Cyberterrorism: The Threat is Real
While the Internet is a very powerful tool for information dissemination and communication, it can also be used for identity theft, fraudulent transactions, security breaches, and terrorism amongst many other things.
But what exactly is cyberterrorism? According to special agent for the FBI Mark Pollitt, cyberterrorism is any “premeditated, politically motivated attack against information, computer systems, computer programs, and data which result in violence against non-combatant targets by sub-national groups or clandestine agents.”
An example of this is the attack on Sony Pictures Entertainment in 2014, where a hacker group calling themselves “Guardians of Peace” leaked sensitive and confidential information about the film studio’s employees, salaries, emails between top executives, and even unreleased films. This resulted in the cancellation of their “The Interview” movie premier, which poked fun at North Korean leader Kim Jong-Un.
If these threats are real, what are governments doing to prevent these kinds of terrorism?
On November 23, 2016, Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull divulged that Australia is on the offensive with regards to its cyber warfare against the Islamic State in Syria.
It was also on the same day Dan Tehan, Minister Assisting the Prime Minister on Cyber Security, addressed the National Press Club on the issue of cyber-attacks. “Let’s be under no illusion, a serious cyber-attack has the potential to cause the same damage as a terrorist attack,” he said. He added “Malicious state actors are actively using cyber technology against our government and our businesses.”
This acknowledgment means that no one is immune to cyber-attacks and cyber terrorism in Australia. Businesses might need to seek professional IT support services in Brisbane, Sydney or in other parts of the country to help them tighten their security measures.
In the United States of America, they established a Federal Department called The Department of Homeland Security back in 2003. This Department is responsible for the “protection of American citizens from Cyber-Terrorism, which includes virtual attacks existing both domestically, as well as internationally. The nature of Cyber-Terrorism allows for remote access to domestic networks, precluding a Cyber-Terrorist from residing within the United States to engage in an act of Cyber-Terrorism.”
Cyberterrorism is a real threat to all of us. The threat is not only to governments but economies and the public as well. Therefore, it is vital that businesses take precautionary measures to ensure their websites and networks are secure. As the old cliché goes – it’s better to be safe than sorry.