Our web series, Wait Just a Minute, asks experts to answer complex questions about global affairs in 60 seconds. In this episode, national security correspondent and senior writer for the New York Times, David Sanger answers questions on cyberattacks: why they've become the new weapon of choice for foreign adversaries, the most likely suspects behind the next cyberattack, and who he'd most like to interview on the subject.
Why are cyberattacks the new weapon of choice?
They're cheap, they're deniable, they're easy to dial up or dial down, so that you can avoid getting a military response from your target. And most importantly of all, cyber weapons are malleable to whatever political need you particularly have. You can make them highly targeted or you can do them very broadly.
Where is the next cyberattack most likely to originate?
The four big adversaries that the US worries about the most are Russia, China, Iran, and North Korea. But each one of them has very different targets in mind, and very different capabilities.
What keeps you up at night?
We've been sitting around waiting for the big "cyber Pearl Harbor" attack, and, in fact, it's the many other uses of cyber for data manipulation, for the kind of information warfare you saw in the 2016 campaign, that can be the most pernicious.
Who would you most like to interview?
Maybe the head of the GRU, the Russian intelligence service. They're the ones who've launched most of the most innovative attacks against the United States.