‘It’s a real concern’: Local expert, SC governor warn agencies of cyber attacks from Iran, others

Grand Strand

CONWAY, SC (WBTW) – Since Iran tensions have heightened, cyber attacks have increased, and Gov. Henry McMaster is asking agencies to closely monitor cyber activity.

One cyber security expert at HGTC in Conway says there’s many ways IT departments across South Carolina can repel these cyber attacks.

“It’s a real concern,” said HGTC cyber security and forensics professor Stanton Greenawalt. “It could be a teenager, sitting in another country, that’s just hacking because they’re just learning.”

10,000 cyber attacks per minute in just 48 hours is the level of attempted cyber attacks the United States has seen from Iran since tensions have heightened.

“It’s not just because of what happened over in Iran, though that peaks our interests,” said Greenawalt.

Gov. Henry McMaster’s order to South Carolina agencies to closely monitor the cyber world is crucial, and cyber security expert Stanton Greenawalt agrees.

“You’ve got to be able to implement your recovery plan,” he said.

The activity coming in through the internet and through the firewall is what should be monitored to minimize risk.

“You can actually get an alert on, let’s say I’m the network administrator for that, then I’ll get an alert that says oh okay, this is higher than what we normally see,” Greenawalt said.

Greenawalt says attackers can even plug a flash drive into an agency’s computer to either grab information or place a virus on the system.

“Knowing people in our IT environment, they’re practicing right now, how to either defend or recover or minimize the impact if they’re attacked,” he said.

HGTC’s cyber security program plans to partner with cyber security hubs like Fort Gordon in Augusta, Georgia, and other universities like Clemson and the University of South Carolina to build better cyber security programs across South Carolina.

HGTC received a $750,000 grant from the Office of Naval Research, and Greenawalt says a new security operations center and forensics lab will be developed by the fall.

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