Cyber Terrorism: A Big Threat

Cyberspace is an anonymous and secretive environment, therefore allowing cyber terrorists a breeding ground for clandestine operations. This fact makes cyber terrorism a very big threat to society at large.

Even though the term, cyber terrorism, lacks one definitive explanation, it is a word that is popular on the Internet and throughout our culture. The main definition can be thought as a premeditated strike against computers and network systems, with the sole purpose of creating chaos.

The idea of cyber terrorism began in the late 1980s. This was due to the fact that the general public feared the beginning of the new millennium and what they thought this would mean to the security of computer systems. The concept of “pure” terrorism, or activities that are carried out solely in cyberspace, is a highly-debated idea. The truth that an entire group with terrorist intent can amass themselves quickly with the use of the Internet is a frightening prospect.

Groups of cyber terrorists that are currently being watched are capable of causing much destruction to a wide array of targets. While most people are focusing on the attack of the system itself, it is really the people who use these systems instead that will really suffer from these actions. Another weakness that is appealing to cyber terrorists is that when a particular target increases their security in one area of their network, they often neglect another, and the terrorists can then attack that system or network.

Cyber terrorism is full of diverse motives for attacking an institution or individual. Motivations include revenge, pure bravado, challenge, greed, political concerns, idealistic activism, and national security assaults. Several nations engage in defensive and offensive information operations. These activities can include training and organizing. Other nations are suspected of having cyber-terrorism operations planning but do not reveal what activities they are conducting through cyberspace. Religious groups, political groups, and groups solely interested in terrorism all find an active audience on the Internet. These groups have the highest probability of using cyber terrorism to accomplish their agenda.

Cyber terrorism is likely to be successful if it is carried out on individuals rather than on governments or corporations. However, the government relies on the health of the economy as a whole, so it is greatly affected by this type of attack. An attack of cyber terrorism on a government entity would have disastrous results.

It is highly likely that a person can chat and become involved with a certain questionable cause without even having to leave their home or become suspect. By using this anonymous tactic, someone can become involved with a terrorist group and take orders or make plans and carry out these plans, all without ever meeting another person from the group face-to-face. In addition, this type of organizing of cyber terrorists creates a problem for law enforcement, as it is very difficult to track down specific groups. Plus, terrorist groups with similar intentions can find each other and unify much easier through the Internet and can strengthen.

Discovering a solution to combat cyber terrorism is impossible unless the entire problem is reviewed. A social, technical, and legal plan must be initiated to put security actions in force. There has to be strict security measures as to how people can post information on the Internet, as well as how people can get information.

Given that computers are the weapons that cyber terrorists use, some think it would be a good first step to start restricting who can actually access computers. However, in our society today, that is virtually impossible. We have become so dependent upon the Internet and having easy computer access to critical information and resources, that there is no turning back. However, it would be beneficial to have clear cut rules in place that would tighten all security measures for how computers are used. To achieve this goal, a certain standard must be met as far as how network computers are safeguarded. By instituting these industry guidelines for network security, organizations, government agencies, and individual companies can better protect themselves against cyber terrorism. There are a myriad of ways that cyber terrorism can affect society and create chaos. The use of identity theft, hacking, computer viruses and the use of destructive or manipulative data are all active methods used today.

The main targets of cyber terrorism are of course, computers. While the incidence of identity theft is actually minute, the impact on the person whose identity has been stolen is immense. Plus, cyber terrorists can use this stolen identity to hide their own actions and can damage the name and reputation of the person whose identity has been stolen. The Internet provides rather easy access for stealing someone’s identity and creates the perfect environment for cyber terrorism.

Another new form of cyber terrorism is that of “virtual” identity theft. This involves someone using an online account to pretend to be a particular person and using that person’s online contacts and relationships to obtain access to private information. The terrorist, in this case, can also plant viruses with the sent email since the recipient would be trusting of where the email came from and would have no reservations about opening it.

It is very plausible that a person can have an ongoing online conversation and become involved with a suspicious and questionable cause without even having to leave their home. This gives them complete secrecy in getting involved with a terrorist group. By using this anonymous method, someone can get involved with a group and take orders or make plans and carry out these cyber terrorist plans, all without ever meeting another person from the group or having any face-to-face encounters. In addition, this type of organizing of suspected groups creates a problem for law agencies, as it is almost impossible to track down these specific groups of terrorists. Plus, cyber terrorist groups with similar intentions can find each other and unify much easier through the Internet and can build and strengthen their ranks.

In closing, cyber terrorism is a big threat in today’s society, as we are very dependent upon our computers and the Internet and it is a viable method for terrorists to attack their intended targets.

Trond is 2 x Master level in both e-Commerce and Internet Marketing and is a certified security professional working for the Norwegian company MesterWeb AS. He is also certified Microsoft MCSE, Cisco CCIE Written Exam, Cisco CCNP, etc. His interests are ethical hacking and søkemotoroptimalisering.

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Cyber Terrorism: A Big Threat
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Cyber Terrorism: A Big Threat
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Cyberspace is an anonymous and secretive environment, therefore allowing cyber terrorists a breeding ground for clandestine operations. This fact makes cyber terrorism a very big threat to society at large.
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