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[infowar.de] GEM 12.2.02: Uebung Bio- und Cyberattacks gleichzeitig
eine Stabs=FCbung, bei der =C4pfel mit Birnen vermischt werden. Einerseits=
ein Biowaffenanschlag, andererseits die nahezu krampfhafte Herstellung=
eines Zusammenhanges zur Al Qaida und Cyberterror.
February 12, 2002=20
Simulated bioterror attack tests federal response=20
By Molly M. Peterson,=
Fictional terrorists attempted to launch a biological attack on a fictional=
U.S. embassy Tuesday. But real-life technology companies helped thwart the=
invasion by linking their real-life communications networks, as officials=
from the Pentagon, the FBI, the CIA, the State Department and other federal=
agencies watched and took notes.
"These guys are really very computer literate, and they have the capability=
to launch major attacks on our communications infrastructure," George=
Webber, a contractor with Getronics Government Solutions, said of terrorist=
organizations like Al Qaeda. Getronics sponsored the seminar, which was=
designed to help companies and government agencies develop ways to protect=
their critical infrastructures against cyberattack.
Getronics, which provides the Defense Department and many other agencies=
with information security services, staged an elaborate simulation of how=
terrorists could use widely available technology to attack U.S. interests,=
and demonstrated how existing products and services could prevent such an=
The attack scenario involved a fictional virus called "gemstone," which a=
terrorist cell had released as an initial attack on the defensive military=
unit protecting the U.S. embassy in the fictional country of Timbuktu.=20
Reading from scripts and using several interconnected laptop computers,=
Getronics employees posing as military officials promptly notified Mount=
Granite, a fictional Defense installment in the United States. Using=
products such as General Dynamics' "Intrusion Vision" and Raytheon's=
"Silent Runner," Mount Granite officials tracked communications patterns=
and determined that the gemstone virus was linked to cryptic messages about=
Mount Granite then used a secure e-mail network to contact the fictional=
equivalent of the FBI, which had intelligence indicating that "carat dust"=
was a biotoxin.
The FBI then contacted the fictional Centers for Disease Control and=
Prevention to determine vaccine availability and sent the fictional State=
Department a secure message to notify embassy officials. The FBI also set=
up a secure Web server "community of interest" to enable the various=
agencies to track the gemstone attack.=20
Thwarting the attacks required the agencies to share real-time information,=
which often proves complicated for real-life agencies because of barriers=
erected among agencies for security purposes. Agencies also use various=
authentication techniques, which must be synchronized in order for secure=
communications to be transmitted successfully.
For example, agencies use a variety of public key infrastructure (PKI)=
technologies for encrypting confidential messages. Webber said the=
interoperability of PKIs is crucial to bridging communications gaps among=
the agencies fighting terrorism. But he added that finding the right way to=
tie those PKI infrastructures together is a "big operational issue" facing=
The simulation successfully bridged those gaps and culminated in a "happy=
ending" when FBI field agents stopped the terrorist attack. But Webber=
warned that without such coordination, federal agencies remain at risk.
"The tragedy on Sept. 11 brought home how vulnerable we are right here in=
the United States," he said. =20
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