In a world of computers and networked information, cyber terrorism is a growing concern for American citizens and governments. A terrorist attack using cyber tools could disrupt the nation's vital military, financial, and service computer systems.
Unlike traditional terrorism, which typically aims to create bloodshed and terror, cyber terrorism can be performed in an unreliable fashion with limited impact. In addition, cyber attacks are less effective at achieving political or ideological objectives.
A cyber terrorist is a non-state actor that uses digital technology to commit violent acts with the objective of causing physical, psychological, or economic damage. It is an umbrella term that includes a variety of activities ranging from industrial espionage to attacks against information technology (IT) systems.
Cyberterrorism occurs at many levels of sophistication and requires a high level of technology, resources, and investment on the part of the attackers. This means that the impact of cyber terrorism will vary according to the capabilities of the attackers and the nature of the targets.
The most common form of cyber terrorism is through malware and ransomware. These malware programs lock the user's machine or system and demand payment of a ransom to unlock it.
Another type of cyber terrorism involves the use of man-in-the-middle attacks. This is a technique that involves installing spyware in the victim's machine or network, which allows the perpetrator to record and log all of the user's activity.
Despite the widespread use of technology and the fact that the Internet has become increasingly important in the world, cyber terrorism remains a largely underappreciated threat. In fact, a terrorist attack that uses cyber tools may be more devastating than a bomb in destroying the national psyche and economy.