From banks to hospitals to the systems that keep the juice flowing to our homes, we are almost entirely dependent on tech. We look at the effect of the five worst 'tech doomsday' scenarios, such as the entire net collapsing, would have on our lives.
Tech doomsday scenario 2: Wall Street gets e-bombed
News flash: In what authorities suspect was the aftermath of an electromagnetic pulse weapon, a rogue attacker took down much of lower Manhattan today - causing equipment failures and power outages on a massive scale and shutting down the financial markets.
Though most commonly associated with nuclear explosions, you don't need a nuke to create an electromagnetic pulse strong enough to do serious damage.
EMP devices emit extremely high-frequency signals that fry electronics to a crisp, rendering them useless.
An EMP will also wipe out or corrupt any data not stored on magnetic or optical devices.
Worse, EMPs are largely untraceable, because the weapon itself destroys any evidence of its use.
A van with an EMP device in the back could effectively shut down big chunks of the economy simply by driving down Wall Street in the US with the signal turned up, says Gale Nordling, CEO of Emprimus, a company that helps enterprises protect against threats from non-nuclear EMP.
If you wanted to take out the entire continent, though, you'd need a nuke and a missile delivery system.
What could happen: Workstations? Dead. Data centres? Gone. Mobile phones might still work, but the mobile towers probably won't, rendering them useless.
Your car won't start. A large enough attack will also shut down automated controls at power substations, leaving everyone in the dark.
Think pre-industrial revolution days. In our scenario the New York Stock Exchange shuts down, causing shock waves to reverberate throughout worldwide markets.
NEXT PAGE: How long would it take Wall Street to recover?
- We look at the likelihood of these doomsday scenarios
- Britain goes dark
- What could happen
- Wall Street gets e-bombed
- How long would it take Wall Street to recover?
- Google is gone
- What could happen if Google goes down
- The net goes down
- What effect would the net going down have on us?
- God strikes back
- Could we recover from an act of God?