A Review of the Economic Benefits of Cyber Terrorism

A Review of the Economic Benefits of Cyber Terrorism

Acheme Odeh (Girne American University, Cyprus)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-5225-8976-1.ch006


The internet technologies have made it even easier for terrorist activities to migrate smoothly to the internet. Nations are now benefiting from the act of cyberterrorism, making it more difficult to successfully fight this monster. This chapter aims to draw up a review on various published work addressing the financial benefits of cyberterrorism. The question is to know if economic benefits alone is significantly strong enough to encourage more cyberterrorism activities. Should this be the case, what can be done to curb this deadly cancer from spreading further? Scientific methods could prove to be a much efficient solution to the issue of cyber terrorism. But how is that going to happen and for how long should we wait to see this happen? Would it ever happen? Considering that the internet is an ever-growing technology with endless possibilities for both attackers and crime investigative specialist, do we forsee a cyber war between nations who can boost of better fighting and defending technologies? These questions and many more are discussed based on recent literature.
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The google dictionary defines Terrorism as: “the unlawful use of violence and intimidation, especially against civilians, in the pursuit of political aims” (Terrorism, 2018). “Terrorism” has become a popular word in today’s world, even surpassing common words such as “cyberspace”. A google search of the word “terrorism” pulls out about 307,000,000 results as at December 2018, while “cyberspace” pulls out only 29,000,000 search results. This shows that terrorism is a major topic of discussion around the world till date. But the most worries should come from “cyberterrorism” – a growing area of concern which allows technology to be employed in lunching out deadly attacks on people, infrastructure and governments. More concerns are in areas where sophisticated devices are employed to carry out anonymous attacks on infrastructures using internet facilities. Cyberterrorism is simply defined as “the politically motivated use of computers and information technology to cause severe disruption or widespread fear.” Considering the unlimited potentials that the internet technology presents to us these days, it is quite apt to wage a war against the deployment of terrorism on the internet. Reason being that it will pose a more devastating effect on the global community. Cyberterrorism could possibly pose an endless scenario of doomsday for the world (Giacomello, 2004).

Terrorist organizations would like to increase their global visibility and impact. This gives them an upper political hand across territories. The weapons used to achieve this is violence, including killing people and breaking things (Giacomello, 2004). They would want to show how powerful and deadly they can be. Bringing cyberterrorism into play would assist to increase their level of global awareness. They would take advantage of the media hype of today to get more publicity (Raymond, 1965). Yet another reason to worry about is the unwillingness of government officials to give relevant information on terrorism. The vulnerability of the possibilities offered by emerging technologies is also a huge concern in the fight against cyberterrorism. The public usually are not sure about the information that the media gives to them regarding terrorist activities. In all, terrorist organizations benefit from all these weaknesses in order to propagate their nefarious activates without control

Scholars in the past have proposed that cyberterrorism will not pose any tangible threats based on the cost of operation of such organization (Associated Press, 2004). Security experts also base their assumptions on the fact that after the September 11 terror attack, no other act of cyberterrorism has been recorded (Barnett, 2004). In response to this claim, (Biddle, 2004) is of the opinion that “for terrorist to regard strikes at computer networks as a viable weapon, the attack should be sufficiently destructive or disruptive to generate fear comparable to that from physical acts of terrorism.” (Park, Levy, Son, Park, & Hwang, 2018) clearly puts it here that a cyber attack on the US could take a lot of strategic planning by the terrorists, who possibly can attack an airport electronic system. Should this kind of attack happen by any means, it will be a great disaster for the US and the International community at large. Therefore, issues of cyberterrorism should be a major topic of consideration for the security of life and properties by any well-meaning government. It is therefore a necessary requirement that governments of nations collaborate to fight the insurgence cyberterrorism. There is a need for collaborative network for inter-governmental coordination to clamp down the activities of cyberterrorism.

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