(eng)Crazed Urban Terrorists with LapTops

The Anarchives (tao@lglobal.com)
Fri, 22 Nov 1996 17:09:24 +0000 (GMT)

Date: Thu, 21 Nov 1996 20:17:57 +0000
From: Road Alert! <roadalert@gn.apc.org>
To: roadalert@gn.apc.org
Subject: Crazed Urban Terrorists with LapTops

The following article is taken from Contract Journal of 17/10/96. It's
interesting to see how worried roadbuilders have become about protesters
with computers.......



Exclusive by John Leitch

Contractors are investing heavily to protect sensitive and confidential
information from militant environmentalists hacking into company IT systems,
it emerged this week. Balfour Beatty, Costain, Mowlem and Alfred McAlpine
all recognise the threat from a small group of hardline anti-roads
activists, some of whom possess advanced computer skills. The firms have
taken steps to make illegal entry as difficult as possible.

Colin Darch, group IT manager with Balfour Beatty,. told CJ : "It is a
perennial problem. We have ongoing plans against attacks by urban
terrorists who want to disrupt us or use information against us."

Computerisation is evolving rapidly as is the move away from mainframe
systems to personal computers. Networking is "a bolthole we are trying to
shore up" said Darch. He added : "You have to work hard to make your system

Despite the downturn in civil engineering, the number of protest groups
continues to increase. Costain's IT director, Marion Carney, said
protesters could pose a threat to both physical security and company
networks. "It's not just our confidential information they are after," said
Carney. "they just want to cause a nuisance. We've made it difficult to
access information and we can monitor
unwelcome attempts on our system. It's fairly standard among other

Mowlem's information cannot be electronically attacked by external hackers
because it does not have a wide-area network system. Alfred McAlpine has
done a lot to improve protection, the new arrangements having made its IT
system more secure.

Of all construction firms, Amec is the most bullish about its position.
Asked what threat hackers pose, group IT manager Keith Rustage said; "I
don't perceive it to be any danger".

But a Computacenter survey of 140 of the world's top hackers, published this
week, suggests that Amec's optimism could be misplaced. The verdict in the
survey was that:
75% believe company safeguards are lax.
60% believe opportunities to access systems are increasing
55% believe the internet provides more opportunity to access private systems.

IT experts recommend a good password policy and the use of firewalls (
electronic defence software) to prevent unauthorised access. But the
internet is seen as a risk, allowing a possible path to internal data via
e-mail addresses.