The Danger of Cyber Attacks on Critical Infrastructure: Book Review of “Lethal Code” by Thomas Waite, with Some Personal Thoughts

Gil Keini, Head of Product, EIS

June 28, 2024

Critical Infrastructure

Thomas Waite’s “Lethal Code” is a gripping techno-thriller that plunges readers into the terrifying world of cyber warfare. Set against the backdrop of major cyber attacks on critical infrastructure in the United States, the book explores the vulnerabilities and potential chaos that can arise when critical infrastructure is targeted by malicious hackers. With its fast-paced narrative and well-researched technological details, “Lethal Code” offers both a thrilling read and a sobering warning about the modern world’s reliance on digital systems.


“The collective result of these kinds of attacks could be a cyber Pearl Harbor; an attack that would cause physical destruction and the loss of life. In fact, it would paralyze and shock the nation and create a new, profound sense of vulnerability . . .

“Before September 11, 2001, the warning signs were there. We weren’t organized. We weren’t ready and we suffered terribly for that lack of attention. We cannot let that happen again. This is a pre-9/11 moment.”

Summary of “Lethal Code”

“Lethal Code” begins with a seemingly ordinary day in Washington DC, but it immediately spirals into chaos as a sophisticated cyberattack disrupts power grids, communication networks, and essential services. The protagonist, Lana Elkins, is a top cybersecurity expert who is thrust into the heart of the crisis. As she races against time to identify the attackers and thwart further damage, she uncovers a plot more sinister than anyone had imagined. The narrative is packed with suspense, as Lana and her team navigate the complexities of cyber defense, facing both technical challenges and human treachery. Waite’s writing is both engaging and informative, making complex cybersecurity concepts accessible to a general audience while keeping the tension high throughout the story.

The Danger of Cyber Attacks on Critical Infrastructure

One of the central themes of “Lethal Code” is the vulnerability of critical infrastructure to cyberattacks and the total reliance of civilization on technology. In today’s interconnected world, essential services such as electricity, water supply, transportation, and healthcare are heavily dependent on digital systems. This dependency creates significant risks, as demonstrated in the book when a coordinated cyberattack brings an entire nation to its knees. Waite effectively highlights how such attacks can have cascading effects, disrupting not only the targeted systems but also the lives of ordinary people who rely on these services.

The dangers posed by cyberattacks are not just fictional. Real-world incidents, such as the 2015 cyberattack on Ukraine’s power grid, which left hundreds of thousands of people without electricity, underscore the potential for significant harm. Waite’s depiction of a large-scale cyberattack serves as a chilling reminder of the potential consequences.

Preparing for and Improving Resilience Against Cyberattacks

Infrastructure Resilience

“Lethal Code” underscores the importance of preparing for cyberattacks and improving the resilience of critical infrastructure. As the book vividly illustrates, a lack of preparedness can lead to widespread disruption and chaos. Governments, organizations, and individuals must recognize the importance of cybersecurity and take proactive steps to protect essential systems.

One key aspect of preparation is investing in robust and protected infrastructure. This includes not only implementing advanced technological defenses but also ensuring that there are skilled professionals capable of responding to incidents. Regular training and drills can help organizations stay prepared for potential attacks, allowing them to respond quickly and effectively.

Improving resilience also involves designing systems with such catastrophic events in mind. By ensuring that critical infrastructure can continue to operate even in an extreme event (such as an attack or natural disaster), the overall impact can be mitigated. Collaboration between the public and private sectors is essential in this regard, as sharing information and resources can enhance collective security.

In conclusion, Thomas Waite’s “Lethal Code” is more than just a thrilling novel; it is a wake-up call about the vulnerabilities of our modern world. By highlighting the dangers of cyberattacks on critical infrastructure and emphasizing the need for preparedness and resilience, Waite’s book offers valuable insights for anyone concerned about the security of our increasingly interconnected society. As we continue to rely on digital systems, it is imperative that we take the lessons from “Lethal Code” to heart and work together to protect our critical infrastructure and keep them operating even under extreme events.

We’re all connected; we’re all vulnerable.

Join the EIS Council in shaping a resilient future.

Create Impact with us:

Join our membership and
contribution programs:

Get involved >>

Participate in our
upcoming events:

Events >>

Schedule a call with
our experts:

Consult >>

Our upcoming events:


The Role of Redundancy in Critical Infrastructure Protection

The Role of Redundancy in Critical Infrastructure Protection In today’s interconnected world, the reliability and security of critical infrastructure are more important than ever. From power grids to water supply systems, these essential services underpin the functioning of modern society. Ensuring their continuous operation, especially during emergencies, is paramount. This is where redundancy plays a […]

Learn more

The Ripple Effect: How Critical Infrastructure Vulnerabilities and Failures Stall Business Operations

Critical infrastructure vulnerabilities serve as the initial weak links that can trigger significant disruptions, arising from natural disasters or deliberate attacks by bad actors. These vulnerabilities, which may include outdated systems, insufficient maintenance, lack of robust safeguards against extreme weather, outdated security protocols, or unpatched software, create a fragile foundation for essential services like electricity, […]

Learn more

The Psychological Impact of Infrastructure Failures on Communities

Infrastructure is crucial for any community, serving as the backbone that supports our daily lives. It includes everything from the roads and bridges we travel on, to the water supply and electricity that power our homes. These systems are essential for society to function properly. But when infrastructure failures occur, the fallout can reach far […]

Learn more