How ‘Battlestar Galactica’ explains Heartbleed
BY BRIAN FUNG
Here’s the latest on Heartbleed: The critical Internet vulnerability doesn’t just affect Web services, but also extends to routers and networking hardware. Yes, that means that a hacker who gains access to a vulnerable router might be able to grab information from said router and use it against you — that is, unless your equipment is too old to be affected by the bug.
For anyone who’s watched Battlestar Galactica, this might sound familiar. In the opening hours of the Second Cylon War, the Galactica was among the humans’ few surviving warships after a crippling surprise attack by invading robots. Many of the fleet’s other battlestars were caught in a Pearl Harbor-like situation: disabled in spacedock, then mercilessly destroyed.
The ships were crippled by a devastating electronic attack that took advantage of a flaw in the Command Navigation Program, the operating system on which the fleet relied. The fleet’s networked computers allowed the hack to spread, shutting down systems everywhere. With their vessels offline, the Colonial fleet proved helpless against the onslaught. Their over-dependence on technology led to their defeat. But Galactica, being a much older battlestar, escaped. The CNP was never installed on its computers, nor were its computers ever networked. Galactica’s second-generation fighter craft were similarly behind the times — but in a head-to-head fight with the Cylons, this proved to be an advantage. Electronic warfare techniques didn’t work against them.