What if you woke up one morning and couldn’t get gas, groceries or your prescriptions? It COULD happen

July 6 – Yet another cyber attack has halted business in grocery stores – including pharmacy services and gas supplies – in Sweden and yet all anyone in the US seems to do is shrug and think, “glad it’s not me.”

But the thing is it could and very likely WILL be us some time in the future if we don’t get a handle on these hackers who shut down computer services for businesses and then demand huge ransoms for the key to get them started again.

This time, a Russian-linked hacker calling themselves Revil has asked for $70 million in bitcoin to get the grocery stores in Sweden up and running again.

Attorney Clint Barkdoll, Pat Ryan and Michele Jansen discussed the cyber-attacks this morning during the Big Talk on First News.

Barkdoll said, “As we’ve been saying for months, not enough attention is being paid to this problem.”

The current hack is also affecting countries in Europe, South Africa, Mexico and New Zealand, but Sweden has more than 800 grocery stores that have been completely closed since Saturday.

The cyber hack has effectively disabled their cash register equipment.

Barkdoll said, “I realize people think that’s over in Sweden. It’s far away. I’m glad it’s not here, but I think the point is this is very dangerous. Imagine just waking up some morning and finding out that thousands of your grocery stores and pharmacies and gas stations are closed. This could have a very crippling effect on the economy and Sweden is going to dip into a real problem here.”

It’s unclear if they’re going to pay this ransom or what they’re going to do to address this but with each passing day without those basic services human lives are being incredibly affected.

Ryan said, “You don’t see social media being hacked. You don’t see the long term kind of effects on those organizations. They get their things pretty well fixed up fairly quickly here. For us to start us all back up on being nice to each other and being social to each other, is that a blessing in disguise if Facebook goes down for days like they’re taking grocery stores down for days?”

Barkdoll said, “I think it would be a winning political message. It’s bipartisan. It’s nonpartisan. We all agree this is a problem it needs to be fixed. Everything is so tied to the internet now and one of these cyber hacks comes in, it can knock places offline for days if not weeks. We can see the danger. It doesn’t feel like there’s much of an effort here whether it’s at the federal or the state level to try and get on top of this. Every week you’re seeing more of this happening around the world or here domestically and it’s a huge problem.”

Jansen added, “I’m just reading some of the details of this. The stores that you spoke about…they don’t even use directly the software of the system that was hacked. They get affected by it. It’s a little scary to me how we’ve gotten rid of all ability to just transact with cash. Nobody’s using cash anymore and to use the system with cash you’re still relying on all this software. Those ripple effects are more far reaching than people can imagine.”

Barkdoll said, “It also shows the level of sophistication of these hackers. Think of it as a vendor that got hacked. They actually have operations in Miami, Florida. But the vendor is the one that provides the back office support for things like processing payments at the cash register or at the gas pump or at the pharmacy counter. I think the fact that these hackers know about that level of service and that granular level of detail also shows how sophisticated they’ve become in targeting who to go after and now they’re saying they want 70 million dollars to unlock this problem and they very well might get it today.”

Ryan said, “You think the media companies would get this one and start pounding on sleepy, sippy cup there to start addressing this instead of battling for the soul of America and going on a vacation.”

Barkdoll pointed out, “We’ve talked a lot over the years, experts have talked a lot about this doomsday scenario about a hacker getting into the power grid. Everyone agrees that’s a problem, but I don’t think they’ve looked at these scenarios of just imagine being out for days with no grocery stores, no pharmacies, no gas stations. This really could get into a chaotic situation in a society.”

We will see what happens in Sweden this week. They may have to pay to get the systems up again.

Barkdoll warned, “This stuff is coming. The government needs to be more proactive in trying to address this because we’re seeing it week after week after week. It’s going to be a problem. One morning we’re going to wake up and it’s going to create real problems.”