Cyber Terrorism: Another Conspiracy Theory For Dummies

You know what? After corruption, cyber terrorism is one that frightens Americans most.

Definition of the cyber terrorism

Again and again since 9/11 attacks government officials have been warning us that there is no higher threat to freedom and sovereignty of America that cyber terrorism. “Terrorists can sit at one computer connected to one network and can create worldwide havoc,” warned Homeland Security Director Tom Ridge. “[They] don’t necessarily need a bomb or explosives to cripple a sector of the economy, or shut down a power grid” he added.

Indeed, this issue can serve as a threat to mentally challenged individuals with constant latent fear of hackers and this fear effectively fuels government spending on cybersecurity which reaches average $12 billion annually. For instance, the infamous USA PATRIOT act grants government the authority to perform thorough surveillance on American citizens, to collect and keep their private data in order to ensure that no one except the government itself could freely access it.

So, what exactly is cyber terrorism? To begin with, there is no such real thing as cyber terrorism — no one ever has been murdered by a terrorist with a help of a computer. Nor is there any effective proof that any terrorist organization has fell back onto computers for any sort of harmful activity. Moreover, the suggestion that the terrorists would actually use computers to pose direct threat on a large scale is just nonsensical.

Secondly, the brief definition of cyber terrorism states: it is any politically motivated attack against computers and information intended to cause disruption or widespread fear. Actually, this definition speaks for itself: as long as private computers are protected by user’s common sense, firewall and antivirus programs, the chances to harm or to liquidate personal data are rather low.

Articles helping to defend oneself from cyber terrorism are easily sound in the Internet. For instance, most common of them are:

- Do not give out personal information to perfect strangers;

- Set secure passwords and do not share them to anyone;

- Do not open attachments or click links that are unfamiliar to you.

Such simple rules will definitely help to protect personal data from ending up in wrong hands.

Recent cyber terrorism statistics demonstrate that rather than individuals, hack attacks are mainly directed at major government and business sites in order to benefit by breaking into their systems.

Analyzing cyber terrorism cases

The most notable cases of cyber terrorism almost always involve digital malware, hijacked computers and traffic overflow for destabilizing, spying, blackmailing and enriching purposes. One also has to draw a fine line between cyber warfare and cyber terrorism: cyber warfare is an attack of one nation’s government on another in order to destabilize inner situation, and cyber terrorism is performed to inflict fear upon the victims.

According to the F.B.I’s Most Wanted list of cyber criminals, the most common indictments are money laundering, wire fraud, identity theft, computer hacking and similar others. Oddly enough, 5 out of 10 main suspects are of Asian origin, which reinforces stereotype of mental capabilities of Asians.

However, not every cyber crime ends well for the criminal: for example, Scott Arciszewski was caught by the police after he bragged online about him hacking F.B.I.-tied company. Two Mexicans who have successfully stolen identity of 100 million people were caught while trying to cross the border carrying 90 fake credit cards also serve as a brilliant example of the lack of common sense.