The plot line on “24” has made it through its big early twist and is now dealing with the real business at hand. First, an Islamic terrorist group kidnapped the secretary of defense to subject him to a show trial for war crimes; the plan was to execute him live on the Internet. But once and future Counterterrorism Unit station chief Jack Bauer (CTU is like a combo of the FBI and CIA and NSA, except more fashion-conscious, futuristic, and failure-prone than all of the real-life agencies put together) figured out what was going on and terminated the bad Muslims’ plans with extreme prejudice. As the gunplay unfolded and Marine recon forces arrived to mop up, it was clear that everything had all gone a little too easily. Plus, the season still has about 18 episodes to run. So the whole secretary of defense thing was a diversion from the real terrorist scheme. Within minutes, the scriptwriters revealed the real plot: The bad Muslims had figured out a way to take over every nuclear power plant in the United States, more than 100 of them, and cause core meltdowns across the country. Scary!
OK: That’s “24.” Here’s “reality”: Security Focus, a good source on network security issues, ran a story the other day talking about a new initiative from the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission to implement new safeguards against computer intruders. Just an interesting coincidence. People are talking about it on Slashdot.