Movie-plot threat contest

I forgot to post this when I first read it, but I find the idea so intriguing that I felt I had to pop it up here now that I’m reading up on it again.  On his blog, Bruce Schneier is running a movie-plot threat contest.  The basic idea is to come up with some potential terrorist threat that is highly unlikely, but sufficiently sensational to capture the attention of security spenders and elevate public fear enough to damage the economy and get public buy-in to bad, stupid, or highly intrusive but ineffective security measures.  As of last week, Bruce reported nearly 600 entries, and I suspect that number will grow for a while yet.

Looking over the different terrorist plots, they seem to fall into several broad categories. The first category consists of attacks against our infrastructure: the food supply, the water supply, the power infrastructure, the telephone system, etc. The idea is to cripple the country by targeting one of the basic systems that make it work.

The second category consists of big-ticket plots. Either they have very public targets — blowing up the Super Bowl, the Oscars, etc. — or they have high-tech components: nuclear waste, anthrax, chlorine gas, a full oil tanker, etc. And they are often complex and hard to pull off. This is the 9/11 idea: a single huge event that affects the entire nation.

The third category consists of low-tech attacks that go on and on. Several people imagined a version of the DC sniper scenario, but with multiple teams. The teams would slowly move around the country, perhaps each team starting up after the previous one was captured or killed. Other people suggested a variant of this with small bombs in random public locations around the country.

There is a lot of meat to this article, so head over to Bruce’s blog and read the entire contest status update.
[tags]Schneier, Movie-plot threats[/tags]