The Increasing Menace of Cyber-Terrorism

Apart from the various aspects of terrorism that have been prevalent in the past, it is important to consider a new wave to modern day terrorism in the 21st century because of the ever expanding technological developments. With the increase in technology, computers and other forms of artificial intelligence have become an area of concern when it comes to the spread of terrorism.

The internet is a platform that can be utilized in various ways in order to carry out terrorist activities. It enables individuals to connect, communicate, and plan operations. It also goes a long way when it comes to in radicalizing people from any corner of the world and facilitating online training that does not require people to travel to a physical base. In addition, the internet assists in providing and promoting the use of other sophisticated technology, such as Google Maps, which plays a role in assisting terrorists by providing information such as blueprints of cities which becomes a huge benefit for terrorist organizations.

Moreover, social media platforms such as Twitter and Facebook aid terrorists in recruiting individuals in their organizations and spreading propaganda. Some platforms like WhatsApp allow people to talk without any form of detection due to mobile encryption which enables secure coordination between individuals.

Another aspect in which the advancement of technology has helped terrorist organizations is funding. With massive unlimited outreach over the internet and the popularity of cryptocurrencies such as bitcoin, many terrorist organizations have turned to it for funding. The organizations work by providing financers with a unique bitcoin address where they can send their digital currency. Such methods make it nearly impossible for law enforcement agencies to track down and monitor.

All of this has contributed to the onset of cyber terrorism. The US FBI defines cyber terrorism as “premeditated, politically motivated attack against information, computer systems, computer programs, and data which results in violence against non-combatant targets by sub-national groups or clandestine agents.” It includes all and any sort of activity, the aim of which is to cause harm to an individual or to a group; such harm may not always necessarily be physical harm. As long as the attacks are aimed to be unsettling or to promote the attackers’ political stance, they can be definitely considered to be acts of cyber terrorism. What is worse is that it is possible for anyone with hostile intents that has access and knowledge of utilizing technological capabilities such as amateur and professional hackers, cyber criminals, cyber terrorist groups and others to inflict such threats.

With such problems on the rise, it becomes extremely important to take efficient steps to fight them. The threat of cyber-terrorism is not nation-specific or area-specific; it has a world-wide threat and consequences affect multiple countries at a time. It is therefore, important that states come together to combat such a threat. It is a known fact that a majority our cyberspace is constructed without proper security in mind and individuals using such cyberspace may not always necessarily be sufficiently aware of the potential dangers of the technologies they are using. Thus, an invaluable way of developing prevention against cyber threats before they take place, is by implementing security as one of the integral parts of development in softwares and devices.

Also Read – Types Of Cyber Crimes

This article is authored by Swagat Sanyal, student of B.A. LL.B (Hons.), Gujarat National Law University

Law Corner

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