Updated: Sunday, July 9 at 9:09 p.m. ET
Nothing connected to the internet is safe from hackers. And I mean nothing.
Modern cybersecurity is a constant cycle of breaches and patches. Systems are compromised, security experts play catch up, and eventually hackers find a new way in. Each side tries to outwit the other. But at any given moment, one of them is always a step ahead.
President Donald Trump doesn’t seem to understand that. “Putin & I discussed forming an impenetrable Cyber Security unit so that election hacking, & many other negative things, will be guarded,” he tweeted on Sunday.
Setting aside the question of what “many other negative things” Trump and Putin plan to guard, and how; and setting aside the absurdity of the idea that the United States would partner with Russia, of all countries, on a cybersecurity initiative, there is a basic question to answer: Is “impenetrable cybersecurity” even possible?
No, it is not. (Trump later acknowledged as much, but more on that in a minute.)
“Anything connected to the internet is by definition vulnerable,” says Robert Cattanach, a partner with the law firm Dorsey and Whitney who specializes in cybersecurity. “The clients I work for who are serious about protecting their ‘crown jewels’ keep that information in an isolated, unconnected server, locked in a limited-access room with no connectivity to the outsider world.”