MIAMI (CBS4) – What would happen if the Internet suddenly stopped working?  Yesterday, we got a small taste.

First, Gmail went down for eighteen minutes, Google Drive had a short outage and Facebook was briefly zonked.

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No big deal, but could we cope if there’s a major Internet outage?

Hackers, accidents, terrorists, even solar storms could conceivably take down the Internet.

This past weekend, hackers came close to stopping production at Aramco, the company that provides a tenth of the world’s oil.

Superstorm Sandy knocked out Internet service for lots of people; it made us here at the station in Miami lose email for days.

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The Pentagon has recognized cyberspace as a new domain in warfare and, in his new novel, Tom Clancy paints a frightening picture of what Chinese cyber warfare could do.

Experts worry that a huge outage for just a couple of days could lead to mass unemployment, bank runs and general panic.

And we’ve become so dependent on the Internet that it could be psychologically wrenching too.

I don’t know about you, but I’ve seen that dependence first hand when Internet service has gone down at home.  My wife and daughter, Internet junkies, somehow blame me.

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Next time it happens, I’m going to a hotel.