Cyber Squirrel 1

Cyber Squirrel 1 has existed for nearly eight years now. Eight years of cataloging power outages caused by squirrels but also birds, snakes, raccoons, rats, slugs, sharks, jellyfish, etc… The overall data paints a pretty bleak picture of the fragility of our electrical transmission infrastructure While most people seldom experience a power outage, there is probably a power outage somewhere for every minute of the day. Our fury, and some not so fury, friends cause many of those outages. By comparison, anything coming close to resembling a cyber attack cause a miniscule fraction of one percent of these outages.

I created Cyber Squirrel 1 as a humorous tongue-in-cheek effort to counter the increasingly scary rhetoric surrounding the prophesying of nationwide power outages caused by cyber attack. We never claimed that a cyber attack could not cause a power outage, in fact there are now several examples of that occurring. However, the doomsday scenarios of wide scale power outages lasting for days or weeks is so unlikely that mostly it is not worth worrying about. Yes, there is a risk, (information and physical) security at most power companies is pretty appalling, a cyber induced power outage is possible, but the risk of a major wide-scale outage is nowhere near the level of hype that cyberwar hawks have been spouting.

As an end cap to the Cyber Squirrel 1 project, and to officially close it out, we are releasing all the collected data, charts, graphs, documentation, etc… under the Creative Commons Share-Alike 4.0 license. The dataset measures 17MB .zip and can be found on the Internet Archive here.


P.S. Try your hand at the new Cyber Squirrel 1 video game.