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Cyberterrorism: A Reality

Cyberterrorism refers to the use of computers, public internet and networks by groups or individuals to achieve their objectives of intentionally causing  destruction or harm others. Their intentions may be religious, political or even ideology (Gabriel, 2005). The term itself causes fear of people as they visualize  dangerous terrorists using the computers to unleash disastrous attacks online. Psychologists admit that in today’s world, fear of many people can be summed into one term”cyberterrorism”.

The modern terrorist can cause more harm just by using the keyboard more than a bomb. The terrorists could use the computer systems to destruct very important functions and infrastructures (Gabriel, 2005). They are aware that nations run on computers, very important aspects of government files and functions are kept online and depend on the internet for their operations.

United states of America have been under numerous threats from cyber-related attacks  of late. The perpetrators  are mainly from regions around china, middle east, Russia and others from France. These people have varied objectives, but all sums up to destructions and harm to governments and their citizens (Brenner, 2011). The American government has witnessed a dark period where latest technology of its submarines was stolen, banks robbed, and even the top secrets stolen from its top-secret files. None of these meets the threshold for an event to be termed as terrorism, but they sure show a worrying trend towards cyberterrorism

The major pointer towards possible cyberterrorism in the future, was the Wikileaks occurrence where the secrets of US government were posted online to the public. Cyberterrorism offers the best alternative to terrorists since they are able to inflict massive damage on their target (Brenner, 2011). Cyberterrorism would be relatively cheaper also gives good exposure through the media houses

 No one is spared when it comes to cybercrime, whether you are from the IT department, media rooms, security companies, and experts in various fields. Cyber-hackers have managed to break into communication systems and then control their operations like dam operations, control of air traffic. This always ends up in a disaster with millions of lives endangered and the security of a nation at risk. This can easily transform to terrorism at any time and the effect can be massive.

Countries have realized the need to have their critical infrastures(structures that provides important services necessary for economic aspects and well being of the citizens)of the country protected from cyberterrorism(“Organization for Economic”,2008).Projects like freedom of investment  have created discussion forums for governments to debate on the best ways they can protect their infrastructures.these may include areas like energy, ICT, finance, healthcare, food, water, transport, safety, government, chemicals,defence among others.

There are various ways of dealing with cyberterrorism, one of them is by aggressively pursuing and persecuting the people behind cyberterrorism (“Organization for Economic”,2008). Another way would be by developing the best and updated security mechanisms, this needs well coordinated efforts of all interested parties. The public and organizations can also help in dealing with cyberterrorism with being proactive. They should be aware of incidents, vulnerability levels and threats posed by their IT activities.

The use of serious and important security softwares like the firewalls, anti-virus, systems for detecting intrusions and others should be embraced so that to enhance security of the people. Countries should also establish avenues that would promote business continuity even after the attacks (Clarke,& Knake, 2010). Increased security awareness and strict cyber laws should be implemented and followed strictly by countries. Nations should also encourage and invest in research related to cyberterrorism.

Evidence gathered around the world shows that although terrorists use the internet to communicate and plan on the physical attacks, no attack has been recorded that has directed been planned and prosecuted online. Weapons of mass destruction like the nuclear bombs have been successfully detached from an internet connection and so far, no terrorist has accessed them online.

However, countries must be aware of the threat posed by the possible occurrence of cyberterrorism. With time hackers’ activities and tools used in infiltrating websites would be more developed as to cause havoc on the targeted entities. Policy makers therefore agree that, there is no instance of cyberterrorism, but its occurrence is like a time bomb and should be anticipated and necessary measure taken to counter it.

References

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Brenner, J. (2011). America the Vulnerable: Inside the New Threat Matrix of Digital

Espionage, Crime, and Warfare. New York: The Penguin Press, p. 128.

Clarke, R. A., & Knake, R. (2010). Cyber War: The Next Threat to National Security and

What to Do About It. New York: Harper Collins, p. 15.

 Gabriel, W. (2005). Cyberterrorism: The sum of all fears. Studies in conflict and terrorism. London: Taylor & Francis Inc. 28:129–149

Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD). (2008). Protection of

“Critical infrastructure” and the role of investment policies relating to national security, p. 4. Retrieved from http://www.oecd.org/dataoecd/2/41/40700 392.pdf