Cyber terrorism: a new challenge -Pakistan Press Foundation (PPF)

Paksitan Press Foundtion

Cyber terrorism: a new challenge

THE most lethal incarnation of terrorism is cyber terrorism, as the computer age has opened up possibilities that existed like never before for terrorists using computers as their weapons instead of fire arms.

In modern-age terrorism and cyber crime have become a potential danger for the sovereignty of a state and an individual’s safety and international security.

The FBI defined cyber terrorism as: “The premeditated, politically motivated attack against information, computer systems, computer programmes, and data which result in violence against noncombatant targets by sub-national groups or clandestine agents.”

There are several effective methods for disrupting computer systems. A cyber attack, or a computer network attack (CNA), is the one which uses malicious computer code to disrupt computer processing, or steal data. For example, computer viruses, international destruction of files, e-junk mails resulting in denial of servers, hacktivists, interception of confidential data, etc.

Unlike other methods of terrorism, cyber terrorism is safe and profitable, and difficult to counter without the right know-how and capability and understanding of the cyber terrorist’s mind.

Cyber terrorists prefer using cyber attack methods because of many advantages for it. It is cheaper than traditional methods, and the action is very difficult to be tracked so terroristss can hide their personalities and location. There are no physical barriers or checkpoints to cross, and they can attack a big number of targets remotely from anywhere in the world. Terrorists will likely seek financial impact, disruption, decreased military capability, fear/panic, publicity, news impact, decrease confidence in critical infrastructures, psychological operations, great physical damage, and/or loss of life.

Cyber terrorism is the wave of the future for terrorists. Connection to the Internet has added security risks because anyone can gain access to anything connected to it, unless there are security measures put in place to help prevent a breach.

Unfortunately, one cannot learn how to fight this very unconventional warfare from someone who hasn’t been there, nor from someone whose experience is in the old ways and old technologies.

The old data processing, auditing, and computer security models in use today are out of date. On this battlefield, against conventional response methods, cyber terrorists are already far ahead.

The building of a counter cyber terrorist team must be immediate and active, as the weapons will keep on changing consistency, in future. There is no remachining, and unlike other terrorists, if the cyber terrorist loses today, he does not die as he learns what did not work, and will use that information against any one tomorrow. One must have to be more smatter than the cyber terrorist to counter cyber terrorism.

NOUREEN AKHTAR
Islamabad
Source: Dawn
Date:8/12/2011