Cybercrime calculator targets hackers, terrorists

China and Russia are the two biggest threats to cybersecurity in the U.S.

The University of New Hampshire has unveiled a tool for gauging the level of threat any would-be attacker poses to the energy, emergency response or other sectors of the U.S. economy and infrastructure that rely heavily on IT and networks.

The UNH Cyber Threat Calculator was shown at the Department of Defense Cyber Crime Conference in St. Louis in January. The calculator spits out results after weighing a threat's intent, technological capabilities and economic resources.

"There are increased risks as computer networks become more integrated with all aspects of our lives and infrastructure," said Andrew Macpherson, director of the technical analysis group at UNH Justiceworks and research assistant professor of justice studies at UNH, in a statement. "Using cyberattacks to take some type of infrastructure, military or civilian out of commission is, over the long run, problematic." China and Russia are seen as being the two biggest threats to cybersecurity in the U.S., he said, but it's not clear whether it is in their "best interest to use cyberattacks for strategic attacks."

Macpherson said it's possible an attacker might try to quietly do damage over time rather than making a digital Pearl Harbor attack.

"With approximately 85% of the cyberinfrastructure owned by the private sector, it's not just a government problem," Macpherson said in a statement. UNH expects to make the calculator available to private industry security experts later this year.

This story, "Cybercrime calculator targets hackers, terrorists" was originally published by Network World.

Copyright © 2007 IDG Communications, Inc.

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