Prentice Hall PTR Security Book Author Reports “Hackers Eerily Quiet” on Day of Terrorist Attack

How Vulnerable are US Computer Systems to Terrorists?


Who: Ed Skoudis, computer security expert and author of Counter Hack:

A Step-by-Step Guide to Computer Attacks and Defenses (Prentice Hall PTR 2002. 500 pp. ISBN: 0-13-0333273-9), is available to comment on the:

— Vulnerability of computer security in the US

— Impact of the WTC and Pentagon terrorist attacks on computing

— Hacking community

What: Hacking activity on September 11, 2001 was “eerily quiet” according to Skoudis. While observing the activities of computer hackers on three probes monitoring Internet traffic located at the World Trade Center, he was surprised to see the lack of activity. When the hijacked planes hit the structures, the probes continued to function. The probes “flat-lined” as the buildings collapsed.

According to Skoudis, hacking activity today has picked up. He has seen “online vigilantes” attacking Middle Eastern domains from the US.

“A significant attack today against the Internet infrastructure or a handful of important organizations could have widespread implications for our society. Major life-impacting attacks could occur, where critical systems are hobbled, hurting people,” writes Skoudis in Counter Hack.

Expert Bio: Edward Skoudis is Vice President of Security Strategy for New York City-based Predictive Systems, a leading independent infrastructure network consulting company. Skoudis specializes in identifying and resolving security vulnerabilities in UNIX, Windows, firewall architectures, and Web servers. He is a frequent speaker at major security conferences such as SANS and has demonstrated hacker techniques before the US Senate.

Skoudis is a member of the “Honeynet Project,” a collection of 30 volunteer computer security, information intelligence and psychology experts studying how hackers break into computer systems via a system of “honeynets” or collections of computers set up as false networks for the study of hacking. He contributed to the group’s new book, “Know Your Enemy.”

Widely recognized as an expert in the security field, Skoudis has published several articles in security trade magazines and has been quoted on hacking and computer security issues on CNNfn, Inter@ctiveWeek, Network World, Computerworld, Information Security Magazine and other national computer trade publications.

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