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Cyberterrorism – An Overview

The Internet can easily be used for terrorist purposes!

This includes:

  • propaganda (including recruitment, radicalization and incitement to terrorism)
  • terrorist financing (through online scams and direct fundraising)
  • terrorist training
  • planning of terrorist attacks (including through secret communication and open-source information)
  • execution of terrorist attacks
  • cyberattacks & cybercrimeCybercrime Cybercrime is a crime related to technology, computers, and the Internet. Typical cybercrime are performed by a computer against a computer, or by a hacker using software to attack computers or networks.

The term cyberterrorism has been applied by some to describe the use of the Internet for terrorist purposes.

Online Terrorism Connection

Information and communication technology (ICT) can be used to facilitate the commission of terrorist-related offenses (a form of cyber-enabled terrorism) or can be the target of terrorists (a form of cyber-dependent terrorism).

Specifically, ICT can be used to promote, support, facilitate, and/or engage in acts of terrorism.

Particularly, the Internet can be used for terrorist purposes such as the spreading of “propaganda (including recruitment, radicalization and incitement to terrorism); [terrorist] financing; [terrorist] training; planning [of terrorist attacks] (including through secret communication and open-source information); execution [of terrorist attacks]; and cyberattacks” (UNODC, 2012, p. 3).

Just as there is no universal consensus on a definition of cybercrime, there is no universally accepted definition of terrorism nor of cyberterrorism.

Conceptions of cyberterrorism have ranged from “more expansive conceptions; including any form of online terrorist activity; and narrower understandings of this concept.”

The narrow understanding of cyberterrorism has been described as “pure cyberterrorism” by some. This narrow definition considers cyberterrorism as a cyber-dependent crime perpetrated for political objectives to provoke fear, intimidate and/or coerce a target government or population, and cause or threaten to cause harm (e.g., sabotage). Examples of this narrow conception of cyberterrorism include “attacks that lead to death or bodily injury, explosions, plane crashes, water contamination, or severe economic loss. Serious attacks against critical infrastructures could be acts of cyberterrorism, depending on their impact. Attacks that disrupt nonessential services or that are mainly a costly nuisance would not” according to some sources. It is important to note that this limitation of cyberterrorism to cybercrimesCybercrimes Cybercrime is a crime related to technology, computers, and the Internet. Typical cybercrime are performed by a computer against a co