The Internet is about 20 years old, yet we depend on it as if it was an amendment under the Bill of Rights. It has given a quantum leap in knowledge to half of the world’s population. Probably each one of us is concerned about content, speed and how it changes all facets of our lives including our jobs. The pace of change seems to be accelerating.
I have taken very small excerpts from the well written articles listed below. They are probably the most frightening articles I have read in 10 years. We can safely presume many more hacks and viruses have made their way into our computers without becoming public knowledge. The full articles below are available on Wired Magazine and the Wall Street Journal online or mobile. Search the title and publisher for the full article (a subscription may be required to view the full articles).
The . . . hackers . . . broke into supposedly secure, “air-gapped or isolated networks owned by utilities with relative ease by first penetrating the networks of key vendors. . . “They got to the point where they could have thrown switches” and disrupted power flows, . . .
The Code That Crashed the World, Wired Magazine
Ukraine and Russia have been in an undeclared war for five years. Bent on destruction Russia released a fast spreading malware called “NotPetya” along with a penetration tool called “EternalBlue” created by the NSA. Maersks, one of the top shipping companies in the world, operates in 130 countries was an unintentional victim when it spread to their computers:
I saw a wave of screens turning black. Black, black, black. The digital phones in every cubicle too, had been rendered useless . . . stopped to refuel his car and found that the gas station’s credit card payment system had been taken out by NotPetya too. . . “They couldn’t get their containers in and out of the gate . . . Soon hundreds of 18-wheelers were backed up in a line that stretched for miles outside the terminal. . . The result was more than $10 billion in total damages . . .
What happens if the Internet stops?
I would imagine a small population segment will go into a catatonic state until it is fixed. There will probably be no GPS so planes will land and drivers will get lost. All systems associated with a computer network are subject to at least a temporary failure. The intentional destruction of war has been part of history for thousands of years. The next war will be likely centered around hacks, viruses, and destruction of the internet and satellites.
I have visited Russia and love the country and the people I met. They have a huge heart produced by sorrow and tragedy we can only imagine by studying history. You can safely assume that hacking isn’t limited to one country. The U.S., China, North Korea and many more countries are quite talented when it comes to manipulating the Internet and its dependencies.
All radio is critically important until we have weathered a few major Internet failures and the already identified threats have been successfully mended. In the meantime, I would follow FEMA’s survival check list. I would also have a CC Skywave SSB radio because it has Single Side Band which works for long distance listening when everything else is down. This is the root reason the SSB model was developed. It also gets your local stations, weather, aviation and shortwave.
Do you have a plan if the Internet goes down? Please share in the comments below some thoughtful tips with others.
I love this story , but has been any one thought that every radio station in this country is run by computers most nowadays do not even have any air personality or even employees that do on air .
With no teletype machine how they going to do news ?
Just thinking most likely about all radio stations will be off air when the power company fails .
Most do not have generators if they do only a short supply of gas to run one .
We will be doomed for sure .
Some of the older, smaller local radio stations most likely have not got rid of their ancient tube type transmitters. I worked at one in the 80s, and they most likely are computer run now, but I’m going to guess much of the old equipment is still there. The next question is about power generation and transmission being directed by computer systems.
Mr. Crane, what is the role of CB when the internet goes down? Does C. Crane plan to sell CB’s?
Thanks for the question about CB radio. CB can be very important for local communication but it was overcrowded 20 years ago. I have not recently checked the band. Cobra, Uniden, Midland and more have dominated the CB market for decades. It would be interesting to start a brand new CB radio from the bottom up but we have many receiver projects I want to finish first. Since wattage is limited for CB radios, antennas are the key to superior performance. Interestingly I find a receiver of great value in a crisis by listening to other people.
– Bob Crane
I have been a Ham Radio operator since 1963. As a result, I have portable, crank and battery short wave radio. My ham gear can operate 160 meters to 10 meters, one 10 meter, and 2 2 meter rigs. My Stanley backup power gets 110 v from the car batteries. Or the 12 v can run any rig. Portable antennas have been simple and can go up quickly.
