Wednesday January 13, 2016

New website claims squirrels are the real cyber threat

The man behind the website cybersquirrel.com says squirrels are the real threat in cyber attacks.

The man behind the website cybersquirrel.com says squirrels are the real threat in cyber attacks. (Tom Dorsey/AP)

Listen 6:00

A new website claims to show systematic cyber attacks waged on power lines across the globe. But the culprit is not a rogue nation attacking the power grid over the internet. Instead, the attack is from the animal kingdom — squirrels.

"Squirrel attacks are quite frequent ... and you should worry about them much more than you should an electronic cyber attack," says Cyber Squirrel, the handle of the man behind the database.

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A map shows the amount of confirmed power outtages caused by animals in North America. (cybersquirrel1.com/)

"When it comes to power outages, there seems to be much more hype and fear and uncertainty and doubt attributed to the cyber attack versus the squirrel attack, which happens all the time."

According to an interactive map featured on Cyber Squirrel's website, there have been over 35 "unclassified" squirrel attacks reported in Canada and 623 attacks worldwide.

chart

A chart depicts the amount of successful attacks on power grids worldwide (cybersquirrel1.com/)

Squirrels and other animals are not hacking into the grid through computers.

"Sometimes they gnaw on cables, they end up getting electrocuted." Remember what happened to Toronto's Trinity Bellwoods white squirrel?

cybersquirrel

The logo of cybersquirrel1.com (cybersquirrel1.com)

Cyber Squirrel says customers can also lose power because the shielding on the infrastructure of the power grid is inadequate. "They [animals] create a ground short causing the electricity to flow through the animal instead of the wire."

Cyber Squirrel wishes to remain anonymous. Because the work he's doing could be seen to be in conflict with the work he does at his day job. If you're wondering ... no, he does not work with squirrels.