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Communications of the ACM


The SolarWinds Hack, and a Grand Challenge for CS Education


December 21, 2020

For all its breadth, depth, and skillful insertion via the supply chain, the latest hack of critical departments of the U.S. government—and of many leading corporations from around the world—should come as no surprise. Twenty-two years ago, as American forces were readying to strike Iraq for violations of an agreed-upon U.N. weapons inspection regime, deep intrusions into sensitive military information systems were detected. Enough material was accessed that, if printed out, it would have made a stack over 500 feet tall. The investigation into this hack, code-named "Solar Sunrise," unearthed a group of teenagers, two in Northern California, one in Canada, and a young Israeli computer wizard, Ehud Tenenbaum.


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