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Drexel U. Cybersecurity Experts Available to Discuss Recent Cyberattacks on U.S. Financial Institutions

Released: 28-Aug-2014 3:00 PM EDT
Source Newsroom: Drexel University
Contact Information

Available for logged-in reporters only

PHILADELPHIA — This month a number of American banks, including JP Morgan, were breached by a series of sophisticated cyberattacks. Most recently, the attack on JP Morgan caused an information breach that allowed the perpetrators to retrieve gigabytes of data including checking and savings account information. The F.B.I. has intervened to investigate these attacks on U.S. financial institutions, indicating to some experts that these coordinated attacks could be acts of state-sponsored hackers.

Cybersecurity experts have indicated that these coordinated attacks could very well be state-sponsored acts in retaliation for Western economic sanctions against Russia stemming from its actions in Ukraine, raising questions about national security. Experts at Drexel University are available to assist the news media with their coverage of the situation and its implications from a variety of perspectives:

National Security: Scott White, PhD, is a professor of homeland security and security management in Drexel’s College of Computing & Informatics and on the faculty of Drexel’s Cybersecurity Institute. He can comment on the implications of this attack for national security and address questions about why it may or may not be a state-sponsored act. White is a criminologist with an accomplished career in security. Before his academic career, he served as the director of the Institute of Homeland Security at Westfield State University. He was a commissioned officer with the Canadian Forces Military Intelligence Branch (Department of National Defence) and worked for the Canadian Security Intelligence Service.

Cybercrime and Law Enforcement: Rob D’Ovidio, PhD, an associate professor of criminal justice and a researcher in Drexel’s Cybersecurity Institute can comment on the challenges of investigating cybercrime for law enforcement officials. D’Ovidio can address how and why the F.B.I. is working with private corporations to investigate the attacks, how this model of cooperation needs to evolve in the age of cybercrime and the notification process banks will need to go through now that their customer data has been compromised. D’Ovidio directs Drexel’s research program in computer crime and digital forensics. His research and teaching interests lie in the intersection of computer technology, crime, and the criminal justice system.

State-Sponsored Cyberattacks: Norman Balchunas, is the operations director of the Drexel University Cybersecurity Institute and an assistant research professor in Drexel’s College of Computing & Informatics. He can talk about what the recent escalation in cyberattacks on symbols of American corporate power might mean in the global context of cybercrime. Balchunas is a retired Air Force colonel who specialized in information operations and electronic warfare. He is able to lend context to the difficulty of investigating cybercrime across the international political landscape and how the government responds to cyberattacks on international corporations.

Cybersecurity Theory: Steven Weber, the director of Drexel University’s Cybersecurity Institute, can explain technical aspects of cyberattacks including distributed denial of service attacks, port scanning, man in the middle attacks, and malware, and defenses against these attacks including anonymization, anomaly detection, and intrusion detection. Weber is an associate professor of electrical and computer engineering in Drexel’s College of Engineering, who has extensive background in mathematical modeling of computer and communications networks.

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News Media Contact: Britt Faulstick, News Officer, University Communications,
215-895-2617, 215-796-5161 (cell), bef29@drexel.edu

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