On anniversary of 9/11, cyberattacks pose national threat: Computerworld

On September 7th, 2011, Jaikumar Vijayan wrote for Computerworld on how the United States still faces a critical threat to its security from cyberattacks.  Mr. Vijayan referenced a new report by the Bipartisan Policy Center's National Security Preparedness Group (NSPG) which assesses the progress that the public sector has made in implementing the security recommendations of the 9/11 Commission.  The report notes that catastrophic cyberattacks against U.S. critical infrastructure targets are not a theoretical threat.  The NSPG goes on to say that "this is not science fiction.  It is possible to take down cyber systems and trigger cascading disruptions and damage. Defending the U.S. against such attacks must be an urgent priority."

The report also highlights concerns  about terrorists using cyberspace to attack the country without physically crossing its borders. "Successive [intelligence chiefs] have warned that the cyber threat to critical infrastructure systems — to electrical, financial, water, energy, food supply, military, and telecommunications networks — is grave."  Potentially, terrorists could hack into the U.S. electric grid and cause large sections of the country to go without power for weeks.

The committee's report reinforces the perception that critical infrastructure targets remain unprepared for dealing with cyberattacks.  The past few years have seen numerous attacks targeting government and military networks; most of the attacks are believed to be the work of highly organized state-sponsored groups.  However, some believe that those within government are still not taking the threat seriously enough.  Cofer Black, former director of the CIA's Counterterrorism Center during the Bush administration, recently warned about cyberthreats not being taken seriously enough.  Furthermore, Black said that military and government officials have shown a hesitancy to act until they see a validation of  cyber threats.  Black noted that it was this same sort of skepticism that government officials had showed toward the alarms sounded prior to the Sept. 11, 2001.

The original article can be found here.

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Professor William Snyder

Professor William C. Snyderis a member of the faculty of the Institute for National Security and Counter-terrorism at Syracuse University after fifteen years with the United States Department of Justice.

Ryan D. White

Ryan D. WhiteRyan is currently a third year law student at Syracuse University College of Law, and is also pursuing a Master of Public Administration degree from Syracuse’s Maxwell School of Citizenship and Public Affairs. Ryan spent time with Homeland Security Investigations while pursuing his undergraduate degree at Wesleyan University, and spent his first summer of law school as clerk for the U.S. Attorney’s Office in the Western District of New York. He is a member of Syracuse Law Review, the Journal on Terrorism and Security Analysis, and participates in the Veteran’s Legal Clinic. Full biography

Shelby E. Mann

Ryan D. WhiteShelby is a second year law student at the Syracuse University College of Law. During her final year at the University of Missouri, she served as a full-time news producer for ABC 17 News. Shelby spent her first summer of law school at the Shelby County District Attorney General's Office in Memphis, Tenn., in the Public Corruption and Economic Crimes Unit. She is a member of Syracuse Law Review, the Journal on Terrorism and Security Analysis, and the senior editor for the Syrian Accountability Project. Full biography

Christopher w. FolkChristopher W. Folk

is a 2017 graduate of SU College of Law. A non-traditional student, Christopher returned to academia after spending nearly twenty years in the high tech industry. Christopher served in the Marine Corps, graduated from Cornell University with a B.S. In Applied Economics and Business Management, attended Northeastern University’s High-Tech MBA Program and received a M.S. In Computer Information Systems. Christopher previously worked in Software Engineering. Christopher is currently serving his second term as Town Justice for the Town of Waterloo. Christopher externed with a Cybersecurity firm in the Washington, D.C. area between his first and second year at SU College of Law. Full biography

Anna Maria Castillo

Anna Maria Castillois 2016 graduate of Syracuse College of Law. She also holds a Master of Arts in International Relations from Syracuse University's Maxwell School of Citizenship and Public Affairs. She has interned at a London-based think-tank that specializes in transnational terrorism and global security and at the legal department of a defense contractor. She served as an executive editor in the Syracuse Law Review. Full biography

Jennifer A. CamilloJennifer A. Camillo

is a 2015 graduate of Syracuse College of Law and is a prosecutor. She has served as a law clerk in the United States Attorney’s Office for the Northern District of New York and the Cayuga County District Attorney’s Office and as an extern in the Oneida County District Attorney’s Office. She was a member of the Syracuse National Trial Team and was awarded the Tiffany Cup by the New York Bar Association for her trial advocacy achievements.

Tara J. PistoreseTara J. Pistorese

holds Juris Doctor and Masters of Public Administration degrees from Syracuse University's Maxwell School of Citizenship and Public Affairs and its College of Law. She wrote for this blog when a student. She is now a member of the U.S. Army Judge Advocate General's Corps.

Benjamin Zaiser

is both a scholar and a Federal Agent of the Federal Criminal Police Office of Germany. (Opinions expressed here are his own and not any part of official duty.) Full biography