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…