Short wave listening gets the “out of band” information, the ham allows me to call out.
By the way, having at least one Princess phone allows my land line to work if the phone company still works if cells are out.
Land lines really no longer exist . Many wireline phones are wired to a hidden box on a pole or on the ground that rely on the ac power mains to work (with no real backup). The box converts the old wireline signal to one that drives an optic cable that interfaces with your area telephone building. The last mile to your “wireline” phone is still copper, but everything else is fiber optic – just like the internet uses.
I did go out and look and the two boxes on the house from Verizon. the first does split the phone service from the Fios group: TV, internet, and digital phone service. I see only a “flat line” cable into the first one. That means signals and power are from the “pole.” All are underground in our community. In the past (pre generator) the Princess phones would continue to work in a “power line “outage. A power line outage never took out the phone. Verizon powers their phones separately from Dominion Power.
Power for the old wireline service was provided by Bell System generators. Those generators were then also backed up by battery banks. I remember in the past that my power went out several times, but the old landline phone kept working on its own power. Princess phones lost the illumination of dials or keys, since these were powered by a small transformer connected to the home owners power.
True 2-way Radio is the last resort. You can’t rely on cell phones, since the cell sites get overloaded during emergency situations, and then only local officials have a code which allows them priority access over everyone else.
To William H Roy: “The last mile to your “wireline” phone is still copper, but everything else is fiber optic – just like the internet uses.”
Even if the last line in the ground is “fiber optic” rather than “wire”, that still qualifies as a “land line”.
Fiber optic cable can’t supply power to a remote device, but true copper can. The only way to get a signal on the fiber from a home is with a device powered from the home. If power is lost at the house, you can’t communicate. In the old land line days, phones were powered from the wireline entering the premises, so the phone would work when the house power was out. Fiber & copper are not the same in that regard ….
We have multiple AM/FM/SW receivers and multiple CB, FRS, HF/SSB, 2m, 10m transceivers plus satellite radio (if there is still content to the uplink). We use no cloud storage – multiple copies of all family databases, video, audio et al. Thousands of info files (even older encyclopedias on CD/DVD) on pdf. Batteries, generators and solar to power it all.
Almost 30 years ago, while I was still in the Navy Reserve, I attended an intelligence briefing which included the likely scenario of how a future world war would be fought. Should such a conflict break out, the first things to be attacked and destroyed will be the communication satellites. Once they’ve been eliminated, most of the modern communication devices we’ve come to depend upon (the internet, satellite radio, satellite TV, GPS, etc.) will be rendered useless, perhaps for weeks or months. Should this happen, AM and shortwave radio will undoubtedly become the primary means of obtaining news and information.
If the Internet goes down, electricity will also be down. Probably the result of an EMP attack. Electricity will be down for years. And Bitcoin will be worthless. It only exists in the virtual world.
You need to store at least one radio, with battery supplies in a Faraday Cage, Better two separate radio/cage combos (basically a seamless metal box). There are YouTube video’s on how to do this (or pay a welding shop to follow the plans to build you one, or better more). A nuke detonated outside the atmosphere over central US, or a very large solar flare would cause an massive induced current spike (EMP) that would fry every integrated circuit in mainland US, and Canada. Your gear does not have to be plugged in to be destroyed.
I have a mouthful of mercury fillings, and a metal crown or two. Would you know what might happen to these items from an EMP pulse?
15 years ago I asked my dentist ( a very good one) about the toxicity issue of mercury based fillings. and he said no worry. Five years later he said “laddie” we need to get all of those replaced, so I assume the Dental Assoc. changed it’s mind. So, you would be wise to replace them on that basis alone. Understand I’m no certified expert in the field, but what I’ve read suggests that say a on ounce ball of metal will have much less current induced than the same weight drawn out to a long wire. we might want an electrical engineer to determine the risk from metal implants ie pacemaker, metal joint replacements. Somebody with a bit of military experience perhaps.
