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Cyber Terrorism: An Analysis Of The Impact Of Advanced Technology On The Modern Terrorist Landscape

The rate of global terrorism expansion is increasing, Nowadays, terrorism has widespread and includes terrorism in the cybersphere, or the virtual world, as opposed to just terrorism that causes physical harm.

Cyberterrorism occurs when an information system of a country is attacked, which causes the country's citizens to become alarmed and perplexed. The internet has evolved into an integral component of today's world, influencing every aspect of a nation's operation, whether it be the economic, social, legal, security, or protocols of a nation or an individual.

This paper tries to analyze the idea of cyber-terrorism in detail by outlining for the readers the various negative consequences that emerge from it as well as what causes it. Additionally, this paper also puts light on the ways in which cyber-terrorism can be suppressed or rather eradicated in an efficient and effective manner.

Computers and the Internet have proven to be beneficial for humankind. For a long time, it has provided a person in society with a variety of aids. But just like a coin has two sides, what do computers and the internet have? It is nothing less than a two-faced sword. Though the computers and internet have raised the standard of life of every individual in society and on the other hand, it has also been causing some serious threats and hindrances to the legal world.

As the Internet has grown, more and more responsibilities have been placed on computer systems, which has made them more complicated and autonomous, which has caused them to become more complicated, vandalized, and even the victim of cyberterrorism, which is endangering the general public more and more.

Despite all the benefits the internet provides to the general public, it also has negative aspects[1]. Recently, there has been a recent increase in cyber-terrorism. Cyberterrorism is nothing but an electronic attack that is conducted both domestically and outside through cyberspace, in other words, it is an electronic attack that takes place by using computer networks and the internet.

The growth and development of computer technology have made people reliant upon computers and the Internet and have contributed to the growth of cities and an increase in cases of cyberterrorism

If we examine the definition of cyberterrorism, we can see that cyberterrorism becomes a concern only when it violates the confidentiality, integrity, and availability (CIA) of the computers, networks, and information stored, as well as when it results in violence or some other type of harm. Cyberterrorism was coined by Barry C. Collin.

Definition Of Cyber Terrorism;

A physical attack that hampers computerized nodes for critical infrastructures, such as the Internet, telecommunications, or the electric power grid, without ever touching a keyboard, can also contribute to, or be called cyber terrorism[2].

The FBI defined cyber terrorism as "The premeditated, politically motivated attack against information, computer systems, computer programs, and data which result in violence against non-combatant targets by sub-national groups or clandestine agents"[3].

The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) defines cyber-terrorism as "unlawful attacks and threats of attack against computers, networks, and the information stored therein when done to intimidate or coerce a government or its people in furtherance of political or social objectives"[4].

NATO defines cyber-terrorism as "a cyber-attack using or exploiting computer or communication networks to cause sufficient destruction or disruption to generate fear or to intimidate a society into an ideological goal[5].

The U.S. National Infrastructure Protection Centre defined the term as: "A criminal act perpetrated by the use of computers and telecommunications capabilities, resulting in violence, destruction and/or disruption of services to create fear by causing confusion and uncertainty within a given population, with the goal of influencing a government or population to conform to particular political, social or ideological agenda"[6].

However, in reality, terrorists frequently utilize electronic devices and the internet to plan, coordinate, and carry out attacks, as well as to acquire weapons, gather intelligence, and appeal to followers. The aim of cyber terrorism is mostly fishing, identity theft, destruction or manipulation of data, hacking, and computer viruses that fall under the category of various reasons which are an instrument for the occurrence of cyber terrorism. One of the main problems that we can consider for cyber terrorism is the threat to a large bank. The senior directors are left with the encrypted message which is done by the terrorist who has hacked into the system which in turn threatens the bank.

Causes Of Cyber-Terrorism;

  • Cyberterrorism is generally spreading due to the benefit that it is less expensive than other traditional tactics.
  • It can also benefit from impersonation, which can lead to anonymous cyberterrorism.
  • Convenience is another factor that contributes to cyber-terrorism.
  • Political or ideological objectives, such as advancing a specific agenda or trying to interfere with government activities.
  • Gaining money through stealing confidential information or demanding ransom payments.
  • Without any obstacles or physical barriers, a large number of people can be targeted with no or little risk of being tracked.
  • Cyberterrorism can also be used to damage a company's reputation or a country's reputation.
  • Taking revenge or having personal grievances against a particular person or group.
  • It is important to note that most cyberattacks have a financial motivation.

