Brexit, Grexit and the future of the EU

Former Greek Finance Minister Yanis Varoufakis on the EU’s disintegration, and we discuss the future of cyberwarfare.

In this week’s UpFront, we speak to former Greek Finance Minister Yanis Varoufakis on Greece and the future of the European Union.

In the Reality Check, Mehdi Hasan reveals how Brexit leaders misled Leave voters by not being clear on exiting the European single market as well.

And in the Arena, we discuss the perils of cyberspace and if future wars will be fought online.

Headliner – Yanis Varoufakis: Grexit ‘never went away’

With the UK on the cusp of leaving the European Union and Greece increasingly facing the same fate, is it over for the beleaguered body?

An “epidemic” washing over other European countries may see the end of the EU, warns Yanis Varoufakis, Greece’s former finance minister.

“The right question is: Is there going to be a eurozone and the European Union in one or two years’ time?” asks Varoufakis, who served as finance minister for five months under the Syriza government.

Italy is already on the way out, Varoufakis tells UpFront.

“When you allow an epidemic to start spreading from a place like Greece to Spain … to Ireland, then eventually it gets to a place like Italy,” says Varoufakis. “As we speak, only one political party in Italy wants to keep Italy in the eurozone.”

When asked about his failure to pull Greece out of its debt crisis during his tenure as finance minister, Varoufakis blamed the so-called troika – the IMF, the EU Commission and the European Central Bank – by intentionally sabotaging any debt-repayment agreement.

“They were only interested in crushing our government, making sure that there would be no such mutually advantageous agreement,” says Varoufakis, who claims Greece was being used as a “morality tale” to scare voters in other European countries away from defying the troika.

“The only reason why we keep talking about Greece … is because it is symptomatic of the architectural design faults and crisis of the eurozone.”

Reality Check – Brexit and the single market myth

The UK is set to leave the EU in early 2019, but does that mean an end to being part of the European single market too?

According to statements made by top Brexit leaders, that’s exactly what it now means.

In this week’s Reality Check, Mehdi Hasan exposes how pro-Brexit voters are getting more than they bargained for.

Arena – How big is the threat of cyberwar?

From allegations of Russian hacking of emails in the US, to the Stuxnet attack on Iran, countries are increasingly taking fights off the battlefield and into cyberspace.

Is there a cyber arms race brewing, and how worried should we be about cyber attacks?

Mikko Hypponen, chief research officer of cybersecurity company F-Secure, says we could be facing a decades-long cyber arms race that is just now in its infancy.

“It seems we are now jumping to the next arms race, which will be the cyber arms race,” says Hypponen. “This next arms race is in the very beginning right now; it might go on for decades, for the next 60 years.”

Hector Monsegur, the former LulzSec hacker who went by the name Sabu, says key infrastructure is particularly vulnerable to cyberwarfare.

“From my personal experience, I got to see and I got to even connect to – in my previous life [as a hacker] – industrial systems,” says Monsegur, who is now the director of Rhino Security Labs. “In some cases – or most cases – a lot of these systems are installed with default passwords straight from the manual, and usually it’s just four zeroes.”

“There’s always a human element, a weakness to every infrastructure, and it’s always the human.”

In this week’s Arena, cybersecurity expert Mikko Hypponen and former blackhat hacker Hector Monsegur discuss the perils of cyber war.

Follow UpFront on Twitter @AJUpFront and Facebook.