The Russian ‘Cyber Pearl Harbor’ That Wasn’t,

Sean Lawson is associate professor of Communication at the University of Utah and Brandon Valeriano, Donald Bren Chair of Military Innovation at the Marine Corps University

For almost three decades, we have awaited a mythical “cyber Pearl Harbor,” the harbinger of digital doom that the U.S. cybersecurity community assumes to be inevitable. Strangely enough, some believe this cyber Pearl Harbor already happened twice within the last two months.

Though warnings of cyber Pearl Harbor emerged as early as 1991, former defense secretary Leon Panetta is perhaps best known for promoting the idea, warning in 2012 of an impending “cyber-Pearl Harbor that would cause physical destruction and the loss of life, an attack that would paralyze and shock the nation.” Such a grand event would be tough to miss.

The recent SolarWinds hack is no excuse for doomsday rhetoric, especially from those who have been leveling it for decades.

Last week, Sidney Powell, a one-time member of the president’s legal team, continued to promote her conspiracy theory that the Venezuelans, the Chinese, and “other countries” had exploited voting machines to rig the election for President-elect Joe Biden. This fictitious “attack,” she told Fox Business host Lou Dobbs, amounted to nothing less than “cyber Pearl Harbor.” Apparently the rest of us just missed it.

Cybersecurity experts, including Christopher Krebs, the former head of the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency who was fired by President Trump in November, have refuted these claims. Krebs called them “farcical” and “nonsensical.” Officials have said there was no interference with voting machines of the kind claimed by Trump supporters and that the election was “the most secure in American history.” Läs artikel