Many people are wondering if the NYSE, Wall Street, and United Airline outages were due to some form of a coordinated cyber attack:

Igor Baikalov, chief scientist at data analytics firm Securonix, is nevertheless concerned. He told us if the Department of Homeland Security and the Federal Bureau of Investigations are ruling out a cyberattack as the cause of outages at United Airlines, the NYSE, and the WSJ — all happening in the span of a few hours on Wednesday morning — then our technological foundation is in a really bad shape.

“It’s our critical infrastructure we’re talking about. To have vital transportation, financial, and media companies, that are heavily dependent on technology, experience disrupting ‘glitches’ in their busiest hours is something that only global war game scenario can envision,” Baikalov said. “It’s just not something that one plans for in real life.”

NYSE President Tom Farley said an SEC (U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission) software update that morning could have triggered the outage. With that in mind, Baikalov asked a pointed question: Was it really that much cheaper to deploy system-wide changes right before the opening bell, and bring the whole thing down, than to execute a careful deployment overnight, with sufficient time for testing and reversing the changes if needed?

“I mean, these are serious companies with smart people doing expensive stuff — it’s not some low-life Internet of Things — how could the basic principles of information security be so ignored? Perhaps,” he said. “I stick with the conspiracy theory of nation-state retaliation for the market crash — or alien invasion.”