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UNH Launches Cyber Threat Calculator

The University of New Hampshire has introduced UNH Cyber Threat Calculator that examines the threat level that attackers lay on specific IT reliant sectors in the country.

The Justiceworks researchers and students of the university have created this tool. On January 25, 2007, some university representatives released it at the Department of Defense Cyber Crime Conference 2007 in St. Louis. The university intends to make the device available for cyber security experts working independently sometime in late 2007.

The calculator is constructed to give numerical assessment of the scale of a threat using a number of variables. Two most valuable variables are intent and capability.

Potentially, nation states pose the biggest threat regarding cyber security to U.S., said Andrew Macpherson, director of Technical Analysis Group of UNH Justiceworks, in a prepared speech that Technology news daily published on January 27, 2007. With more developed capabilities, Russia and China are potentially the top countries to suffer cyber threat but there are less chances of using cyber attacks for strategic ends in those countries. Both countries have taken interest in preparing a doctrine showing signs of incorporating it into their military training. However since political groups, religious groups, individuals and organized crime groups continue to pose risks it is necessary to consider them too as cyber threats.

A cyber attack in United States could have a significant effect. The targets and the resultant affected sectors could be emergency response and preparedness systems, energy sector, telecommunications, financial services, or not least the agricultural sector.

To use the calculator security experts enter information about individuals, religious organizations, and government or terrorist groups in the device. The tool uses past known information and current situations to assess the intent and capabilities of potential attackers. Finally, it assigns a number to the risk level. The number and the threat are positively related.

In June 2006, UNH faculty and students used the calculator to present an analysis of Internet threats to the National Cyber Security Division of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, and players of the intelligence community.

Related article: UNM Online Community Targeted by phishing Scams

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