Reboot Charlotte: DNC Sparks Cyber Security Concerns
CHARLOTTE, N.C. - Think about all the Tweeting, Facebooking, emailing texting and calling that'll happen from the Democratic National Convention. We experience cyber jams during the CIAA tournament and that attracted about 197,000 people this year. The DNC is expected to draw thousands, as well.
"If somebody wanted to make a statement, this would be a place where they would want to do it," says Theresa Payton. She is a security expert and was Chief Information Officer under George W. Bush in the White House. She also co-authored a new book called Protecting Your Internet Identity: Are You Naked Online? She knows her stuff. Payton's made attempts to address cyber security issues with local leaders. The reply she got? "Most of the agenda has been focused on the parties," she says.
Payton says during the DNC, Charlotte could be a perfect target for a cyber attack. "I don't think it's out of the realm of possibility at all," she says.
Charlotte area businesses also need to take notice. Even if we just experience a plain old slowdown due to cyber traffic, how will they operate? How will they access emails, documents or sales leads for the three days the convention is underway? Payton says consider installing a land line and as for documents, says, "Things that are really critical to have, you may wanna, I hate to say this, you may wanna make a paper copy."
Retired FBI Assistant Director Chris Swecker has his eye toward physical security and this year, that will be impacted by cyber elements. Swecker says, "We're gonna be a magnet for every kind of group there is in the US that has something to say."
That means militia groups, anti-government groups, hate groups and more. And at this convention, they'll use the Internet and cell phones to organize protests and organize quickly. Swecker says, "It's gonna be somewhat planned but on the other end, there's gonna be some chaotic elements as well."
This all said, both Swecker and Payton agree there are talented people working to keep Charlotte safe. Swecker says, "I think we're in pretty good shape."
They urge awareness and preparation. Pay attention if the Internet suddenly stops working. Have back up communication plans in place in case the bad guys decide to make a statement. "They could give it their best shot, I think our good guys will win," says Payton.
The police are also interested in cyber security during the DNC. Chief Rodney Monroe tells us his office has been looking into the issue for the past year. Their focus is on protecting the CMPD website from potential hackers.