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Cyber-Terrorism Analyst Warns Against Complacency

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Florida-Cyber-security and counterterrorism analyst Roger Cressey on Monday pleaded with IT executives not to underestimate the threat of "national cyber-event" targeting critical infrastructure in the United States.

During a keynote address at the InfoSec World 2005 conference here, Cressey warned against discounting the danger of the Internet being used in a terrorist-related attack.

"It may not be a terrorist attack, but a cyber-event is a very, very serious possibility. When it happens, it will have serious economic impact on our critical infrastructure."

Cressey, who served as chief of staff to the president's Critical Infrastructure Protection Board at the White House, said there was enough evidence that U.S. enemies were actively using the Web to recruit, organize and communicate terrorism activities.

"I don't see the Internet as a means to a mass attack [on human lives] but we have to be aware that cyber-crime is a key component of the terrorism setup. We would be foolish not to assume a targeted attack on some aspects of national infrastructure. I don't know if we can protect against this type of event today," Cressey said.

The on-air counterterrorism analyst for NBC News said the rapid rate in which Internet security vulnerabilities was being detected only adds to the worry.

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