected instead of hundreds at this point.
Medical professionals’ state there is little chance of developing a drug in the coming years that would be affective against the CRE Bacteria (CDC, 2013).
Who Needs Enemies with Friends Like This
It is very disturbing to realize that equipment such as an endoscope used for a medical procedure was not sanitized properly after use and then was used on another patient. This is how the deadly strain is passed on not to mention it being on clothing and hands of the medical professionals.
It is amazing with all the technology in the world today a simple thing like washing your hands and equipment can prevent the spread of a deadly disease and yet apparently hands and equipment are not being properly washed. Doctors and staff are relying on technology to much and overlooking the simplest things that save lives, non-technical things.
It appears obvious that unless it cost thousands of dollars and medical degree for a procedure to be performed it is not being done in hospitals. Those accustomed to getting their answers by using advanced technology may tend to overlook the simple things like scrubbing their hands and equipment.
Doctors first learned about washing hands to prevent the spread of disease over 150 years ago. Ignaz Philipp Semmelweis recommended in 1847 that washing hands with chlorinated water and limejuice would stop the spread of fevers. The good doctor was roundly criticized at the time and doctors were offended at the thought of washing their hands. Louis Pasteur was of course the first to confirm the germ theory.
For more on Semmelweis see Etiology, Concept and Prophylaxis of Childbed Fever by Ignaz Semmelweis
It Can Happen
The nightmare bacteria may become a catastrophe of epic proportions and once started it appears to be impossible to stop. The pandemic would be for all practical purpose a doomsday scenario. People would be forced to isolate themselves and only the obviously healthy would be allowed into a community.
People would panic and lack of information and misinformation would cause needless harm and cause many people to be ostracized or outright killed. Imagine a community is isolated and along comes someone with the sniffles. What would the leaders of that group do, would they simply send the sick person on their way or think about not allowing that person to spread the bacteria to other communities?
Proper Sanitation Has Always Been Prudent
A little bleach, water, and/or alcohol can go along ways in keeping bacteria at bay. Once in your system however, the CRS strain would require antibiotics, which do not work. The body’s immune system is what should be fighting the bacteria and because of the overuse of antibiotic, some people’s immune system has been weakened.
The body has the tools to fight bacteria and diseases but in some cases, the body has relied on antibiotics to do all the fighting for them. Now along comes a strain of bacteria that has developed immunity to all the antibiotics. Now it is time for the body to step up and it cannot because up until this point medicines did all the work.
CDC. (2013). Retrieved 2014, from http://www.usatoday.com/story/news/nation/2013/03/05/superbugs-infections-hospitals/1965133/
Robert McCoppin, C. D. (2014, January 10). Retrieved 2014, from http://articles.chicagotribune.com/2014-01-10/health/ct-hospital-bacteria-exposure-met-20140110_1_bacteria-superbug-creRead Full Article