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[] USA Today 06.05.02: Cyberspace Full Of Terror Targets,

Nichts neue, aber wieder einmal trefflich gehyped.
Georg Schöfbänker

USA Today May 6, 2002 Pg. 11

Cyberspace Full Of Terror Targets

By Tom Squitieri, USA Today

WASHINGTON  Government and private computer networks are facing new threats 
of terrorist attacks, ranging from an attempt to bring havoc to a major 
city to nationwide disruptions of finances, transportation and utilities. 
But people with knowledge of national intelligence briefings say little has 
been done to protect against a cyberattack.

Some of the threats come from individuals who might have connections to 
Osama bin Laden's al-Qaeda network in Pakistan and elsewhere, those who 
have been briefed say.

The specific threats, in part, prompted a meeting April 18 of government 
intelligence and information-technology officials to discuss protecting the 
nation's computer networks.

"This threat is growing," Sen. Jon Kyl, R-Ariz., says. "It's a big threat, 
because it is easy to do and can cause great harm."

Congress is trying to reduce the threat. Legislation has been proposed to 
create a national "cybersecurity defense team" to identify areas most 
vulnerable to attack and determine how to reduce the danger.

Other legislation would make it easier for companies to share information 
without being subject to antitrust or freedom-of-information laws. Such 
communication could alert the government to a terrorist attack, as opposed 
to more common cases of computer hackers targeting a company or agency. It 
could also help companies defend against attacks.

The vast array of potential targets and the lack of adequate safeguards 
have made addressing the threat daunting. Among the recent targets that 
terrorists have discussed, according to people with knowledge of 
intelligence briefings:

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, based in Atlanta. It is 
charged with developing the nation's response to potential attacks 
involving biological warfare. The nation's financial network, which could 
shut down the flow of banking data. The attack would focus on the FedWire, 
the money-movement clearing system maintained by the Federal Reserve Board. 
Computer systems that operate water-treatment plants, which could 
contaminate water supplies. Computer networks that run electrical grids and 
dams. As many targets as possible in a major city. Los Angeles and San 
Francisco have been mentioned by terrorists, intelligence officials say. 
Facilities that control the flow of information over the Internet. Richard 
Clarke, the White House special adviser on cybersecurity, says such sites, 
of which there are 20 to 25, are "only secure in their obscurity." The 
nation's communications network, including telephone and 911 call centers. 
Air traffic control, rail and public transportation systems.

Officials are most concerned that a cyberattack could be coupled with a 
conventional terrorist attack, such as those on Sept. 11, and hinder rescue 

"Cyberterrorism presents a real and growing threat to American security," 
says Rep. Jane Harman, D-Calif., top Democrat on the House Intelligence 
Committee's panel on terrorism and homeland security. "What I fear is the 
combination of a cyberattack coordinated with more traditional terrorism, 
undermining our ability to respond to an attack when lives are in danger."

The Bush administration is seeking about $4.5 billion in its 2003 budget 
request to protect federal computer systems. That's about 8% of its 
information technology budget.

Clarke warned lawmakers earlier this year that the threat of a cyberattack 
was greater than previously imagined. He says it could take three or four 
years to markedly improve the government's ability to prevent such attacks.

Long before Sept. 11, officials warned of the nation's vulnerability to 
cyberattack. The Pentagon and many large companies have experienced limited 
attacks. Hackers calling themselves the "Deceptive Duo" recently 
infiltrated Pentagon computers and left a message indicating that the 
attacks were made to show "how sad our cyber-security really is."

In 2001, cyberattacks caused $12 billion in damage and economic losses.

Such attacks were successful in penetrating security systems at an airport 
in Massachusetts and a dam in Arizona, causing shutdowns of both facilities 
but no loss of lives or long-term damage.

"The principal myth that you will hear is that nobody can actually change 
the operation of a physical system through computers," says Alan Paller, 
director of the System Administration, Networking and Security Institute, 
which teaches people how to protect computer systems. "There have been 
people who have already demonstrated how that can be done."

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