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Posted by John Keller

Most people have been trying to ignore this for a long time because it's just too gruesome to think about, but the next World War (World War III, IV, or V, depending on who's talking) is likely to be fought on the battlefield of the Internet.

When the smoke clears, say bye-bye to your desktop CPUs, laptop computers, PDAs and iPhones. They'll all be gone, one way or another.

During the Normandy Invasion 62 years ago, only the civilians who were foolish or who couldn't get out of the way quickly enough remained in Western France as the Allies and the Nazis fought over a continent. Likewise, only the foolish or the unlucky will be on the Internet when the next Big One happens.

There probably won't be much to see online, anyway. When the cyber shooting starts, most Internet providers will go down as governments, utilities, banks, and big retailers pull the plug on their networks in desperate attempts to head off the certain waves of hackers and super computer viruses that will sweep over the Net like American soldiers who overran Utah Beach.

McAfee Inc. released a report this week called the Virtual Criminology Report 2007, and its pretty scary. I'm not convinced we're ready for the kinds of cyber warfare we're going to see in the perhaps not-so-distant future -- even with creation of organizations like Air Force Cyberspace Command (AFCYBER), which will be attached to the 8th Air Force at Barksdale Air Force Base, La.

We're getting so used to doing our banking online, shopping online, even reading the news online like you're doing now. The next big war is going to change all that. We'll all just have to wait and see how it plays out.

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Welcome to the lighter side of Military & Aerospace Electronics. This is where our staff recount tales of the strange, the weird, and the otherwise offbeat. We could put news here, but we have the rest of our Website for that. Enjoy our scribblings, and feel free to add your own opinions. You might also get to know us in the process. Proceed at your own risk.

John Keller for MAE
John Keller is editor-in-chief of Military & Aerospace Electronics magazine, which provides extensive coverage and analysis of enabling electronic and optoelectronic technologies in military, space, and commercial aviation applications. A member of the Military & Aerospace Electronics staff since the magazine's founding in 1989, Mr. Keller took over as chief editor in 1995.

Courtney Howard for MAE Courtney E. Howard is senior editor of Military & Aerospace Electronics magazine. She is responsible for writing news stories and feature articles for the print publication, as well as composing daily news for the magazine's Website and assembling the weekly electronic newsletter. Her features have appeared in such high-tech trade publications as Military & Aerospace Electronics, Computer Graphics World, Electronic Publishing, Small Times, and The Audio Amateur.

John McHale for MAE John McHale is executive editor of Military & Aerospace Electronics magazine, where he has been covering the defense Industry for more than dozen years. During that time he also led PennWell's launches of magazines and shows on homeland security and a defense publication and website in Europe. Mr. McHale has served as chairman of the Military & Aerospace Electronics Forum and its Advisory Council since 2004. He lives in Boston with his golf clubs.