Recent Black Swan Events: 3 You May Have Missed
A few years back, a friend who is also a prepper turned me on to a new phrase: Black Swan Events. Shortly after he told me about it, I got to digging. You can read our first write up on these events via the link at the bottom of this article.
To quickly summarize and define, here’s what a Black Swan event is:
A Black Swan event is a large-scale event that has huge impacts, but seems to come out of nowhere. The term was coined in the 2007 book, The Black Swan: The Impact of the Highly Improbable by Nassim Nicholas Taleb. Black Swan events that have had tremendous consequences for our lives include the terrorist attacks on 9/11 or the 2008 financial crisis that led to the recent Great Recession. When Black Swan events happened, our nation was unprepared.
Since that initial article was published, we’ve kept a close eye on Black Swan type events and their fallout. Here are a few of particular note we’ve seen just this past year:
Russia Targeting...Undersea Cables?
Back in late December, we got some curious news coming out of the UK.
Their top military officer, Sir Stuart Preach warned that Russia could strike a "catastrophic" blow to the economy by targeting communication and internet cables that run under the sea.
The network of cables connects countries and continents, using 428 cables and spanning 683,508 miles.
These cables are very reliable, but physically fragile.
UK defense experts claim that Russia’s modernized and more aggressive navy, plus its willingness to use information warfare, make concerns for the cables as a target a growing one.
Further, Britain and its allies, including us, lack the equipment and personnel to constantly monitor their activity.
Keir Giles, a Russian information warfare expert noted the damage would be huge if these cables were cut. He said:
The fact that people wouldn't be able to log on to Facebook would be just a tiny, tiny aspect of all the disruption that would be caused if these cables were interfered with. International trading and financial transactions are managed across sub-sea cables. The economic impact would be enormous and immediate.
Giles also believes Russia is "conflict-proofing" itself, "seeking to reduce its reliance on the correct functioning of the internet by setting up its own parallel systems." They are also rehearsing for what would happen if its internet connection collapsed, which could be a possible result of their own attack on the cables.
RUSSIA IS OUR MOST-LIKELY DISRUPTOR
In March, the U.S. accused Russia of plotting to penetrate our electrical grid, factories, water supply and air travel infrastructures.
The FBI, DHS and other intelligence agencies determined that Russian spies and others were conducting cyberattacks starting about a year ago. They would breach computer systems, conduct "network reconnaissance" and then attempt to cover their tracks. These systems control services that Americans like us depend on every day.
Likely, more Russian breaches will be uncovered. For now, the breaches have been recovered. But, if the Russians were to be able to get back in for an actual attack, it would be devastating.
Let’s hope our intelligence and military can harden these systems. The only thing we can do is prepare for the day they might be struck. There certainly seem to be plenty of weak targets, unfortunately.
Glitches Become More Commonplace
Russia isn’t the only potential Black Swan Event originator right now. In fact, the technology we’ve built might be the prime candidate. Back in January, already embattled Wells Fargo bank woke up to a social media firestorm when a glitch accidentally emptied several customers’ accounts to zero or in arrears. The glitch caused the bank’s online pay center to process duplicate payments for one-time payments, resulting in accounts being emptied.
Luckily, the bank was able to quickly reverse the affected accounts. Imagine if the glitch was so bad it was permanent? I’m sure there would be a lawsuit, in that case, but still, what a nightmare. Imagine if this were to happen, and another crisis like a natural disaster were to hit? This is why it’s always good to keep a little cash, gold, silver or all three on hand. But, these should always be secondary concerns to survival needs like water, food and shelter, of course.
Canada’s Black Swan Fund
The Canadian government recently committed hundreds of millions of dollars in its recent budget to help shore up their cyber defense programs.
However, as the Financial Post noted, they already have a "rainy day" fund devoted to covering Black Swan events like cyberattack. It’s a stash of $102 billion.
These are "highly-liquid assets" that would cover a "survival horizon" lasting a month.
The article also mentions that our government also keeps similar "prudential liquidity reserves."
So, our governments have put aside massive amounts of cash "just in case" a Black Swan event blindsides us.
I think that’s all the signal we need to prepare ourselves as self-reliant citizens.
Since Black Swan events are often only characterized by their unexpected and unpredictable nature, they can be hard to think about preparing for.
The most important thing you can do is to continue to strengthen and build out your preps around the most important items for survival. Take steps each and every day, and you’ll be more likely to survive any unexpected crisis.
I hope you’ve found today’s story to be informative and helpful in your preparedness journey.
Stay alert and have a great weekend, friends!
Talk to you next week. Stay alert friends!
Preparedness Advisor, My Patriot Supply
Previous Black Swan Article: What is a Black Swan Event?
- http://www.bbc.com/news/world-42365191 http://www.therepublic.com/2018/03/15/us-russia-sanctions/