This Map Traces 30 Years of Squirrel-Related Power Outages

Screenshot // Cyber Squirrel 1
Screenshot // Cyber Squirrel 1 / Screenshot // Cyber Squirrel 1

The next time your neighborhood suffers a power outage, consider blaming squirrels. This tongue-in-cheek map from the website Cyber Squirrel 1 shows global reports of power outages caused by nature's cutest cyber terrorists—squirrels, birds, raccoons, snakes, rats, beavers, and monkeys—with information dating back as far as 1987. Users have the option to narrow the data by year and by month, and they can even choose to only view the cases related to squirrels, non-squirrels, or all animals (the squirrel-related data-points are set apart by a newly nefarious acorn symbol). 

The information comes from the Twitter handle CyberSquirrel, whose bio reads "I'm in your infrastructures eatin your cables. Disrupting at the highest levels! It's #CyberWar4Ever!" The account has been dedicated to documenting pest-produced power outages since March 2013. This new map, as described on CyberSquirrel1, lists "all unclassified Cyber Squirrel Operations that have been released to the public that we have been able to confirm. There are many more executed ops than displayed on this map however, those ops remain classified."

The map also includes instances of cyber terrorism from a few countries in addition to the critters, but this aspect is fairly negligible, as there’s only been one successful attack from the U.S. compared to the squirrel’s 623 successes. As the former deputy director of the NSA is quoted as saying on the website, "I don't think paralysis [of the electrical grid] is more likely by cyberattack than by natural disaster. And frankly the number-one threat experienced to date by the U.S. electrical grid is squirrels." 

You can check out the interactive map here.

Screenshot // Cyber Squirrel 1

[h/t: Popular Science]