Phone, power, computers vulnerable, expert says

Tuesday, 21 October 2003, 1:40 PM EST

The nation's phone system, power grid and computer networks remain vulnerable to a large-scale terrorist attack, a security expert warned Monday.

"We are a hyperpower and have the largest infrastructure in an open society. We have the most to lose," said Dr. Sujeet Shenoi of the University of Tulsa's Center of Information Security during a conference on Homeland Security in this Buffalo suburb.

Computer hackers, organized crime and hostile governments are the common enemies that could mount a severe strike against the country's electronic infrastructure, Shenoi said.

He also warned that an assault on federal, state and local government computer systems would be the most devastating.

"That should be our biggest fear, infecting the fabric that ties society together," said Shenoi, who met last week in Washington with the National Security Council.

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