Defining, Evaluating, Preparing for and Responding to a Cyber Pearl Harbor

Jeremy Straub

Despite not having a clear meaning, public perception and awareness makes the term cyber Pearl Harbor an important part of the public discourse. This paper considers what the term has meant and proposes its decomposition based on three different aspects of the historical Pearl Harbor attack, allowing the lessons from Pearl Harbor to be applied to threats and subjects that may not align with all aspects of the 1941 attack. Using these three definitions, prior attacks and current threats are assessed and preparation for and response to cyber Pearl Harbor events is discussed.

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