Cyber Terrorism

This paper shows how cyber terrorists use personal computers and business networks in order to achieve their goals. It also shows tools used by cyber terrorists, how they choose their targets and measures which need to be taken to combat cyber terrorism.

Cyber terrorism is a new breed of terrorism in which one definition of the term cannot suffice. A working definition by Mark Pollit says it is a premeditated, politically motivated attack against information, computer programs, systems, and data, which result in violence against noncombatant targets (Krasavin, 2002). As technology improves, individuals and groups can use the anonymity provided by cyberspace to threaten target groups in order to intimidate, sabotage or even cause bodily harm to individuals or groups of people.

Cyber terrorists have used computers as tools to facilitate identity theft, computer viruses, hacking, destruction and alteration of data. Internet has been used to attack organizations databases and infringe fear on security agencies. In 2002, a research conducted by CIO online showed that 90 of the respondents detected computer security breaches within the last twelve months (Coleman, 2003).

Choosing Targets
Cyber terrorists choose their targets according to their goals and the availability of weapons to carry out their activities. As technology becomes the nerve centre of operations in banks, public utilities and other industries, terrorists have become capable of jeopardizing almost every aspect in culture, governments, on-line banking and trading, transactions and others. They use weapons ranging from electromagnetic bombs, radio frequency Munitions, Tempest monitoring devices, viruses, Trojan Horses among others (Coleman, 2003).

Counter Measures
Everyone in America and the world at large must wage war against cyber terrorism. Information infrastructures need to be secured. According to Krasavin (2002), the government needs to collaborate with the private sector and an even closer collaboration needs to exist among the computer, networking and software industries. All computer users need to be educated on securing computers, information, and communication networks.

A top secret project known as project echelon is believed to endow the operator with ability to intercept and monitor all kinds of electronic communication. If the project really exists, it would curtail cyber terrorism. Nations should form treaties so as to share information on computer security and train their personnel (Coleman, 2003).

Cyber terrorism can be lethal if used to attack critical infrastructure such as electric power or water supply. Measures should be undertaken to ensure that every individual, group, organization and the whole nation has been protected against any intended cyber terrorist attack.


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