Amid fears of Russian hackers, expert warns of threat from squirrel cyberattack

Posted On Thu, January 19, 2017 By

Posted On Thu, January 19, 2017 By In maps, Technology

As the U.S. goes collectively nuts over the possibility of alleged Russian hacking and its effects on the election, the Washington Post tells of at least one cybersecurity expert devoted to exposing the very real threat of cyberattack by “an insidious bushy-tailed foe.” We’re reminded that in 1987, a squirrel nibbled Nasdaq’s computer center (literally) into the black for 90 minutes, upending 20 million trades.

The recent government investigation into the Russian hacking threat—reportedly almost two of every three Americans and eight of ten Democrats believe that the election was affected by it according to a Washington Post-ABC News poll—has reawakened the common doomsday scenario; Former National Security Agency and U.S. Cyber Command chief Keith Alexander cautioned last fall: “Practically speaking, an adversary is going to go after our civilian infrastructure first.”

squirrel-hacker-map-1

Cybersecurity expert Cris Thomas (also known as @CyberSquirrel1) has been tracking and mapping reports of “cyberwar operations” by squirrels since 2013. But the problem isn’t limited to these four-legged cyberterrorists. Thomas’s running lists expose other animal saboteurs, including caterpillars and mice.

While this all may sound like a joke, Thomas said quite seriously at an annual East Coast hacker convention this week, “If these numbers are accurate, squirrels just aren’t winning the cyberwar, they’re crushing it.”

Thomas told The Post that although “we need to tone it down a little bit” regarding the hacking hype, some resources should be devoted to the infrastructure weaknesses exposed by scampering cyberattackers.

 

[Via Washington Post]

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