Squirrels – A Bigger Threat than Cyber Terrorists?

Graphic with password under a magnifying glass

In an event today to launch Cybersecurity and Cyberwar: What Everyone Needs to Know, by Peter W. Singer and Allan Friedman, Singer explained one problem of thinking about the threat from “cyber terrorism” by observing that “squirrels have taken down the power grid more times than the zero times that hackers have.” This leads to an imbalance in how we structurally respond to the threat, he says.

Common_SquirrelSinger, who directs the Center on 21st Century Security and Intelligence, said that “there’s no issue that’s become more important that’s less understood than cybersecurity.” Friedman, a visiting scholar with the Cyber Security Policy Research Institute at George Washington University, explained that the goal of the book is to show how cybersecurity issues are no longer “unique and separate” but are “integrated into everything.”

The conversation, moderated by Noah Shachtman, covered a variety of issues discussed in depth in the book, including cyber offense vs. cyber defense; trust in government following the NSA leaks by Edward Snowden; Internet freedom and governance; and basic Internet hygiene for individuals.

cybersecurity and cyber war coverFollowing the discussion and a Q&A session with the authors, a panel discussion of leading cybersecurity and intelligence journalists followed, including James Ball (The Guardian); Tom Gjelten (NPR); Siobhan Gorman (The Wall Street Journal); and David Sanger (The New York Times). Shachtman also moderated this conversation.

Get full audio of the event here.