Technothriller threat of the week: insect-borne bioterrorism!

Paul Raven @ 18-05-2010

Via Bruce Schneier, still tirelessly cataloguing the monetization and manipulation of movie-plot threats: a workshop to “address the threat of insect-based terrorism”.

How real is the threat? Many of the world’s most dangerous pathogens already are transmitted by arthropods, the animal phylum that includes mosquitoes. But so far the United States has not been exposed to a large-scale spread of vector-borne diseases like Rift Valley, chikungunya fever or Japanese encephalitis. But terrorists with a cursory knowledge of science could potentially release insects carrying these diseases in a state with a tropical climate like Florida’s, according to several experts who will speak at the workshop.

I’m no expert, and I’ll gladly cede the floor to someone who can really run the numbers on this sort of thing, but it strikes me that the effort involved in kicking off a terror plot involving the use of insects to spread killer diseases (not to mention the number of failure points and spill-overs involved in using the natural world as your attack vector) makes this a complete non-starter.

Lovely pulp-era plot hook, though…

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3 Responses to “Technothriller threat of the week: insect-borne bioterrorism!”

  1. csven says:

    Thank goodness for the Flying Vaccinator program!

  2. Steve Wilson says:

    Hopefully Scully and Mulder will prevent the Syndicate from completing their nefarious plague-bee plot.

  3. khannea says:

    I said this years ago. Take ten insects, funguses and pests from asia, africa and south america – and release them at the right place, season and conditions in *say* the US and you cause trillions in economic damage. This is nothing to laugh about or disparage, it will be used soon and it will be ridiculously easy to cause indescribable hardship in this manner. And it is impossible to do anything about it – it takes one boat with a hidden compartment, a few divers and a botanist and epidemologist.

    Investment – under one million. Countermeasures – will cost hundreds of billions. Great trade-off.