Working off paper records is step back to the 1980’s, if those records paper records were to exist which they don’t. There is so much info, finance, records, forms, bills, payments, bank balances & transactions on the cloud. Assume a worst case collapse.
Do you have a property that is setup for living in a pre-digital era?
Can you live without cash?
Do you have the skills to live without modern conveniences like out pioneering grandparents had done?
Did you forget EMP, Bob ?
Bob: Don’t forget about EMP’s. You should be selling Faraday bags as well.
Tom, the only bags I’ve heard about that have a “faraday like” ability are the plastic /vinyl style that computer boards, video cards … memory etc ….ship in. To to protect them from static discharges, especially the ones human hands can emit walking across carpets etc. in a dry environment. They certainly can fry boards. I have NO idea if they would protect circuits in the open during a human initiated, nuclear generated EMP, or a high intensity solar flare. The Carrington event which burned telegraph wires off pole in 1859. That flare is estimated to be a “once a century” event, and is by no means the worst our sun can produce. All the faraday “cages” I’ve read about are metal boxes, or structures. Maybe someone else could help us here ?
I have a cc radio. I hate canned programming and would never pay for radio subscriptions using the internet. Payment systems and fuel dispensing failures are vulnerable and so is GPS but real time information through broadcast may save your life. Everything else is just a work around. Have a road atlas, water and extra fuel…. And a radio, Good Day!
Our far-flung family all have AM/FM/SW/WX battery receivers with the SW frequency taped to the back so I can broadcast from our HF/SSB base and mobile. Receivers are 4xD cell, AA and/or rechargeable from USB 5V. I made adapters that can operate from either 12V car batteries or 6V lantern batteries. The USB also keeps cell phones charged although cell service will probably be gone as well. Each family member has a VHF/UHF handheld in their bug-out bag that can be recharged from the AM/FM/WX crank/solar radio in the bag. Some of the receivers have SD card slots with some audio entertainment, survival tips and some regular pdf files (key docs, survival/medical manuals, etc.) if they can find a computer or cellphone to use them. I have two FM broadcast transmitters (6W and 2W) that can be used for a local network for a neighborhood, Radio is the best we will have if the worst comes to pass.
As helpful and convenient as the internet and most all modern technology is, we as individuals and a society cannot be so dependent on it that we can’t survive without it.
That means being as self reliant as possible!
All we really need is food, water and shelter.
Have a plan in case everything goes sideways.
Maintain at least a 30 day supply of non perishable food, drinking and cleaning water, 2 gallons a day per person at a minimum.
Have a generator with enough fuel to run 4 hours a day.
Medicines, first aid kits, blankets and warm clothes.
Portable battery operated AM/FM radios, Ham/CB/GMRS radios for communications to others nearby and the outside world.
There are lots of comprehensive lists of what to have on hand and prepare for out there.
Virtually every facet of society is dependent on the internet so some degree and as such vulnerable to hackers, equipment failures and natural disasters.
I have faraday bags that are lined with metal between two layers of heavy vinyl, an ammo box lined completely to form a complete circuit works , a metal garbage or ash can lined the same way works too .
I forgot to mention that super heavy aluminium foil is ideal for lining the faraday cage projects.
So do you – C Crane – have an SSB that is two way like a ham? Like what i had on my boat before Hurricane Dorian destroyed it.
We do not. We only have receivers.
We know the Carrington Event of 1859 that melted telegraph cables and set fires in some telegraph stations. In the skies auroras stretches down beyond the Tropic of Cancer on the world map. Be sure that will come again but you forgot to mention quartz watches, they will fail so keep a mechanical one to hand. All electronic instruments in hospital ICU’s and ER’s will fail and who knows when this will happen. Wrap sensitive electronics in Copper foil and keep them underground. Be sure this Carrington Event WILL return, but when?