Cyberterrorism – Definition

An interesting comment about cyberterrorism by the Estonian defense ministry official Christian-Marc Liflander. For him, the last year attack on Estonia belongs to the realm of cyberterrorism; but as pointed out by Stephen Cummings, director of the British government’s Centre for the Protection of National Infrastructure, this is far from certain. I would agree: not sure the evidence points out towards terrorism; to threaten governmental institutions does not by itself constitute terrorism – there must be an additional element, that of inspiring terror to the civil population. Although attacking official institutions is often linked to this purpose, the two can be separated. Finally, Mr Liflander partly contradicts himself as he said that little evidence can be gathered about where the attacks came from; so if no evidence of who did it, how can there be evidence of a purpose to terrorise?

http://www.crime-research.org/news/17.04.2008/3316/ (16 April 2008)

compare with the FBI assertion that the internet is used by terrorists groups to communicate, which seems to suggest that it is rarely used to attack institutions: http://www.crime-research.org/news/16.04.2008/3312/ (16 April 2008)

Related to terrorism is the question of national security. The US, or at least some US MPs, seem to have a broad vision of security and include governmental websites. Timothee Lee, from Techdirt, disagrees on the basis that those websites are not linked with the military’s protocols on the net. Well, I would argue that it depends of what those websites are supposed to do. If they are the main portal to a wide range of services less and less available in the “physical” world, they may be considered as primary and integrated part of the life of a nation. The building of a city hall or city council where Government offers a range of services could be classified as national security; why not the websites? Maybe the question is linked with what we mean by national security: military or beyond?
Keeping Defense.gov Up Isn’t A National Security Issue http://www.techdirt.com/articles/20080518/1934151159.shtml (21 May 2008)

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About Audrey Guinchard

Senior Lecturer @ University of Essex (UK)
This entry was posted in Offences - Hacking (unauthorised access), Offences - Terrorism. Bookmark the permalink.

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