Cyber Attack, EMP & Your Wealth

As global geopolitical tensions rise we were served a timely reminder on Monday of the modern weapon of cyber attack.  The US and UK issued a joint alert blaming Russia for a coordinated global cyber attack campaign they say began in 2015 but is poised to launch offensive attacks soon.  From UK press:

“Counter-terrorism expert Michael Clarke, who specialises in defence studies, has urged the public to be ready for “cyber warfare” within the next two or three weeks.

He said: ”I suspect Russia will choose not to respond in military terms. But cyber warfare is highly likely.

"It will be an attack on national infrastructure, not just upsetting city firms, but getting inside the transport system, or the health system, or air traffic control. It could affect everyone."”

The joint alert is not new, just 2 months ago the US and UK accused Russia of the so called “NotPetya” cyber attack in 2017 on Ukraine crippling it’s infrastructure and also computers all around the world.

But it’s not just ‘hacking’ type cyber attacks that authorities are worried about.  From Bloomberg:

“Last [November] US federal agencies and utility executives held GridEx IV, a biennial event where officials responsible for hundreds of local utilities game out scenarios in which North America’s power grid could fail. Potential calamities both physical and cyber are reviewed, with participant responses analysed to better prepare for any future attack.”

One of the scenarios is EMP’s or nuclear Electromagnetic Pulse attacks.  Such an attack wipes out most anything electronic via a mid-air nuclear detonation.  So real is the threat, the US Congress renewed funding for the Commission to Assess the Threat to the U.S. from Electromagnetic Pulse Attack as part of the National Defence Authorization Act.

So what is the relevance for physical precious metals bullion and crypto currencies?  The reality is, most of people’s wealth is held both digitally and centrally.  What happens if a cyber attack or EMP hits the very institution that holds the digital records of your hard earned? 

Physical gold and silver bullion can’t be hacked and it can’t be EMP’d.  Period.  You still have your wealth and courtesy of that very same attack we’d respectfully suggest it will now be worth a whole lot more….

Crypto currencies are held in the blockchain.  The blockchain is a decentralised ledger sitting on thousands of computers dispersed all around the world.  If, say, the US or UK is hit by an EMP, the ledger survives on computers from Angola to Zimbabwe. Even if the whole internet goes down (and let’s face it you now have bigger problems anyway…), in theory it will come back up and that ledger still sits on all those computers that can now talk to it again.  If you have a cold wallet like our Ainslie Crypto Wallet it’s not connected to the internet and is not electronic and hence your key to your crypto survives both cyber hacking and EMP.

These may seem extreme events but they are events openly being contemplated and planned for by our governments.  How’s your plan?