Computing Community Consortium Blog

The goal of the Computing Community Consortium (CCC) is to catalyze the computing research community to debate longer range, more audacious research challenges; to build consensus around research visions; to evolve the most promising visions toward clearly defined initiatives; and to work with the funding organizations to move challenges and visions toward funding initiatives. The purpose of this blog is to provide a more immediate, online mechanism for dissemination of visioning concepts and community discussion/debate about them.

NSF WATCH TALK- 35 Years of Cyberwar: The Squirrels are Winning

July 17th, 2017 / in Announcements, NSF, research horizons, Research News / by Helen Wright

The next WATCH talk, called 35 Years of Cyberwar: The Squirrels are Winning is Thursday, July 20th, from 12 PM-1 PM ET.

The presenter is Cris Thomas (aka Space Rogue) from IBM. Cris has an uncanny ability to link disparate events, read between the lines and distill complex, technical information into readily understandable, accessible and actionable intelligence. He and his colleagues created the first security research think tank, L0pht Heavy Industries, and the widely popular video news show The Hacker News Network. Eager to share his wealth of knowledge on security trends, Cris has testified before the U.S. Senate Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs, and has been interviewed by media organizations such as Wired, MSNBC and even MTV. Before joining IBM he worked at such ground breaking companies as @Stake, Guardent, Trustwave Tenable and others. Cris currently works for IBM X-Force Red where he helps clients understand their risks and how they can meet compliance and security challenges.


Despite years and years of rhetoric concerning the weaknesses in the electronic defenses of the power grid there has yet to be one long term power outage directly caused by a cyber attack. While cyber attacks have not yet taken out the power squirrels have, hundreds of times every year. This talk will examine previous claims of infrastructure cyber attacks such as the Brazil blackout, Turkish pipeline explosion, German steel plant blast furnace and the recent power outages in the Ukraine among others. We will also examine decades of confirmed attacks by squirrels, birds, snakes, and other animals. We will breakdown our meticulously gathered data of cyber squirrel attacks by country, number of people impacted and length of outages and compare that with the same data caused by cyber attack. While some may see cyber squirrel attacks as funny the underlying message is deadly serious. #cyberwar4ever

The talk will be held in Room 110 at the National Science Foundation in Arlington, VA. No RSVP is necessary, and no visitor badges are required. It will also be webcast here

NSF WATCH TALK- 35 Years of Cyberwar: The Squirrels are Winning