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By Nick Wakeman

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Nick Wakeman

No more cyber Pearl Harbor talk, please

During Ashton Carter’s confirmation hearing Wednesday, the future defense secretary was asked if he thought there would be a cyber Pearl Harbor, and whether we were prepared.

His answer was that a cyber Pearl Harbor is a matter of when, not if, that we are unprepared for it.

I agree with the second part of the question – we are unprepared. But I disagree with the first part because there is plenty of evidence that a cyber Pearl Harbor has either already happened, or we are in the midst of it.

Look at some of the major hacking events of the last couple years:

  • Target
  • Home Depot
  • Edward Snowden
  • JPMorgan Chase & Co.
  • Neiman Marcus
  • Ebay
  • Sony

The financial damage of these attacks is in the hundreds of millions of dollars, and Snowden’s damage to national security is immeasurable.

And on the same day Carter was testifying, insurance giant Anthem announced they had been hit by a massive data breach.

Government agencies are under constant attack, so it’s time to stop talking about a cyber Pearl Harbor as if it is an event in the future.

The question is a distraction because it implies we don’t need to do anything until something horrible happens. But plenty of bad stuff is happening right now.

Taken as a group, these events show that Pearl Harbor is now. We’re not waiting for the war to start. It has already started.

Posted by Nick Wakeman on Feb 05, 2015 at 9:30 AM


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