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National Cybersecurity Center talks possible cyber attacks from Iran

Posted at 10:11 PM, Jan 08, 2020
and last updated 2020-01-09 01:46:18-05

COLORADO SPRINGS — With the ongoing conflict between the U.S. and Iran a big concern for a lot of people - possible cyber attacks.

On Wednesday the FBI and Department of Homeland Security warned law enforcement throughout the country of the terror threats Iran poses to the U.S. The agencies are predicting Iran could take immediate steps to attack the U.S. in cyberspace.

While the FBI is not aware of any specific or credible threat at this time experts say the time to put up cyber defenses is now.

"I thought it was pretty scary."

That was 19-year-old Alexia Thompson's reaction when she learned about the latest conflict between the U.S. and Iran. She, like many others, is worried that a cyber war could be on the horizon.

She said, "It can cause lots of destruction. It can shut down everything we have, honestly, because everything's based off of technology at this point."

That's why Thomas Russell, cybersecurity education program manager at the National Cybersecurity Center, says people are now working around the clock to protect all of us from possible attacks.

"They probably will not be able to have large-scale infrastructure disruptions like power grids," said Russell who also shared that attackers can disrupt other things.

"Companies should be prepared for malware attacks. Iran has malware that's called Shamoon that they use to steal data from companies."

For the financial sector - it's places like banks, insurance companies, even casinos.

Russell said, "If data is stolen they can use that as leverage. They can stop private companies from operating efficiently."

Another target - healthcare facilities where sensitive information could be stolen. Russell's advice is for companies to do some training right now "to do just simple things - don't accept certain emails."

When it comes to private citizens he believes they shouldn't have to worry at this point. Instead, just be vigilant.

Russell said, "Have two-factor authentication...have robust passwords. They should not open up emails that they don't know nothing about or give away information."

While the future is unknown when it comes to Iran's next move Russell's final message to all: don't panic.

In Las Vegas there was a cyber attack on the city's computer system this week. Officials say they do not know who is responsible. No data was stolen or corrupted, but the city is looking into it.