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Nicole Perlroth “This Is How They Tell Me the World Ends”



Nicole Perlroth

Nicole Perlroth: On April 21, the Strauss Center hosted New York Times cybersecurity reporter Nicole Perlroth for a virtual talk on her new book, “This Is How They Tell Me the World Ends: The Cyber Weapons Arms Race,” chaired by Strauss Center Director Bobby Chesney. Perloth began her presentation by giving a summary of the circumstances that led up to her creating the book. Perloth’s reporting identified a slew of cyber vulnerabilities in the United States for which no policy answers were available, including Russia’s escalation of cyberattacks on the United States and Iran’s increased cyber espionage. Perloth set out to investigate the market for hardware and software vulnerabilities in order to determine the United States’ position on these flaws and to further investigate policy options for dealing with this growing problem. She discovered that governments are consumers, not regulators, in the market for vulnerabilities. As a result, her book strives to educate both individuals and legislators on these issues so that efforts can be done to prevent the harms caused by exploiting vulnerabilities.

Nicole Perlroth This Is How They Tell Me the World Ends

Nicole Perlroth

Perloth then went over two recent cyber incidents, the Microsoft Hafnium breach and the Solarwinds attack, noting that the former was a classic example of Chinese intellectual property theft, while the latter was a novel breach because the attackers broke into government systems through a domestic company. When questioned about legislative options for bolstering cyber security in the United States, Perloth mentioned the possibility of granting tax incentives to enterprises that maintain secure cyber design. Perloth also spoke about the difficulties of attracting and maintaining top cyber talent in the United States, citing the “skill scarcity” caused by more lucrative job opportunities in the private sector. She proposed a public-private collaboration in which government agencies may accept talent from top domestic tech firms for short-term tours of duty. Perloth asked questions on the efficacy of hack-back operations, the role of growing cyber powers, the impact of non-state actors on the cyber security landscape, and more during the Q&A session. You can listen to the entire talk below, and you can buy her book here.

Nicole Perlroth Biography

Nicole Perlroth is a New York Times award-winning cybersecurity journalist whose work has been optioned for film and television. She graduated from Princeton University and Stanford University and is a regular lecturer at the Stanford Graduate School of Business. She lives in the Bay Area with her family, but she is increasingly drawn to their home in the woods, where they live off the grid.

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