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.

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.

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.

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