EKU grad to discuss cyberterrorism
By Bryan Marshall
Source: Richmond Register
Date: January 13, 2004
Register News Writer
Imagine a truck carrying explosives drives into a nerve gas munitions bunker at the Blue Grass Army Depot, just as a cyberterrorist hacks into the emergency response telecommunications network.
The truck detonates and with communication systems knocked out, police and essential emergency services are paralyzed as precious time ticks away. With no one to come to help, the body count increases due to the delayed response time by ambulance, police and fire services.
This is one potential scenario of cyberterrorism given by Richard Starnes, director of incident response for the Managed Security Operations Center at Cable and Wireless in London, England.
Starnes, an Eastern Kentucky University political science graduate, will discuss the importance of public and private enterprise collaboration against cyber attacks, mapping out your own national protection plan and proposing and developing ways to encourage private industry to perform risk assessment on their critical infrastructure during his “Cyberterrorism: Are We Ready?” lecture at the university. The talk, which is part of EKU’s Chautaqua series on “War and Peace,” is at 7:30 p.m. Wednesday in the Student Services Building auditorium on the EKU campus.
“The media and to a certain extent elements of industry have blown the concept of cyberterrorism out of proportion,” Starnes said. “There is a threat, but a developing one. We are looking at a two to five-year window before we have a substantive cyberterrorist incident. This is an area that demands attention. The barbarians are not at the gate, but they are definitely sizing up the gate for a battering ram.”
Starnes gave seven presentations in London, Plymouth and Singapore on cyberterrorism and other security issues in 2003. He said he wanted to speak at EKU to give something back to the university that he holds in the highest regard.
Starnes said a significant number of Americans, who are on the Internet through local ISPs or cable providers, will hook their computer up and not think twice about security. He said computers, like cars, need to be maintained and checked on a regular basis to prevent intrusion of privacy while surfing the Internet and using an e-mail account.
“I encourage people to get personal firewalls, personal intrusion detection systems and make sure their computer has the latest patches,” Starnes said. “Invest in a day or weekend class on how to use your computer properly.
“Attendees (of the lecture) should come away from this presentation with a greater understanding of the complex nature of cyberterrorism, critical national infrastructure and what the average citizen can do about it.”
Bryan Marshall can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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