Major computer problems Wednesday grounded United Airlines flights, halted the New York Stock Exchange and even took the Wall Street Journal offline, but it could get worse.
Two days after the company that makes snooping software for the FBI was hacked and their source code exposed, major American industries have been smashed, and there could be more on the way.
A cyber attack which shuts down even part of the United States power grid could cost the American economy as much as $1 trillion, according to report released Wednesday.
We may be just starting to feel those effects.
Wednesday morning, United Airline flights around the world were grounded after a computer problem caused the company to lose network connectivity. The airline said 4,900 flights were affected before it could resume service an hour later.
Planes already in the air were unaffected. However, the large number of delays promises to ripple through the airline industry in the coming days, causing further delays for air travelers.
We're recovering from a network connectivity issue & restoring flight ops. We’ll have a waiver on http://t.co/ufFoKFTNNe to change flights.
— United (@united) July 8, 2015
Then, just before noon, the New York Stock Exchange was forced to halt trading after a technical issue took their computerized trading system down.
(2 of 3) We chose to suspend trading on NYSE to avoid problems arising from our technical issue.
— NYSE (@NYSE) July 8, 2015
Stocks continued to trade on other exchanges like the NASDAQ, but the usually-busy NYSE traders were left to idle in frustration.
At the same time, the Wall Street Journal’s webpage was offline as that company, too, was experiencing computer issues. The newspaper was forced to switch its webpage to an alternative design.
We're back up—and ready for the Fed! Thanks for your patience.
— Wall Street Journal (@WSJ) July 8, 2015
These glitches come mere days after Italy’s Hacking Team, a software company that sells surveillance software to shady governments, was itself hacked and its source code released via Twitter.
Hackers broke into the Hacking Team’s Twitter account and used it to release 400 gigabytes of internal documents and source code. Those documents show the company’s customer list includes the FBI and DEA along with Egypt, Ethiopia, Kazakhstan, Morocco, Nigeria, Saudi Arabia, and the Sudan.
If Wednesday’s series of computer glitches is, indeed, a prelude to a larger cyber attack on American industries, it could cost U.S. companies billions of dollars.
A report from the University of Cambridge shows U.S. executives are worried about damage from a cyber attack, but are unwilling to buy cyber insurance.
We already know the U.S. power grid is under constant cyber attack. It’s only a matter of time until serious damage is done.
— Bradley Shear (@bradleyshear) July 8, 2015
United Airlines, the NYSE, the Wall Street Journal, and the Department of Homeland Security have all come out with statements saying there is no cyber attack or other sign of malicious activity.
In the event of an emergency, however, experts agree families should have a month of supplies, including fresh food and water on hand.