Impacts Of Cyber-Terrorism;

  • Cyberterrorism hampers the economic and political stability of a country.
  • Disruption of vital services and infrastructure, including banking networks, transportation networks, and electricity grids.
  • Due to cyberterrorism, the stock market, consumer spending habits, and the entire economy are all at risk.
  • Cyberterrorism is a serious threat to the integrity and security of a nation.
  • A nation's infrastructure is also impacted by cyberterrorism, which tends to slow down the country's expansion and progress.
  • Financial damages for the organizations as well as harm to reputation and credibility.
  • The businesses which run its operation through online platforms get severely affected due to cyberterrorism.
  • Democratic process interference, if cyber-attacks are used to tamper with elections or influence public opinion.

Illustrations And Case Laws;
  • A cyber-attack is more dangerous than war. In the twenty-first century, technology has advanced to the point that not only are online consumers inconvenienced, in addition to the cyber threat that exists on digital platforms and that so many nations have had to deal with.
  • In 2007, Estonia, the country faced horrible cyber-attacks[7], in which one of their essential infrastructures collapsed without any explosion or any sign of the enemy, from newspapers to banks to the power system everything collapsed.
  • In 2015-2017, The cyber-attack on the Ukraine power grid which occurred in Europe, is said to be the first instance of a cyber strike that resulted in a power outage.
  • In 2010, in India Stuxnet, a computer worm, attacked the power infrastructure and the state-owned oil company. It was the third most-hit nation by the worm.
  • In 2017, Numerous institutions in the United States were impacted by the WannaCry ransomware outbreak, including hospitals and government entities.
In order to protect online users, systems, and digital platforms from online perpetrators, an ardent system should be created. Cyberterrorism is frequently motivated by a desire for personal gain as well. One such example is Chaos Computer Club, which was discovered in 1997, this club in order to deceive the Quicken Accounting program into withdrawing money from the users' bank accounts, this group developed an article X control for the Internet.

The users are those who have the Quicken software installed on their personal computers. This file could destroy the users' networks, harming and annoying and it'll also be causing a distraction to the users.
  • Another instance of cyberterrorism was demonstrated by the hackers' hacking of the website of the Ukrainian president, "Viktor Yushchenko"[8].
  • In May 2007, after the removal of the Russian World War II war memorial from downtown Tallinn, a more severe cyberattack was witnessed[9]. Nearly all of the government ministry networks in Estonia as well as two significant bank networks were taken offline as a result of this attack, which targeted specific websites with high traffic in an effort to take them offline.
  • In 1998, one of the most well-known instances of cyber terrorism was the famous Internet bombing carried out by the Internet Black Tigers against the Sri Lankan embassies.
  • On July 12, Ahmedabad bomb blast case, more than 70 people were killed and 200 people were injured when bombings occurred consecutively over a period of 70 minutes. According to the media, the terrorist organization Mujahedeen, Islamic Militant Group (Harkat-Ul-Jihad-al-Islim), who claimed responsibility for the incident, sent them 14-page emails including threats. According to the media agency, they received these emails just five minutes preceding the bomb attacks and these emails contained a reference to the 2002 Gujarat Gupta Godhead train burning incident and seeking revenge for the same.

    These emails created a major threat by announcing a fear of dying, which was to be seen within five minutes of this email, according to the media agency's email. These emails also referred to the historic 2006 Mumbai train bombings, which occurred on July 11, 2016, and threatened the chief minister of Maharashtra and his deputy by doing so. The email's subject line read, "we surprised at your memories," and even Mukesh Ambani was included in these threats and received such threatening emails.
  • Mumbai terror attack:
    On 26th November 2011, 12 synchronized bombs and shootings took place over the course of 4 days during the terror attack. The attackers used global positioning satellite devices to find their way into Mumbai from the sea, CDs with high-resolution satellite images, satellite images, different sites, and multi-SIM cards, making it hard to track.
  • Due to the devastating effects of the Mumbai terror attack, the Indian government quickly considered several amendment proposals to the original Information Technology Act of 2000. This proposal includes a specific section involving cyber-terrorism[10].

Legal Aspects
Information Technology Act,2000 (amended in 2008) defines and provides the punishment under Section 66F, according to which whoever does any act which results intending to intimidate the unity, integrity, security, or sovereignty of India and creates a sense of terror in the minds of people or even any section of people by the way of denial to authorized access of a computer resource or by gaining unauthorized access and causing any disruption to the computer resources and if by the virtue of these acts it results or is likely to result in death or any injuries to any individual or it causes or is likely of cause any form of damage or destruction to any property.

Or it causes disruption to the supply of services which are essential to the life of the community or it can even cause an unfavorable effect on the critical information system as described under section 70 of the act. It also includes unauthorized access, knowingly or intentionally to the data, information which is crucial and was kept restricted for the security of the State, and such data if obtained can even cause serious damage to the sovereignty and integrity of the nation, morality, public relations of the State, etc. Any person who commits or even who conspires to commit cyber terrorism is punishable with imprisonment which may extend to life imprisonment.

