Cyber-Terrorism and Ethical Journalism: A Need for Rationalism

Cyber-Terrorism and Ethical Journalism: A Need for Rationalism

Mahmoud Eid (University of Ottawa, Canada)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-4666-1773-5.ch021


Terrorism has been a constant threat in traditional and contemporary societies. Recently, it has been converged with new media technology and cyberspace, resulting in the modern tactic, cyber-terrorism, which has become most effective in achieving terrorist goals. Among the countless cyber-terrorist cases and scenarios of only this last decade, the paper discusses four cyber-terrorism cases that represent the most recent severe cyber-terrorist attacks on infrastructure and network systems—Internet Black Tigers, MafiaBoy, Solo, and Irhabi 007. Regardless of the nature of actors and their motivations, cyber-terrorists hit very aggressively causing serious damages. Cyber-terrorists are rational actors who use the most advanced technology; hence, the critical need for the use of counter-threat swords by actors on the other side. Given that terrorist goals are mostly dependent on the media’s reactions, journalistic practices are significant and need to be most effective. A major tool that can help journalists in their anti- and counter-terrorist strategies with cyber-terrorists is rationalism, merged with the expected socially responsible conduct. Rational behaviour, founded in game theory, along with major journalistic ethical principles are fundamental components of effective media decision-making during times of terrorism.
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Terrorism And New Technologies: The Birth Of Cyber-Terrorism

The concept of cyber-terrorism was born in the mid-1980s, when Barry Collin, a senior research fellow at the Institute for Security and Intelligence in Palo Alto, California, USA, coined this hyped-up, techno-phrase by referring to the convergence of cyberspace and terrorism (Berner, 2003; Denning, 2000; Matusitz & Minei, 2009; Matusitz, 2009, 2005; Mitliaga, 2001). Although there are many different concepts of terrorism and no one agreed-upon definition of the term to date, most would acknowledge the existence of cyber-terrorism, i.e., the use of information and communications technologies to facilitate any or all forms of terrorism. Cyber-terrorism is the intentional use of threatening and disruptive actions, or attacks waged through computers, the Internet, and technology-based networks or systems against information and data, infrastructures supported by computer systems, programs, and networks in order to cause harm or to further ideological, political, or similar objectives, influence an audience, or cause a government to change its policies (Corzine & Cañas, 2008; Denning, 2000; Matusitz, 2005, 2008, 2009).

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