TU students helping protecting our phone systems

Thursday, May 1st 2003, 12:00 am
By: News On 6

Since 9-11, we've stepped up security to try to protect Americans from another terrorist attack. Now we're taking steps to safeguard our phone systems.

News on 6 anchor Terry Hood says we've taken precautions to protect our airports, government buildings, and computer systems from terrorism. Now researchers are turning their attention to our most basic mode of communication, the phone. And it's happening right here in Tulsa.

A computer lab at the University of Tulsa is on the cutting edge of research to protect the nation's phone system. More than a million dollars in equipment has been donated to this lab from telecommunications giants like Cysco Systems. In return, these students are analyzing phone networks to see if they're vulnerable to terrorist attack.

One machine can simulate the phone system for an entire city. Through these computers, students can launch mock attacks. The idea is to identify the holes and find ways to plug them. TU has worked for years to protect computers, but researchers say this work might be even more important. TU PhD candidate, Gavin Manes, "A lot of researchers are looking at internet security, wireless security and those aspects. If those networks go down nobody really cares. But if your telephone doesn't work, that's a problem."

TU students are working with the FBI and the National Security Agency to keep that problem from becoming a reality. This summer, they'll add 25 more students to the program and really step up their research.