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WVU Professor: Cyber War Poses Threat

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MORGANTOWN -

A new show, called Revolution, airs on Tuesday nights on NBC. The premise is a technology black-out that has left the world in panic and disarray for 15-years.

It sounds like science fiction, sure to cast polarizing opinions. But is it really that far off from reality? A West Virginia University Professor says ‘No.'

On October 12, US Defense Secretary Leon Panetta warned about the threat of cyber war against the United States.

A WVU professor said the threat is very real and would attack our most precious infrastructure like water systems, power grids and the Internet.

"What they do is use computers to attack the infrastructure, attack our electrical grid, attack our water systems, attack the chemicals, our transportation. It's the infrastructure that needs to be protected," said Dr. Roy Nutter, a WVU professor and expert on Cyber Crime.

"If you take the power grid down, I've said this analogy before, it's much like the snow storms and derecho we had, where the power was off for a week or two, but we could very well see it off for a year. That is a very big difference," said Nutter.

Dr. Nutter said cyber war is waged through personal computers that are hacked and activated to work together in an organized attack.

"When they say turn on, and you turn on. Your computer become the source of that attack, not just yours but, yours mine and everyone else's. So all of a sudden they have millions of machines that are attacking," said Nutter.

The warfare isn't entirely new.

During the 2008 Russian Georgian War, Russia was accused of making a cyber-attack on Georgia, a sovereign state in the Caucasus region of Eurasia. Cyber warfare has also been used in the current Syrian Civil War.

Nutter said protecting the country begins at home.

Regular virus scans, password changes and constant updates can help keep your computer safe from any cyber crime.

He said the future of cyber defense is in the hands of technology students today.

"The first class I taught in this, I looked at 100 people and said, should I be telling them this stuff, because they could use this against me," said Dr. Nutter. "Students are our last and only hope. Students are the ones that are going to protect me and protect you."