Statement of the Problem
Has cyber terrorism become a bigger concern to the government since the 9/11 attacks and the war on terrorism? When it comes to terrorism, people often think I is only restricted to physical harm. It is because of this oblivion that cyber terrorism is on the rise. According to the U.S. Federal Bureau of Investigation, cyber terrorism is any "premeditated, politically motivated attack against information, computer systems, computer programs, and data which results in violence against non-combatant targets by sub-national groups or clandestine agents" (SearchSecurity.com, 2007). Agencies want to know where will these attacks strike next and who will be a target? Unlike a nuisance virus or computer attack, which results in a denial of service, cyber terrorist attacks are designed to cause physical violence or extreme financial harm (SearchSecurity.com, 2007). According to the U.S. Commission of Critical Infrastructure Protection, possible cyber terrorist targets include the banking industry, military installations, power plants, air traffic control centers, and water systems. (SearchSecurity.com, 2007). Figure 1 is the most recent areas that see the highest amount of these cyber attacks (Breach, 2009). [pic] http://www.breach.com/resources/whitepapers/downloads/WP_WebHackingIncidents_2008.pdf Besides the cultures in countries being targets for these attacks, the industry sees a large amount of these attacks as well (See figure below). It is because of these trends, that cyber terrorism is a growing concern. [pic]
Science behind the Problem
Since cyber terrorism, is internet based, it is difficult to determine one specific form of attack that hackers will use. Terrorism is shown as a threat of violence, maintenance of a condition of constant fear with the purpose of achievement of certain political or other purposes, compulsion to the certain actions, attraction of attention to the person of the cyber terrorist or the terrorist organization, which he represents (Golubev, 2004). Turstwave a leader in security prevention has compiled a recent database on the most common attacks seen by cyber terrorists. (See below picture to see this compilation) Terrorists are becoming more sophisticated with their attacks as technology progresses with time. [pic]
http://tacticalwebappsec.blogspot.com/2010/06/zone-h-defacement-statistics-report-for.html According to South China Morning (2010), “These are faceless, but real, people - specialized cyber sleuths - who are trying to keep us safe (South China Morning, 2010). Their target is the Stuxnet computer worm, which has infected the control systems of an unknown number of public utilities, such as power plants and pipelines, and industries (South China Morning, 2010). Security experts say that what sets it apart is that it appears designed to cause serious damage, by perverting computer programs to give false readings and instructions (South China Morning, 2010). It seems unlikely that future generations will get a laugh out of Stuxnet (South China Morning, 2010). The worm found a way through Microsoft's Windows operating system into Siemens software used to run industrial control equipment (South China Morning, 2010). Experts say there is no doubt it is the first directed cyber weapon - there is only speculation about who and what is being targeted and by whom (South China Morning, 2010). Most infected computers are in Iran, leading to suggestions that a controversial nuclear facility may be targeted, but there are many elsewhere. (South China Morning, 2010) If, as one computer security expert says, it would have taken 10 specialist programmers six months of full-time work to build the worm - suggesting unlimited financing and possible government involvement - a new era of cyber war and cyber terrorism may be a frightening step closer ” (South...
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Era of cyberterrorism may be a step closer. (2010). South China
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