Cybersecurity & Tech

The Lawfare Podcast: Timothy Edgar and Paul Rosenzweig on the Volt Typhoon Cyber Intrusion

Matt Gluck, Timothy Edgar, Paul Rosenzweig, Jen Patja
Tuesday, March 19, 2024, 9:00 AM
How should the U.S. government respond to the Volt Typhoon intrusion?

Published by The Lawfare Institute
in Cooperation With

Last May, Microsoft announced that a Chinese state-sponsored hacking group, Volt Typhoon, appeared to be targeting U.S. critical infrastructure and entities abroad in part through establishing a presence in a malware-infected network, or botnet, consisting of old devices located in the United States. At the end of January, the Justice Department announced it had removed the botnet from hundreds of American devices. 

Cybersecurity experts Timothy Edgar and Paul Rosenzweig both wrote articles for Lawfare discussing the Volt Typhoon intrusion and the U.S. response. But the authors take away very different lessons from the intrusion. Edgar argued that although the removal of the botnet was a success in terms of cybersecurity, the legal theory the government relied on for conducting this operation has dangerous privacy implications. Rosenzweig, on the other hand, contended that the Volt Typhoon breach illuminates flawed assumptions at the core of the U.S. cybersecurity strategy, which he says must be reexamined. 

Lawfare Research Fellow Matt Gluck spoke with Edgar and Rosenzweig about why the Volt Typhoon intrusion and the U.S. response that followed matter for the future of U.S. cybersecurity and privacy, how the government should weigh security and privacy when responding to cyber intrusions, whether nuclear conflict is a good analogy for cyber conflict, and much more. 

Matt Gluck is a research fellow at Lawfare. He holds a BA in government from Dartmouth College.
Timothy H. Edgar teaches cybersecurity and digital privacy at Brown University and Harvard Law School. He is the author of Beyond Snowden: Privacy, Mass Surveillance and the Struggle to Reform the NSA. He served as a privacy official in the National Security Staff and in the Office of the Director of National Intelligence, and was a legislative counsel for the American Civil Liberties Union.
Paul Rosenzweig is the founder of Red Branch Consulting PLLC, a homeland security consulting company and a Senior Advisor to The Chertoff Group. Mr. Rosenzweig formerly served as Deputy Assistant Secretary for Policy in the Department of Homeland Security. He is a Professorial Lecturer in Law at George Washington University, a Senior Fellow in the Tech, Law & Security program at American University, and a Board Member of the Journal of National Security Law and Policy.
Jen Patja is the editor and producer of The Lawfare Podcast and Rational Security. She currently serves as the Co-Executive Director of Virginia Civics, a nonprofit organization that empowers the next generation of leaders in Virginia by promoting constitutional literacy, critical thinking, and civic engagement. She is the former Deputy Director of the Robert H. Smith Center for the Constitution at James Madison's Montpelier and has been a freelance editor for over 20 years.

Subscribe to Lawfare