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Any future real-world conflict between the United States and an adversary like China or Russia will have direct impacts on regular Americans because of the risk of cyber attack, Kevin Mandia, CEO of cybersecurity company FireEye, tells "Axios on HBO."

What they're saying: "The next conflict where the gloves come off in cyber, the American citizen will be dragged into it, whether they want to be or not. Period."

  • "Apps won't work. Appliances may not work. People don't even know all the things they depend on. All of a sudden, the supply chain starts getting disrupted because computers don't work."

Why he matters: As CEO of the company that was first to discover the massive SolarWinds hack, Mandia sits at the nexus of online security and attempts by criminals, mischief makers and foreign governments to break into computer systems around the world.

Mandia warns that unclear rules or criteria for retaliation will lead to continued attacks that leave us "shocked but not surprised."

  • "The problem is nobody knows what the rules are. There's no written document on what the rules are," he said.
  • "And I don't know if you will get people to agree to rules on espionage because of the asymmetry where most countries can't beat us with tanks, can't beat us with airplanes. But in cyber, maybe that's where they can make investments and beat us."

The bottom line: "It's as simple as if you can be hacked, you are hacked."

  • "We're in an environment right now where we're playing goalie and there are slap shots coming at us every millisecond. And, by the way, blocking 99.99999999% of all the attacks means you're gonna get compromised everywhere."

Go deeper

Ina Fried, author of Login
6 mins ago - Technology

The feds' dangerous data-grab game

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

Recent revelations about Trump-era data grabs by federal authorities have put the U.S. in a tricky spot as it competes with China to lead the digital age.

The assumption in the West is that U.S. tech companies only provide the government with data when it follows the rules and goes after specific suspects — while, in China, tech companies are forced to share everything with the government.

36 mins ago - Health

The Obamacare wars end in a whimper

Illustration: Shoshana Gordon/Axios

Existential threats to the Affordable Care Act just aren’t what they used to be.

The big picture: The anti-Obamacare fire on the right may not be fully extinguished — it still throws off some smoke and a few sparks every once in a while — but it has petered out into irrelevance, dismissed as a distraction even by some of the same conservatives who helped to stoke it in the first place.

Health care ruling saves Republicans from themselves

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

The Supreme Court saved the health care system from imploding Thursday by dismissing a Republican challenge to the Affordable Care Act. But it also saved the GOP itself from another round of intraparty chaos.

Why it matters: Most GOP lawmakers privately admit (and some will even say publicly) they don't want to deal with health care again. The issue generally isn't a good one for them with voters — as they learned the hard way after they failed to repeal the ACA in 2017.