The Titan Pain of Dim Sum

In February 1999, two Chinese People’s Liberation Army (PLA) senior Air Force Colonels, Qiao Liang and Wang Xiangsui, published Unrestricted Warfare. When one reads this work, and based on its content, it is a valid observation that, when people begin to lean toward, and rejoice in the reduced use of military force to resolve conflicts, war will be reborn in another form, and in another arena, becoming an instrument of enormous power in the hands of all those who have intentions of controlling other countries or regions.

It may also be concluded from the writings that war has undergone the changes of modern technology, and the market systems will be launched even more in atypical forms. In other words, whilst the world is observing a relative reduction in military violence, conjoined with this silhouette, we are seeing an increase in political, economic, and technological violence.

At this juncture it may also be opportune to look back at the events of the Titan Rain attack circa 2007, when the Chinese government was accused of conducting cyber-attacks against government installations in the UK, US, and Germany to name but a few.

My biggest concern though is in the area of state-owned, supported industries being granted contracts to build and operate critical infrastructure, such as nuclear facilities, on UK soil. However, as if this proposition were not enough to contend with, my worry was further exacerbated by a comment made by a UK Government Minister, who stated that such concerns were unfounded because of the stringent security controls imposed on such critical facilities and assets.

However, this statement was clearly off-line and not based on any consideration aligned to the Digital Age.  The reason being, these very critical facilities of the future will be embedded with complex soft and hard-coded devices developed in other countries. Thus, in their unknown cyber-form represented by millions/billions of lines of code, they could pose a significant risk.

I predict a potential threat on a scale I once would have never imagined because of the threat of a foreign power being granted licence to integrate technology into the very heart of the UK mainland critical assets and infrastructure. But then here lies the ambition of the incumbent government who are seeking the Golden Era, and all that comes with it.

If we can get it so very wrong when it comes to diesel fuels, let us hope that same theme of incompetence does not transgress over to the nuclear spectrum of unknown cyber-risk. We may be in the month of Back to the Future, but sadly there is no craft we can use to correct any misfortunes or wrongs.

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