Research Brief – The SolarWinds Cyber Incident: Consequences & Policy Options

By Dr Danny Steed

Research Brief

‘The SolarWinds Cyber Incident: Consequences & Policy Options’

By Dr Danny Steed, Research Fellow

March 2021


“The SolarWinds cyber incident, reported in December 2020, marks a dark moment for cyber security through the compromise of the trusted update system. Much like the WannaCry and Not-Petya global ransomware attacks in 2017, SolarWinds signals yet another elevation of threat and vulnerability in cyberspace.

This policy briefing will examine what happened and the scale of the compromise, before outlining the six challenges it poses to British policymakers. The briefing will conclude with a series of domestic and international policy proposals to assist the British government in developing more substantive policies that do not focus exclusively on technology.”




About the Author:

Dr Danny Steed, Research Fellow

Danny Steed is a research fellow who is particularly engaged in the Henry Jackson Society’s Centre for Cyber, Data, and Online Threats. Previously Danny was Lecturer in Strategy and Defence at the University of Exeter, where he created and delivered numerous courses specialising in national security strategy to student, professional, and military cadres.

Danny has also worked in UK government service in an operational cyber security capacity.  Since then, Danny has been in private industry as a Head of Strategy. During that time, he avidly continued his own scholarship, as a visiting fellow to both the University of Cranfield and the Cyber Norms Program at the University of Leiden in 2019, and continuing to contribute to taught courses, publications and academic events.

Frequently requested as a public speaker, Danny’s most notable keynote address was delivered at the Dutch government’s One Conference 2019 in The Hague, where he spoke on the future generations of cyber security strategies.

He is the author of two books, British Strategy and Intelligence in the Suez Crisis, and The Politics and Technology of Cyberspace, published by Palgrave in 2016 and Routledge in 2019 respectively.


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