January 25, 2011

Sean Lawson tempers cyber doom

  • Jerry Brito

    Former Senior Research Fellow
  • Sean Lawson

    Assistant Professor, Department of Communication, University of Utah
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Sean Lawson, an assistant professor in the Department of Communication at the University of Utah and a contributor to the Forbes.com security blog, The Firewall, discusses his new Mercatus Center working paper, Beyond Cyber-Doom: Cyberattack Scenarios and the Evidence of History. Cyber security may be the new black, but it’s been a significant policy issue since the 1980s. Lawson talks about the current cyber security discourse, addressing conflation of diverse threats, overemphasis on hypothetical doom scenarios, and the resulting effects on policy proposals. He then looks to the history of disasters, including blackouts, the attacks of 9/11, and Hurricane Katrina, to help estimate impacts from potential cyber disasters. Lawson also discusses incorrect doomsday predictions about WWII aerial bombardment, and he offers a few conclusions and policy recommendations based on his research.