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September 08, 2004

Richard Forno

Richard Forno is the coauthor of Incident Response (O'Reilly) and The Art of Information Warfare (Universal). He helped to establish the first incident response team for the U.S. House of Representatives, and is the former Chief Security Officer at Network Solutions. Richard is currently writing and consulting in the Washington, DC area.

Keep this man's name in mind when you start hearing discussions on security. I'm thinking these days of the amateur CT person who helped the FBI nail the latest domestic traitor to AQ.

Here's a few of Forno's wise words:

Lets play devils advocate for a moment and see what the real consequences of a cyber-terror attack would be. Could someone shut down part of a power grid or water system via a remote dial-up connection? Perhaps, but the same could be accomplished if someone managed to gain physical access to such facilities to throw a few switches and turn a few knobs. Besides, weve proven during countless natural weather disasters that we can live without electricity for short periods of time. Should critical networks be compromised, we can still pay for groceries with cash.

Even if any of these scenarios were realized, life might be a bit inconvenient or slower than normal at times, but we will still be alive, and buildings wont have toppled. Life will continue to go on, and soon return to normal, likely more quickly than if recovering from a physical type of terror attack. A potential compromise of the air traffic control system doesnt necessarily mean that planes will start falling from the sky: airplanes have arcane backup systems known as pilots and co-pilots who can fly and land them safely.

I've recently signed up to Cryptogram and started perusing back issues. Great stuff. If you don't know Bruce Schneier, you should.

Posted by mbowen at September 8, 2004 06:21 AM

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