Ex-CIA says no more 9/11-style attacks, worry about cybersecurity instead

Local News

ROCHESTER, NY (WROC) — Dan Caster is a former CIA operative who spent years in Afghanistan; he did an interview with News 8 earlier month.

He said in that sit-down there is not another 9/11-style attack on the way. In short, he says terrorists in that region just don’t possess the capability — or funding — to carry out such a thing. The US is also better equipped to handle something like that than we were 20 years ago.

“There isn’t another 9/11 around the corner. The bigger fear now is maybe a cyberattack,” said Caster.

Cybersecurity expert Paul Robinson agrees. He says picture something like hackers poisoning a water supply by changing PH levels. By the way, that almost recently happened in Maine and Florida. 

“You poison a water system and it goes undetected for 12 hours…you’re talking 10,000 maybe 100,000 deaths, God forbid,” says Robinson.

He says mistakes like giving out a password or having weak security on your systems can give criminals a way in. “Organizations, companies that are doing commerce or providing goods and services or whatever it is for the general public, need to be mindful,” he says.

He says just look at the fallout from the attack on the Colonial Pipeline or the recent ‘meat hack’ of JBS.

“Food and water supplies, power plants, dams,” says Jonathan Weissman, with the Rochester Institute of Technology’s Department of Computer Security expanding on potential targets. Weissman says those are usually owned privately. Companies and governments need to share something called ‘threat intelligence’. 

“Because when the information is shared between business and government, both sides become stronger,” says Weissman.

Robinson agrees, saying that will help diminish the possibility of a catastrophic event. “…to make sure that we’re all working together to make sure nothing tragic happens similar to 9/11,” he says.

(Weissman has a new book out called “Principals of Computing Security“. He describes it as a hands-on guide with challenges for readers to solve real-world cyber issues. Click on the hyperlink above to learn more).

Front cover of ‘Principals of Computer Security’ by Jonathan Weissman

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