Nov 30 2010

A third cyber-terror expert dies in a physical terror attack

No doubt about it, folks — irony favors the skeptic
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Irony, anyone? A third cyber-terror expert has now died at the hands of physical terrorism. The victims are, in reverse chronological order:

  • Majid Shahriari, an Iranian professor described in media reports as “Iran’s top Stuxnet [worm] expert.” He died when assassins rigged his car with a bomb on 29 Nov 10.
  • Linda Franklin, “an Intelligence Operations Specialist in the Cyber Division at [FBI] Headquarters.” She fell victim to a “D.C. Sniper” terror attack on 14 Oct 02.
  • Ray Downey, identified as a “cyber security analyst” who sat on Rand Corporation’s “Gilmore Commission.” He died in the World Trade Center attack on 11 Sep 01.

Conversely, “zero” victims have died at the hands of cyber terrorism. “Worldwide” if you want to put a scope on it. “Ever” if you want to put a timeline on it. Zero victims, worldwide, ever, have died at the hands of cyber terrorism.

So! The score now stands at three-zip. Remember this horrific irony the next time Sophos employee Chet Wisniewski blabs about cyber-war or cyber-terrorism.

Folks, I offer my most sincere condolences to Shahriari’s family. It pains me to point out this irony to you … but this is what a computer security critic does. I will not shy away from the Vmyths mission.

Memo to Costin Raiu at Kaspersky Labs: I remember your tweet about this. You’re absolutely right, you little fraidy cat! In fact I started a death pool on you because I think you’re next on the assassins’ hit list. I can already hear you talking nervously to your handlerboss, “I’m going on stage to deliver my lecture, COVER ME!”