How Many Cyberattacks Hit the United States Last Year?

March 8, 2013

Brian Fung

Thanks to the warnings of senior lawmakers and Obama admiistration officials, Americans are growing more aware of online vulnerabilities that could lead to a “cyber Pearl Harbor” attack. By definition, such a catastrophe would be extraordinarily rare, its chances perhaps no more than one in a ... what, exactly?

It’s hard to talk about odds when the pool of minor cyberincidents is growing larger every day. Depending on when it arrives, the first major cybervent against the United States could be a one-in-2 million incident or a one-in-10-trillion incident. But noise from garden-variety hacks shouldn't just be ignored in a broader search for the next 9/11. Understanding those day-to-day online skirmishes can help reveal the scale of the broader problem.

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