http://126.96.36.199/News/story.asp?ID=34163 [See also: http://188.8.131.52/News/story.asp?ID=34215 - WK] Jonathan Brunt The Idaho Statesman 03-01-2003 MOSCOW - Sami Omar Al-Hussayen, who is accused of supporting terrorism, was affiliated with a program at the University of Idaho designed to prevent cyber terrorism. On Wednesday, U.S. Attorney for Idaho Tom Moss said Al-Hussayen used knowledge he was learning in the U of I´s computer programs to assist terrorist groups. Al-Hussayen, 33, was arrested Wednesday on charges of lying on his visa application. The federal grand jury indictment alleges that Al-Hussayen, a computer science doctoral student from Saudi Arabia, funneled more than $300,000 to groups that promote terrorism. Al-Hussayen´s defense attorney said he has seen no clues to back up the claim that Al-Hussayen used knowledge acquired at U of I inappropriately. "My reading of the indictment doesn´t support that statement," David Nevin said. "It leads you to wonder if they really have the evidence." Al-Hussayen was one of about 30 students at U of I´s Center for Secure and Dependable Systems, a research group that often is hired by companies and government agencies to help design programs to decrease threats from hackers and cyber terrorists. Because he was not a U.S. citizen, Al-Hussayen was not allowed to work on government projects considered sensitive, center Director Deborah Frincke said. Frincke said studying at the U of I would be an unlikely choice for a terrorist. "There would be easier ways than sitting through 45 hours of my lectures to get what they want," she said. "People can get much of the information we give from other places." Instructors likely couldn´t stop a student who intended to use computer security information to cause havoc, Frincke said. But as a precaution, she said, teachers emphasize how to stop software tampering rather than how someone could break into a system. "It prevents against the people who just want to play around," Frincke said. The center, which is made up mostly of master´s and doctoral students, was formed in 1999 and named during the same year by the National Security Agency as one of seven "Centers of Excellence" for studies on the protection of computer systems from threats such as viruses. Al-Hussayen was finishing up his dissertation on computer security and hoping to graduate in May. The center has had contracts with NASA, the Defense Advanced Research Programs Agency and the Air Force, Frincke said. Educational leaders in computer security often wonder how information taught in their classes could be used to harm computer systems, she said. "The technology that protects a system is the same technology that can bring a system down," she said. Some of the center´s work is considered sensitive, and some government contracts can be worked on only by U.S. citizens. Portions of the center´s work are completed behind locked doors, where students not approved to participate are not allowed. "Because many of the projects in CSDS are funded by the federal government, there are tight restrictions on who can work on those projects," said Steve Penoncello, U of I associate engineering dean for research and graduate studies. - ISN is currently hosted by Attrition.org To unsubscribe email majordomoat_private with 'unsubscribe isn' in the BODY of the mail.
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