Sunset News: Experts Warn of Cyberterrorism Threat

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Thursday, May 22, 2008

Experts Warn of Cyberterrorism Threat

Experts Warn of Cyberterrorism Threat

KUALA LUMPUR, Malaysia -- Officials from around the world agree they must cooperate better to fight the threat of cyberterrorism at facilities such as nuclear power plants.

Government authorities and technology experts from more than 30 nations called for improved coordination at the meeting's opening in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, on Tuesday.

"The harsh reality is that (information technology) has become a tool for cybercrime and cyberterrorism," Hamadoun Toure, secretary general of the International Telecommunication Union, the U.N.'s leading information technology agency, said in a speech. "Cybersecurity must become a cornerstone of every aspect of keeping ourselves, our countries and our world safe."

Delegates came from countries including Australia, Canada, France, India, Japan, Mexico, Saudi Arabia, Singapore, Sweden, Thailand and the United States.

Malaysian Prime Minister Abdullah Ahmad Badawi said cyberattacks could trigger "truly catastrophic consequences" by disrupting telecommunications networks, emergency services, nuclear power plants or major dams.

Malaysia will be home to a cyberthreat center to open by the end of the year and be run by the International Multilateral Partnership Against Cyber Terrorism, a project involving both the public and private sectors. The center is to offer emergency response, training and other resources.

"The bottom line is the threat is real," said Howard Schmidt, a former U.S. adviser to the White House on cybersecurity. "It'll be from criminals, it'll be from state-sponsored activity, it'll be from organized crime, so the idea of this is to reduce the vulnerability."

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