Digital Terrorism Attack: Types, Effects, and Prevention

Digital Terrorism Attack: Types, Effects, and Prevention

Parkavi R. (Thiagarajar College of Engineering, India), Nithya R. (Thiagarajar College of Engineering, India) and Priyadharshini G. (Thiagarajar College of Engineering, India)
Copyright: © 2020 |Pages: 27
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-7998-1558-7.ch005


In this rapidly growing era of technology, terrorist organizations do not ultimately depend on weapons, army, bombs, and lethal weapons to inflict terror. As the entire earth is developing at a rapid pace, so do the terrorists. The strategies adopted by them have become cannier and more sinister. In addition to that, they no longer involve in training, making tedious plans, undergoing physical training, and subjecting their allies to physical attacks. Rather, they impose serious threats by attacking their victims by vandalizing the online infrastructure. This can be done conveniently from any part of the globe, thus enabling them to use the dark side of the internet. This chapter focuses on digital terrorism attacks, its impact, and it furnishes certain methods for prevention.
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In our day-to-day life, we come across many cyberattacks happening all around the world. These attacks inflict major damage to the person and the entire network upon which that particular system is connected to. These attacks are increasingly at an alarming speed which becomes inevitable to miss our notice. Some major incidents have happened that have shaken the entire world which left us at a state where people started wondering what the hell was happening. Before they could even realize the attacker would have vandalized them and would have stolen the valuable and private data that is extremely important to them. Let's look at some particular cases where the security was heavily damaged and the attackers gained access to illegal data.

In the middle of 2009, the famous dominator search engine Google also had to go through a similar crisis where the security was breached and data was got. The Chinese Google which was launched back in 2006 suffered from continuous attacks of digital terrorism. This particular event was known as Operation Aurora aimed at stealing intellectual property from Google. It did not just put a stop after attacking the security of Google. The operation went a step further and attacked also 30 major companies as they also, unfortunately, became the target of this operation of digital terrorism. On the overview, we can see this attack as a means to gain access to a Chinese public activist's account. Although a blog released by Google thereafter stated that the attack did not succeed in achieving its objective it should be considered as a major threat or danger because in this case, we are talking about a multinational company that has its roots and branches etched everywhere in the part of the world. When such a highly secured spot can be breached it automatically puts a serious and impending threat on all others and thus making them more cautious and alert. It was also analyzed that all the breaches happened only due to using Internet Explorer and this also resulted in German, Australian, and French governments asking their people to switch to alternative browsers. But pen-ultimately they were able to track down to two Chinese schools that have a partnership Baidu which happened to be the main rival search engine of Google in China. But the ultimate thing that we have to consider is that any amount of security can be breached via the modern aspects of technology thus always leading us to a state of probable vulnerabilities. And we must also take the prevention steps rather than trying to recover ourselves from the attacks after our systems have been attacked.

When we look at the case of Heart bleed, it wasn’t a virus but it was a bug that was mistakenly written into OpenSSL. This paved way for hackers thus making their work effortless and easy and thus enabled the hackers to create a gateway that will enable them to access the databases. Some arguments are put forth stating that it is the biggest attack in the history of cyber-attacks. It is reported that it has nearly affected 17% of all the websites thus making it potentially threatful. The most horrible thing was that the infested bug was found only two years after the bug was almost gone. The late discovery was detected by Google security in 2014.

Another case emerged when yahoo asked all its users to change their passwords if they haven't done so since 2014. It was followed by a release of a statement saying that about 500 million users had seen their data being stolen by hackers. The stolen data included numbers, personal information, passwords. The level of infestation is much higher than the other recent attacks like MySpace and Adobe.

Key Terms in this Chapter

Cyberattack: An attack that is launched onto the network so as to gain illegal access to the system.

Anonymity: Restraining oneself from revealing their true identity.

Threat: Anything that can cause damage or harm the system or the network. It is only a warning and it does not mean the happening of the event. It only hints at the happening of the impending danger.

Hashing: Method of converting a string of characters into a shorter fixed length value for easy storage and retrieval.

Digital Attack: A violent case where the attacker attacks the offender by means of attacking the network infrastructure.

Attack: Something that causes potential harm and destroys a thing or affects a thing.

Decryption: It is the process of converting cipher text back to plain text generally using a key and thus finding the actual content.

Spam: Unrelated things sent over the internet that is completely irrelevant.

Cyberspace: It denotes an environment where internet and systems communicate actively.

Encryption: It is the process of converting plain text to cipher text that makes it harder for the hacker to figure out.

Phishing: The process of sending emails or messages pretending to be another person who results in getting personal data from others such as credit card number or phone number.

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