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Saving the World With 50-Year-Old IT

They only have to be right once.

Words: Laicie Heeley
Pictures: Marc Johns / Cast from Clay

In December 2020, the company FireEye noticed that it had been the victim of a cyber intrusion. And it wasn’t the only one. About 18,000 companies and government agencies were breached, everything from the agency that controls America’s nuclear weapons, to the agency that regulates the electric grid, to a company whose products you probably use every day: Microsoft. So, what did they have in common? They were all using the same software monitoring service: a platform called Orion, from the company SolarWinds.

The breach leaves the US open to nightmare scenario after nightmare scenario. So how did we get here, and how can we prevent similar attacks in the future?

Listen and subscribe now on Apple PodcastsStitcherSpotifyPocket Casts, or wherever you get your podcasts to receive a new episode every two weeks.

GUESTS: Mieke Eoyang, Senior Vice President for the National Security Program and Chairperson of the Cyber Enforcement Initiative, Third Way; Juliet Okafor, Founder and CEO, Revolution Cyber


Cybercrime vs. Cyberwar: Paradigms for Addressing Malicious Cyber Activity, Journal of National Security Law and Policy.

To Catch a Hacker.

A Moment of Reckoning: The Need for a Strong and Global Cybersecurity Response, Microsoft.

Laicie Heeley

Editor in Chief

Laicie Heeley is the founding CEO of Inkstick Media, where she serves as Editor in Chief of the foreign policy magazine Inkstick and Executive Producer and Host of the PRX- and Inkstick-produced podcast, Things That Go Boom. Heeley’s reporting has appeared on public radio stations across America and the BBC, where she’s explored global security issues including domestic terrorism, disinformation, nuclear weapons, and climate change. Prior to launching Inkstick, Heeley was a Fellow with the Stimson Center’s Budgeting for Foreign Affairs and Defense program and Policy Director at the Center for Arms Control and Non-Proliferation. Her publications include work on sanctions, diplomacy, and nuclear arms control and nonproliferation, along with the first full accounting of US counterterrorism spending after 9/11.


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