According to the Tallin Manual (3), many people across the world do not acknowledge that the use of internet could expose them to any kind of threat. They feel that they are secure since they work with their internet access devices in the comfort of their homes or even using their phones. This makes the people assume a situation of safety. It is, therefore, assumed that there are no threats of cyber terrorism.
Given the accelerated developments in technology, there is a need to look at the authenticity of this argument. According to the NRI (3), cyber terrorism might not have been a challenge in the past few decades. However, it observes that since the 9/11 attacks and the consequent increase in terrorism activities, the terrorists are keen on using any available avenue to perpetrate their attacks. Technological and military developments have made it hard for the terrorists to physically penetrate the intended targets. As such, they have to devise other means of attacks. Cyber terrorism is possibly one of these avenues. There is, therefore, a need to look at the possibility of cyber terrorism being a reality.
Evidence has it that cyber terrorism is real. Trend Micro (2) indicates that terrorists use technology in different ways. First of al, they can hack into governmental, institutional, and departmental websites. Through such hacking activities, crucial security information is stolen. The terrorists, therefore, have an upper hand since they have a lot of intelligence which is stolen directly from the government websites. Sites that are likely to be hacked include military and internal security websites.
Denial of service is also another avenue that can be exploited by terrorists. According to NRI (5), this happens in cases where the attackers disable another country’s servers or websites. This implies that there is no proper communication that can be carried out within the government. As a consequence, the government is plunged into darkness since there is no coordination. This gives a window of opportunity that can be utilized by the terrorists to perpetrate their attacks. This strategy is also used by warring countries in order to bring each other to submission.
Another evidence of cyber terrorism can be seen in spreading of malware such as viruses. Trend Micro (2) indicates that this is a strategy that can be used by terrorists so as to disorient a government. The malware can be spread as an email that is sent to government officials. The computers are affected once the email is opened. Such cases can lead to total failure or compromise of governmental sites. In the current era where technology is on the rise and many governmental businesses are digital, such an attack can have disastrous effects.
At this point, it is worth noting that cyber terrorism is not only directed towards the government. The Tallin Manual (5) indicates that the attacks can target individuals, companies, and other institutions in a country such as banks. Some of the terrorist activities that can be perpetrated in this manner include company secrets theft, cyber bullying, white collar crimes, among others; all of which have a negative effect on the victims. Based on the above revelation, it is vividly clear that the assumption that cyber terrorism does not exist is totally false. On the contrary, cyber terrorism is the new approach that terrorists seek to exploit in their evil deeds.
NRI. “Cyber Security Trend – Annual Review 2012”. Nrisecure.co, 2012. Web. 24th Oct. 2013. http://www.nri-secure.co.jp/news/2012/pdf/cyber_security_trend_report_en.pdf
Tallin Manual. “The International Law Applicable to Cyber Warfare.” The NATO Cooperative Cyber Defense Centre for Excellence, 2012.
Trend Micro. “Cyber Security – Cyber Attack Protection.” Cludsecurity.trendmicro.com, 2012. Web. 24th Oct. 2013.http://cloudsecurity.trendmicro.com/us/technology-innovation/cyber-security/index.html