Tags: Exclusive Interviews | MidPoint | War on Terrorism | terrorists | attack | electronic | infrastructure

Cyber-Security Expert: Terrorists Eyeing US Electronic Networks

By    |   Thursday, 16 Apr 2015 06:36 PM

Terrorists could bring America to its knees by attacking the vast electronic infrastructure that underlies almost every facet and essential function of modern life, an expert on identity theft, data security and fraud told Newsmax TV on Thursday.

The U.S. is at risk of a veritable cyber-9/11 because few people and institutions, public or private, want to pay to protect against what they perceive as a distant threat, William Kresse, assistant professor at Governor's State University in Chicago, told "MidPoint" host Ed Berliner.

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"Unfortunately, it's a very vulnerable network and can be taken down by the terrorists, who we know are sophisticated in IT matters," said Kresse.

He described them as conceivably inflicting damage on a civilizational scale.

"Can you imagine what our cities would be like if we had a power outage lasting several days or weeks? If our financial systems collapse so that money couldn't be accessible, so that folks can't go to the bank and get cash or use a credit card anymore?" said Kresse.

"We have to prepare for those things."

Kresse said that as the U.S. has expanded its electronic footprint through telecommunications and the Internet, everyday life has become more dependent on the software-powered grid — but not necessarily more secure.

"We always kept looking for newer ways of making things more convenient, making them more accessible, without considering the downside," he said, "without considering the potential of a terrorist attacking our network and taking it down, without realizing exactly how necessary this network has become in the lives of ordinary Americans."

He said that some sectors, such as banking, credit and retail, have taken steps to make their products and networks more secure against hackers because they've been hurt badly by cyber-criminals stealing the financial information of millions of customers.

Last year saw a string of data breaches against major U.S. companies including Home Depot and JP Morgan Chase that demonstrated the cost of doing nothing.

"Everyone now is getting in the mail, the replacement credit card that's got the chip built into it," said Kresse. "That's because the credit card companies and the banks have realized they're losing too much money because they've been using an old technology on credit cards."

But costly upgrading after a catastrophe instead of preventive measures is the norm, said Kresse.

"And unfortunately for us, the bad guys have realized it," and will increasingly target us electronically, said Kresse.

"You're going to see these small networks out there working in the dark sites of the 'net, making alliances with folks who are better at cybercrime," he said.

The disaster preparation kits that many people keep at home should include cash and perhaps even some precious metals, said Kresse, because a cyber attack could shut down ATMs, card readers and the like for an unknown amount of time.

When data breaches such as last year's attacks on big banks and retailers occur, Kresse said that "the little hairs on the back of our neck should go up and tell us that this is something that we should get ready for."

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Terrorists could bring America to its knees by attacking the vast electronic infrastructure that underlies almost every facet and essential function of modern life, an expert on identity theft, data security and fraud told Newsmax TV on Thursday.
terrorists, attack, electronic, infrastructure, hacking, identity, theft
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2015-36-16
Thursday, 16 Apr 2015 06:36 PM
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