SolarWinds Hack: Why We Need Defense, Not Retaliation

January 31, 2021
William Akoto
This is a summary of an article originally published by The Conversation.

Akoto writes that "[Biden’s] administration faces pressure from members of Congress in both parties and former government officials to respond forcefully to the SolarWinds breach."  Whatever response is chosen, "the U.S. government may not be able to stop future intrusions into American computer systems." On the contrary, Akoto states that "research strongly indicates that retaliation – in whatever form it might take – will almost certainly invite counterhacks from Russia, worsening tensions between the countries and potentially escalating into the offline world."  The author further argues "there is only one way to prepare – and it’s to accept that hackers will keep trying to attack." Akoto concludes that "[t]he ultimate objective would be not to prevent systems from being breached, but to limit the damage and speed the recovery when they are broken into. My research, and others’, indicates this could be an effective way to address the new reality of state-sponsored hacking while realizing there is no way to truly prevent future attacks."

Read the full article at The Conversation. 


William Akoto

William Akoto is an assistant professor of international politics at Fordham University.

Image by Santeri Viinamäki shared under a Creative Commons 4.0 license.