Indroducing Cyber Terrorism

President Obama (2009)’It’s about the privacy and the economic security of American families. We rely on the Internet to pay our bills, to bank, to shop, to file our taxes. But we’ve had to learn a whole new vocabulary just to stay ahead of the cyber criminals who would do us harm — spyware and malware and spoofing and phishing and botnets. Millions of Americans have been victimized, their privacy violated, their identities stolen, their lives upended, and their wallets emptied. According to one survey, in the past two years alone cybercrime has cost Americans more than $8 billion’ (The White House Office of the press security, 2009). Cyber warfare is defined as an ‘Internet-based conflict involving politically motivated attacks on information and information systems. Cyber warfare attacks can disable official websites and networks, disrupt or disable essential services, steal or alter classified data, and cripple financial systems among many other possibilities’ (Oxford, 2014).

How does cyber warfare Work

Cyber warfare launches when ‘hackers’ commonly in the military of a nation or supported by the state, attack computer networks that are involved with sensitive resources within a country. The hackers would learn as much as they could about the system they are targeting, focusing on exploiting the flaws in the system in order to gain control or to destroy it (Rid, T. 2013).

Who does it target?

Cyber Warfare will target any ‘sensitive industry in its opponent’s infrastructure’, these would include most military defences and weapon manufactures. Cyber terrorists will also target civilian factories that make weapons and other military equipment. However cyber criminals don’t primarily focus on attacking opposing government agencies they also target ‘the most important strategic asset a country has: its population’ (Brenner, S 2010). Cyber terrorists would focus on crippling the major financial sectors which would cause colossal damage to the country’s economy (Brenner, S & Clarke, L. (2010).


Cyber warfare is of particular interest to me because when the term ‘terrorist’ becomes mediatized I automatically think of a physical actions of terrorism, such as the September 11 attack or the Boston marathon bombings. Personally I was unaware that cyber terrorism occurred so often virtually via computer technology. I find it interesting that forms of terrorism can evolve, in this present time ‘cyber terrorism is, to be sure, an attractive option for modern terrorists, who value its anonymity, its potential to inflict massive damage, its psychological impact, and its media appeal’ (Weimann, G (2004). ‘So a new world awaits — a world of greater security and greater potential prosperity — if we reach for it, if we lead. So long as I’m President of the United States, we will do just that. And the United States — the nation that invented the Internet, that launched an information revolution, that transformed the world — will do what we did in the 20th century and lead once more in the 21st’ (Obama, B (2009).

Reference list

Brenner,S & Clarke, L. (2010). Homeland Security. Civilians in Cyberwarfare:Conscripts. 1 (2), p15-16.

Oxford Dictionary. (2014). Oxford Dictionary. Available: Rid, T. (2013).

Cyberwar and Peace. Hacking Can Reduce Real-World Violence. 1 (7), p58-60.

The White House Office of the press security. (2009). Remarks by the President on Securing Our Nation’s Cyber Infrastructure. Available:

Weimann, G. (2004). The United States Institution of Peace. Cyber-terrorism: How real is the threat. 119 (1.3), p6-7.


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