Computer Crime Research Center



Date: April 21, 2005
Source: Computer Crime Research Center
By: CCRC staff

A new private-sector cyberterrorism security center that aims to watch over much of the nation's critical business infrastructure with its own real-time cyberthreat-detection network opened here today at the University of Pennsylvania.

The Cyber Incident Detection Data Analysis Center (CIDDAC) was unveiled as a real-time defense against cybercrime and cyberterrorism for key businesses in the U.S. that could be targeted by terrorists.

Charles "Buck" Fleming, executive director of CIDDAC, said the organization is believed to be the first private, nonprofit group to set up a cybercrime-detection network outside of the government's own efforts to watch over critical business operations. The group's concern, he said, is that without constant monitoring, critical U.S. industries such as banking, transportation, energy, 911 services and water supply systems could be disrupted by terrorists or criminals -- with disastrous results for the country and the U.S. economy.

"It is becoming perfectly clear that Al Qaeda have spent much more time to learn cyber space than we expected", Ranstorp concludes. "They will try to attack most vulnerable targets. The question is not whether Ben Laden will start Internet warfare, the question is: When he will do it."

Dorothy Denning, a renowned expert in research into computer crime, in her book "Activism, Hacktivism and Cyberterrorism: The Internet as a Tool to Influence Foreign Policy" writes "Is cyberterrorism the way of the future" For a terrorist, it would have some advantages over physical methods. It could be conducted remotely and anonymously, it would be cheap, and it would not require handling of explosives or a suicide mission. It would likely garner extensive media coverage, as journalists and the public alike are fascinated by practically any kind of computer attack. One highly acclaimed study of the risks of computer systems began with a paragraph that concludes, "The terrorist of tomorrow may be able to do more with a keyboard than with a bomb."

"Cyber space has become a component of our economy. The number of transactions made over the Internet has swift increased for the past years in the USA. The work of almost all branches of the country's economy, including energy, transport and communications, banking sphere use computer networks, and, thus, branches depend on the capacity of these networks," said Condoleeza Rice, US National Security Advisor, speaking at the forum devoted to computer security. "The breakage of these networks may paralyze the whole country." The President's Assistant spoke for narrow cooperation between governments and private sector to assure computer security and to prevent computer terrorism.

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