TUCSON, Ariz. - President Trump called off aircraft preparing an air attack against Iran but did go ahead with attacks by computer designed to disable Iranian systems.
KGUN9 talked to a cyber attack expert at Pima Community College about what cyber attacks can do and what PCC is doing to train cyber warriors to defend us.
When Iran used a missile to shoot down a surveillance drone, President Trump decided an attack with planes and bombs would take too many lives to be the right retribution for downing an unmanned aircraft.
But he did approve a cyber attack designed to disable Iranian missile systems, Iran's power grid, maritime communications and petroleum locations.
Will McCullen is building a cyber warfare program at Pima Community College. He says there's a good chance the software was already planted in Iran's systems waiting for the command to start doing damage.
"You would basically use tools just like Iran is doing just like China is doing just like Russia is doing. And there's a lot of attack tools out there that can be manipulated in various ways. If you're part of a government or something large of that scale, you would have much more sophisticated tools."
To train the cyber warriors we need to defend our systems, Pima Community College is working with the Arizona Cyber Warfare Range. The range gives students a unique opportunity to go beyond simulations to encounter real hacking in the dark corners of the internet.
"So just as you as police and law enforcement, don't train with squirt guns, same type of thing doesn't work here with cyber security. You need to be able to come to this place where you can hack safely. It's a safe environment, to hack and learn how to do those attacks. So just like law enforcement learns how to use weapons folks here can learn how to use weapons to defend."
And McCullen says Pima's program is the only one with that approach to real world experience required to fight the cyber wars that keep our governments, companies and colleges under constant attack.