SFW! The Top N Cyber­security Stories of 2021 (for small positive integer values of N)


SFW! Here they are! The Top N cybersecurity stories of the year that are totally SFW, and entirely conducive to Happy Holidays!

And by totally SFW, we don’t just mean Suitable For Work, but also Something For the Weekend – a double bonus if you’re on official duty over the holiday break and are looking for laid-back content that nevertheless counts as genuine on-the-job learning.

While everyone else was choosing their Top N Terrible Cybersecurity Incidents Of 2021, some of them for worryingly high values of N, we thought we’d pick our year-end stories in a more family-friendly way.

From the Liverpool man who was surprised to find that he weighed 100 tons, via the late European cryptocurrency speculator who actually weighed just 100 grams, to the US Government’s crustacean Easter egg…


In case you can’t live without a Top Three Terrible Cybersecurity Incidents list, we wrote some code to help you generate a personalised yet objective version of your own:

We shuffled the entire list in case the final loop encounters a large value of 3.
To avoid accusations of cheating, we have left you to provide a goodprng.random() function of your own.

Here are some sample outputs – choose the one you {like, hate, fear, endorse, disagree with} the most, and {enjoy, quake at the sight of, rant at} your very own unique* Major Incidents of the Year list!

$ luax top3.lua
Top N Cybersecurity Incidents of 2021 for N=3
1     ransomware
2     kaseya
3     hafnium

$ luax top3.lua
Top N Cybersecurity Incidents of 2021 for N=3
1     log4shell
2     printnightmare
3     ransomware

$ luax top3.lua
Top N Cybersecurity Incidents of 2021 for N=3
1     clearview ai
2     hafnium
3     emotet

$ luax top3.lua
Top N Cybersecurity Incidents of 2021 for N=3
1     iot
2     hivenightmare
3     log4shell

[*] ‘Unique’ in the etymologically unsound sense of the word. In this case, each run of the code emits 1 of 2184 different possibilities. (14P3, also written 14 permute 3.)

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