WT Business Beat

By Nick Wakeman

Blog archive
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 12:16 PM

Reader Comments

Please post your comments here. Comments are moderated, so they may not appear immediately after submitting. We will not post comments that we consider abusive or off-topic.

Please type the letters/numbers you see above

What is your e-mail address?

My e-mail address is:

Do you have a password?

Forgot your password? Click here


  • Dive into our Contract Award database

    In an exclusive for WT Insider members, we are collecting all of the contract awards we cover into a database that you can sort by contractor, agency, value and other parameters. You can also download it into a spreadsheet. Our databases track awards back to 2013. Read More

  • Navigating the trends and issues of 2016 Nick Wakeman

    In our latest WT Insider Report, we pull together our best advice, insights and reporting on the trends and issues that will shape the market in 2016 and beyond. Read More

contracts DB

Washington Technology Daily

Sign up for our newsletter.

Terms and Privacy Policy consent

I agree to this site's Privacy Policy.