This section 66F of the Information Technology Act, 2000 must be read along with a significant section 499 of the Indian Penal Code[11]
  • Under Section 69A of the Act, empowers the Central Government or any officially designated officer to issue instructions to restrict any information that it deems to be a threat to the nation's sovereignty and integrity.
  • Unlawful Activities Prevention Act, 1967
    It stops illegal operations in India from coming together. It outlines the penalties for engaging in terrorist actions, including setting up terrorist camps and recruiting people to participate in terrorist endeavors. If cyberspace is used to carry out any of these operations, it will also be punished.
  • Cyber Security Policy, 2013
    Its aim is to increase cyberspace security. It provides a complete defense against all terrorists as well as other types of antisocial elements that pose a threat to the security of cyberspace.
  • As such, the EU convention on cyber-crimes, 2001 had laid down strategic roles for the member parties to corroborate with each[12].

Possible Measures That Can Be Taken To Curb Cyber-Terrorism;

There are several measures that can be taken to curb cyber-terrorism:
  • Cyber-attacks can be defended against with the use of more robust cyber-security techniques like encryption and firewalls.
  • Another way to lessen the danger of cyberattacks is to update software and systems often to fix known vulnerabilities.
  • Monitoring network activity for signs of suspicious activity and implementing intrusion detection systems can help detect and respond to cyber-attacks in real time.
  • Cyber security training shall be provided to recognize and avoid possible threats.
  • Making new and best possible security policies and strategies.
  • Deployment Of high-security applications.
  • Enculturation of an Effective Disaster Recovery plan.
  • Enactment of stricter cyber laws.
  • Promotion of research and development
  • Preserve strong connections with Local, regional, and international law enforcement organizations to enable swift response to any cyber terrorist assault.

The threat of cyberterrorism, which has increased significantly over the past few years on a global scale, poses a serious threat to the security of both individuals and nations. Effective advancement in technology has increased the dependence of people on computer networks which has led to falling prey to cyber terrorism.

The issue of cyber terrorism has not yet been solved despite the existence of existing cyber laws and other associated legislation relating to cyber terrorism; rather, it has been growing at an alarming rate. Ample cyber jurists[13] claim that the Information Technology Act, of 2000 should be amended on the lines of criminal law to make it workable, which was at last paid attention to by the government[14].

In conclusion, cyberterrorism is a serious threat that can have far-reaching consequences for individuals, organizations, and even entire nations. It is important for individuals, organizations, and governments to take proactive measures to protect against cyber-attacks and to be prepared to respond in the event of an attack.

This includes implementing strong cybersecurity measures, regularly updating software and systems, monitoring network activity, providing cybersecurity training and education, and cooperating with other organizations and governments to share information and disrupt cyber terrorist groups. By taking these steps, we can work together to mitigate the risk of cyber-terrorism and protect ourselves and our communities from its potentially devastating effects.

Therefore, it can be summed up by saying that before it's too late, one should pay adequate attention to the growing issue of cyberterrorism.

  1. R.K. Chaubey, An Introduction To Cyber Crime And Cyber Law (Kamal Law House 2012).
  2. Dan Verton, A Definition of Cyber-terrorism, COMPUTERWORLD, (August 11, 2003) [,10801,83843,00.html].
  3. Valarie Findlay, Cyber-Terrorism and Canada's Cyber- Security Strategy, SSR., April 2015, at 1, 1.
  4. Clay Wilson, Botnets, Cybercrime, and Cyberterrorism: Vulnerabilities and Policy Issues for Congress, Cong. Research Serv., 4 (2018) (quoting from the FEMA toolkit for terrorism responses).
  5. Aditya Goyal, Cyber Terrorism: An Analysis with an Indian Perspective, 4 CMET. 74, 74 (2017).
  6. R.K. Chaubey, An Introduction To Cyber Crime And Cyber Law 474 (2d ed. 2015).
  7. Boyte, Kenneth, __A Comparative Analysis of the Cyberattacks Against Estonia, the United States, and Ukraine: Exemplifying the Evolution of Computer-Supported Warfare, 7 IJCWT. 54, 56 (2017).
  8. M.N. Sirohi, Cyber Terrorism And Information Warfare 13 (Alpha Editions 2015).
  9. A. Kiyuna, L. Conyers, Cyberwarfare Sourcebook 92 ( 2015).
  10. Halder Debarati, Information Technology Act and Cyber Terrorism: A Critical Review. SSRN Electronic Journal, 75, 81 (2011).
  11. Indian Penal Code, 1860, Sec. 499.
  12. The EU Convention on Cyber Crimes, 2001, art. 23-35
  13. Vivek Sood, Cyber Law Simplified, (Tata McGraw Hill Publishing Companies, New Delhi, 2001).
  14. Talat Fatima, Cyber Crime 246 (2d ed. Eastern Book Company, Lucknow 2016).

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