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Colorado Could Be A Target Of Possible Cyberattacks By Iran

(CBS4) - Iranian missiles have launched, but the danger of revenge from Iran is far from over. The FBI and Department of Homeland Security are warning the Islamic regime may try cyberattacks against the U.S.

"They are always going to be looking for, if you will, a moment of weakness," said Dr. Steve Beaty, a computer science professor at Metropolitan State University of Denver.

Beaty explained cyberattacks are a constant threat, but the ongoing tension in the Middle East has experts urging everyone to practice "good cyber hygiene."

"Good passwords, two-factor authentication, good firewalls," Beaty explained to CBS4's Kelly Werthmann. "We never know when these (cyberattacks) are going to happen, so we really can't stop our defenses."

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History shows Iran's strong cyber capabilities, including a strike that hit Colorado hard in 2018. A pair of Iranian men hacked into Colorado Department of Transportation computers -- Faramarz Shahi Savandi and Mohammad Mehdi Shah Mansouri -- crippling internal operations, which ultimately cost the state upwards of $2 million.

"That's probably the most obvious government attack that's happened in Colorado," Beaty said. "There have been other sorts of attacks against businesses, but probably not quite as extensive as what happened to CDOT."

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Experts warn a major cyberattack could target banks, oil and gas facilities, anything that would disrupt how society functions as a whole. Beaty believes there is no reason why Colorado wouldn't be a target yet again.

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"We have military bases here, we have an international airport," he said. "We have NORAD in Colorado Springs, and these places are all heavily dependent on technology. Of course, there are concerns around all that."

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That said, Beaty explained Colorado has strong cyber defenses and is usually quite resilient. He added now is definitely not the time for anyone -- governments, business, or individuals -- to let their cyber guards down.

"One must always, if you will, use the Boy Scout motto: be prepared," he said.

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