By Robert Lemos, John Borland,
Lisa Bowman and Sandeep Junnarkar
Staff Writers, CNET News.com
August 26, 2002, 4:00 AM PT
Doomsday predictions of a "digital Pearl Harbor" have persisted in the year since the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11.
The specter was a driving force behind controversial new law enforcement measures portrayed as necessary by the government but decried by civil libertarians as an assault on constitutional rights to privacy. Yet security experts, network managers and public safety officials say privately that the threat of cyberterrorism has been overblown and misunderstood--and that physical attacks remain far easier to carry out.
As a result, government officials and industry leaders may have spent needless effort addressing an arguably nonexistent enemy at a time when all resources are needed to guard against more realistic dangers. In this three-day special report, CNET News.com reporters in New York, San Francisco and Washington examine the technological and political realities of this volatile issue.