Senator: I Don't Believe the NYSE and United Failures Are a Coincidence

Illustration for article titled Senator: I Don't Believe the NYSE and United Failures Are a Coincidence

At a US Intelligence Committee hearing this afternoon, Sen. Barbara Mikulski confronted FBI Director James Comey with some real talk about the strange shitstorm of tech failures today: The New York Stock Exchange, United Airlines, and the Wall Street Journal all went down, citing technical difficulties.


“I don’t believe in coincidences,” Mikulski said. “Is the FBI investigating these as breaches?”

“We’re not big believers in coincidence either,” Comey said... before insisting that this was, in fact, a coincidence. “We’ve been in contact with all three companies to see what’s going on. We don’t see a connection to a cyber breach or cyberattack.”

Comey cited an overwhelming flood of interest in the NYSE meltdown as the reason for the Wall Street Journal’s technical failure.

In another coincidence, the United States Government Accountability Office published a summary of a study today calling for the need for stronger protections for federal agencies in the face of increased cyberattacks and data breaches.


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Meh, as someone who has been a sysadmin for 15 years, I can tell you flat out: this senator is being paranoid. Systems as complex as the ones at that level are just as prone to issues as your home PC is. You can build for five 9’s, but reality is no matter how well you plan, there’s always going to be a component that can take everything down for a couple hours. You find the issue, you fix it, and you move on.

Should they investigate? Sure. But don’t panic the public over something that’s likely nothing.