very into cyber

My grandpa is more qualified to run America’s cybersecurity than Rudy Giuliani

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Rudy Giuliani’s name has been floated as a possibility for several cabinet level positions—everything from attorney general to secretary of defense. But the longtime Trump supporter and necromantically animated skeleton said in an interview this morning on Fox News that his real calling is keeping America’s internet safe.

Wow, what a great idea! It’s unclear exactly what job Giuliani is lobbying for, but he clearly has some sort of position in mind relating to cybersecurity. But I have another candidate I’d like to put forward for this mystery office: my grandpa.

At first glance, the two appear to have a lot in common. They’re both Italian-American men from New York City who moved to Long Island in the 1950s. They both have a history of public service—Giuliani through his time as U.S. Attorney and mayor of New York City, and my grandpa as a World War II veteran (happy Veteran’s Day Grandpa!). At 98 years old, my grandpa is a fair bit older than the 72-year-old Giuliani, but that just means he’s got more experience, right?

Now that we’ve established my grandpa and Giuliani basically are equally qualified for the job, why him instead of Giuliani? Well, I’ve done some research on both, and frankly, I find that my grandpa’s public statements on the matter show a much greater understanding of the dangers and risks facing our national information security than Giuliani’s.

Giuliani’s experience in public life doesn’t reveal a lot about his approach to cybersecurity. New York City didn’t even have a website when he was first elected in 1993. When the city did get around to it on Dec. 7, 1998, the website looked something like this.

screenshot-2016-11-11-at-10-41-03-am

The Information Superhighway comes at you fast.

It’s probably not fair to judge Giuliani by a website from 1998, so let’s take a look at some of his more recent thoughts on the subject. In an interview with Marketwatch last January, he seemed unable to discuss the topic without using frames of reference he’s already familiar with.

MW: You compared this to other forms of crime earlier.

RG: It reminds me of the organized crime networks that I went after in the ‘80s. They’re not organized like organized crime was, where they have a meeting every month, or they belong to the same organization. Let’s call it a loosely affiliated kind of mafia.

Comparing hackers and hacking groups to the Mafia is right up there with “a series of tubes” in terms of useful analogies about the internet. But beyond his awful examples, Giuliani seems unwilling to face the reality of our country’s information security issues.

The fact that many government computer breaches are state-sponsored never comes up. Neither does the word “Russia,” despite the fact that the country has been indirectly linked to major cyberattacks on U.S. institutions. But someone closely linked to the Trump campaign probably doesn’t want to ask too many questions about Russian internet activities.

So what about my grandpa?

Well, despite having an e-mail address (so he could open an account at the public library), my grandpa has frequently said that he “doesn’t need computers.” He doesn’t have one, nor does he have a smartphone. This strikes me as the most savvy and foolproof approach to information security I have ever heard.

My grandpa for whatever cabinet secretary runs the cybersecurity stuff. He won’t use a computer once.