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Science & Technology

Cyber Attack Battle Plan

The battle against cyber attacks is being joined in Virginia.  Political leaders are looking for new weapons to fight the wave of breaches and hack attacks that seem to be ramping up.

Until recently, having a so-called ‘fire wall’ on your computer or network was the way to keep your data safe; but, clearly, not any more.

“And so rather than building a big wall and thinking that we’re safe inside the wall, we now need to recognize that people can get through or over the wall.  We need to protect our resources inside through encryption, primarily, and we need to be able to really have visibility into what’s happening on our network and on our systems.”

Scott Midkiff is Vice President of Information Technology at Virginia Tech. He says the new weapons in the cyber wars are what are called, ‘intrusion protection prevention.’  And these will need to stay one step ahead of the enemy, and so it seems will be comprise something of an arms race.

“We will provide stronger defenses and stronger responses to breaches but the attackers will find either weaker targets or they will develop more powerful techniques for launching attacks. And as we look at some research advances that are happening at Universities and at companies and at federal labs, I think we’ll find some different approaches to cyber security that will let us be able to greatly reduce the vulnerabilities that we have.”

A series of meeting to brainstorm a battle plan begins next week, answering the call of Virginia Governor, Terry McAuliffe, who established a cyber security commission last year.  Jonathan Whitt is President of The Roanoke-Blacksburg Technology Council, co-sponsoring the first meeting at Virginia Tech.

“You never know, when you have these meetings, who’s going to be in the audience, a student, a faculty member, a company that says, hey, I want to dedicate time to this or this is the field I’d like to go into, or how can my company play a role in addressing this threat so I think you’re going to see at these round tables, people come forward to the commission and say, hey I think our company has a solution or maybe there’s something creative that no one else has thought of and it’s just a way of generating new ideas.”

The public is invited to the brain storming session in person or by remote access.  But registration is required and space is limited for the February 24th town hall meeting.

The next public meeting on the Virginia Cyber Security meeting will be March 23rd in Martinsville, followed by April 24th in Harrisonburg, May 19th in Charlottesville, and June 9th in Norfolk.

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