[ISN] Yorker advises Greeks on Olympic security

From: InfoSec News (isn@private)
Date: Thu Jun 03 2004 - 23:30:13 PDT

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    The York Dispatch
    June 03, 2004 
    As Greece prepares for the start of the summer Olympic games in two
    months, its government is taking steps against potential terrorist
    attacks in Athens.
    Intelligence experts say major events like the Olympics present
    potential targets. Although physical attacks are one possibility,
    another is a computer assault, such as hacking into the Olympic
    security systems.
    High-tech security: "We do everything today on the computer," said
    James Walsh of Red Lion, a retired special agent with the U.S. State
    Department who just returned from Greece.
    Walsh now consults for governments and companies, and trained the
    Hellenic National Police Force in computer security.
    "We haven't had a massive computer attack in the past," he said. "But
    we're gearing up for it. The potential for a huge problem is there."
    Walsh specializes in computer forensics, a relatively new field that
    combines law enforcement with computer technology. He helped the U.S.  
    government start its first computer forensics program and now teaches
    a "Digital Evidence" class in the Continuing Education Program at
    Georgetown University Law School in Washington, D.C.
    Crafting a response: Walsh taught Greek police how to respond to
    possible cyber-terrorism. Because of the nature of the work, he's
    reluctant to talk about how and why terrorists could disrupt or hack
    into the Olympic computer systems. But, he points to a general
    example: "Imagine the problems if terrorists could interrupt vital
    banking transactions in the world."
    Such speculation is backed by hard realities.
    Although the motivation turned out to be financial gain, he cites an
    identity-theft case he worked on. The individual, he says, now serving
    a 71/2-year prison sentence, had created three separate identities,
    each with its own false passport, birth certificate, and bank account
    and credit records.
    A U.S. State Department visa inspector flagged one of the passports
    when the man returned from a trip to Africa.
    Walsh was called in.
    The person had erased all e-mails and records from his laptop
    computer, but Walsh recovered from the computer's hard drive many
    documents that unearthed the three identities.
    York County detective: Walsh, 57, received a B.S. in criminal justice
    from York College and an M.A. in public administration from Harvard
    University. He was York County Chief of Detectives from 1977 to 1981.
    During his government career, Walsh was a special agent for the
    Diplomatic Security Service of the U.S. State Department, the
    department's own security force. The unit focuses on passport and visa
    fraud, terrorism and counterterrorism, and counterintelligence.
    Many of his assignments were abroad, where he advised American
    ambassadors, including the ambassador in Ankara, Turkey, on
    intelligence and law enforcement matters.
    He also helped protect foreign dignitaries in the United States who
    were not at the head of state level -- heads of state are protected by
    the U.S. Secret Service and other agencies -- as well as officials
    from countries not recognized by the U.S.
    That included supervising security details for the presidents of
    Northern Cyprus and Bosnia; the Crown Princes of Japan and Spain; the
    Duchess of York, Sarah Ferguson; and the U.S. Ambassador from Saudi
    Arabia, Saudi Prince Bandar Bin Sultan Bin Abdulaziz.
    >From home bases in Washington and New York, Walsh's 20 years of
    government service took him all over the world, from the Middle East
    to Western and Eastern Europe to Central and South America.
    "Not bad for a little old boy who was a county detective in York," he
    said with a laugh.
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