What if a crippling attack struck the country's digital infrastructure? Experts including current and former officials tackle the question. The results show that the peril is real and growing.
The crisis began when college basketball fans downloaded a free March Madness application to their smart phones. The app hid spyware that stole passwords, intercepted e-mails and created havoc.
Soon 60 million cellphones were dead. The Internet crashed, finance and commerce collapsed, and most of the nation's electric grid went dark. White House aides discussed putting the Army in American cities.
That, spiced up with bombs and hurricanes, formed the doomsday scenario when 10 former White House advisors and other top officials joined forces Tuesday in a rare public cyber war game designed to highlight the potential vulnerability of the nation's digital infrastructure to crippling attack.
The results were hardly reassuring.
In the end, no grand plan emerged, but the group did agree to advise the president to federalize the National Guard, even if governors objected, and deploy the troops -- perhaps backed by the U.S. military -- to guard power lines and prevent unrest.