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Kenneth Turchi
IU Maurer School of Law
(812) 856-4044

Tipsheet: Congressional testimony should heighten awareness of cyber threats

Feb. 4, 2010

BLOOMINGTON, Ind. -- Congressional testimony this week by Director of National Intelligence Dennis Blair that cyberattacks could threaten the United States' strategic military advantage highlights a long-standing danger, according to Distinguished Professor Fred H. Cate of the Indiana University Maurer School of Law.

Fred Cate

"The CIA and FBI have been openly discussing these threats for years, so Blair's testimony wasn't anything new," Cate said. "What is significant is that despite our awareness, the U.S. still isn't doing enough to combat cyberthreats. Perhaps Blair's testimony will finally give this danger the attention it deserves."

Cate added that cybersecurity presents a big challenge because most critical cyber infrastructure is in the hands of the private sector and used by ordinary people. "The approaches we have taken -- isolating military bases and airplanes, for instance -- won't protect us when faced with cybersecurity attacks to ATMs, e-mail systems, and other networks used by millions of people every day," he said.

Fred H. Cate is the C. Ben Dutton Professor of Law and director of the Center for Applied Cybersecurity Research, which is part of Indiana University's Pervasive Technology Institute. He is the president of Phi Beta Kappa and has served as a member of the National Academy of Sciences Committee on Technical and Privacy Dimensions of Information for Terrorism Prevention. He is available for comment and can be reached at (812) 855-1161 or