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[infowar.de] ... und Anti-Hype
Der letzte Absatz ist klasse. Das beste, was ich je von John Pike
gelesen habe. LOL! :-)))
Terrorism over the Internet is an unlikely scenario
Experts believe complexity of cyberattack limits use
San Francisco Chronicle
July 08, 2002 ? 2:12 a.m.
Despite growing government concern that al-Qaida and its allies may try
to use computers to disrupt electrical power grids, transportation
systems and emergency communication networks, many experts on terrorism
and computer security are skeptical about the overall menace of
"The notion that somebody armed with a laptop in Peshawar, Pakistan,
could bring down California's power grid is pretty far-fetched," said
Kevin Terpstra, communications director for the California Department of
Information Technology, an agency responsible for assessing the security
of the state's computer systems.
"There is reason to be concerned about computer security and critical
infrastructure vulnerabilities . . . but the likelihood of this type of
an attack is very small."
Cyberterrorism has become one of the hottest buzzwords among national
security officials, especially since the Sept. 11 attacks. The subject
has been the topic of numerous legislative hearings in Washington, D.C.,
and more than 560 newspaper and magazine articles using the term have
been published in the past year alone.
In January, the FBI's National Infrastructure Protection Center warned
that information on the Internet about power plants, toxic waste dumps
and other sensitive sites could be used by foreign extremists to launch
attacks on the United States.
And last month the Business Software Alliance, a trade association,
released an industry survey in which 59 percent of the information
technology specialists polled said they considered a major terrorist
computer attack likely in the next 12 months.
Underscoring the possible danger, several newspapers reported computer
operators in the Middle East and South Asia had attempted to penetrate
computer systems in Northern California last fall.
However, experts interviewed by The Chronicle said the vast majority of
these computer intruders are trying to steal information ? not shut down
electrical utilities, release water from dams or engage in other
dangerous acts of sabotage.
It is difficult, the experts say, for a hacker to launch an attack on an
infrastructure control system because very few of these systems are even
accessible through the Internet.
In March, CIO magazine, a journal for computer system professionals,
published a detailed article on information security that debunked the
The magazine quoted Marcus Kempe, the director of operations for the
Massachusetts Water Resource Authority, as saying a cyberterrorist
intent on tampering with his utility would have to make three
complicated intrusions to gain access to the necessary control systems.
And he would have to break into a highly secure building in
Massachusetts in order to make them because the system is not connected
to the Internet. This would present a problem for the terrorist who
thinks he can sabotage the utility by using his laptop.
"Could a computer attack get us to a high-consequence event? Probably
not," Kempe told the magazine.
John Pike, a weapons systems analyst and director of Globalsecurity.org,
a defense policy organization in Washington, D.C., also stressed that
terrorists use simple, direct methods for operations because they are
less likely to fail.
He said the Sept. 11 attacks were a perfect example. "You had 20 people
get on four planes to attack two targets," he said. "Only 19 made the
flights, and only three of the planes reached their targets. But the
plan succeeded anyway because it was simple."
He said cyberattack scenarios are too complex to have much appeal for
terrorist groups. Furthermore, they are likely to fail.
"If you pitch a bad script in Hollywood, the worst that can happen is
you get thrown out of the office," he said with a chuckle. "If I were
some guy from al-Qaida pitching a (complicated and risky) cyberterrorism
plot to Osama bin Laden, I would be a little nervous about making it out
of his office alive. "
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