Skip to main content
Cyberterrorism or Cyberhype?

This month, I’ve been asked to research any potential or actual convergence between cybercrime and terrorism. Just back from a short tour of the Middle East, I don’t see any immediate evidence of one touching upon the other but in the coming weeks, I’ll be knocking on the doors of friends at the different law-enforcement and intelligence agencies in a bid to find out.



Georgetown University Professor, Dorothy Denning pointed out as far back as 1999 that the Internet presented a tool for influencing foreign policy. She commented, “What can be said is that the threat of cyberterrorism, combined with hacking threats in general, is influencing policy decisions related to cyberdefense at both a national and international level”

Asking “Who are the cyber terrorists”, Dr. Mudawi Mukhtar Elmusharaf of the computer crime research centre writes, “

“From American point of view the most dangerous terrorist group is Al-Qaeda”. The evidence indicates that the group has scouted systems that control American energy facilities, water distribution, communication systems, and other critical infrastructure. Dr Elmusharaf also points out that in “A study that covered the second half of the year 2002 showed that the most dangerous nation for originating malicious cyber attacks is the United States with 35.4% of the cases down from 40% for the first half of the same year. South Korea came next with 12.8%, followed by China 6.2% then Germany 6.7% then France 4%. The UK came number 9 with 2.2%” – Which should please David Blunkett no end.

Former Middle East war correspondent, Giles Trendle, who aired an ITN documentary with former hostage John McCarthy on Easter Sunday, has visited the Ain il-Hilweh refugee camp in south Lebanon to see how guerrilla leader; 'Colonel' Mounir Maqdah is harnessing the power of Information Technology to grow a networked organisation to extend his strike capabilities beyond all borders.

“Maqdah”, writes Trendle, who also attended this year’s eCrime congress, “Is a bullet-scarred, die-hard guerrilla fighter: a practiced exponent of asymmetric war. For this reason, he is using IT tools to offset his disadvantages and increase his capabilities to strike big against his conventionally more-powerful enemy” which in this case is the state of Israel but he’s prepared to be flexible and last year issued a threat, issued via a local magazine, that should the US attack Iraq then "hundreds of martyrs are ready to send America into hell."

In reality, fears of cyber terrorism may owe more to statistics from leading anti-virus vendors or even press releases from consultancy mi2G, which, in 2002, prompted Richard Forno, security consultant to the US Department of Defense, to launch a broadside against the company, accusing it of spreading fear, uncertainty and doubt over cyberterrorism risks, questioning its estimates of damage caused by cyber attacks and 'cybersecurity ‘intelligence' sources.

The computer crime research centre does however find one statistic that both Symantec and mi2G can agree upon, that “More than half of recorded digital attacks in the past, have been the result of misuse and abuse of networks by employees”. This may tell us that in 2004, we have far more to fear from the people inside the corporate firewall than we have to be concerned with ideologically motivated terrorist attacks from the outside.


Comments

Popular posts from this blog

A Christmas Tale

It’s pitch blackness in places along the sea wall this evening and I'm momentarily startled by a small dog with orange flashing yuletide antlers along the way. I’m the only person crazy enough to be running and I know the route well enough to negotiate it in the dark, part of my Christmas exercise regime and a good way of relieving stress.

Why stress you might ask. After all, it is Christmas Day.

True but I’ve just spent over two hours assembling the giant Playmobil ‘Pony Farm’ set when most other fathers should be asleep in front of the television.



I was warned that the Playmobil ‘Pirate Ship’ had driven some fathers to drink or suicide and now I understand why. If your eyesight isn’t perfect or if you’ve had a few drinks with your Christmas lunch then it’s a challenge best left until Boxing day but not an option if you happen to have a nine year old daughter who wants it ready to take horses by tea time.

Perhaps I should stick to technology but then, the instruc…

Merlins over Thanet

Marooned, temporarily at Manston this afternoon are the Merlins over Malta team on the way to the Mediterranean for a display to mark the historic Second World War defence of the island.


Charlie Brown

Unfortunately, the weather over Thanet is appalling this afternoon and the Spitfire and Hurricane can’t get airborne again until it clears, so the celebrity Battle of Britain aircraft pilots, Charlie Brown, Clive Denny and their team-mates are contemplating an evening among the fleshpots of Margate.


Clive Denny (Hurricane) & Charlie Brown (Spitfire) Pilots

I’m rather hoping the weather it will clear through though as they have to get to Jersey before dusk if possible and I have to take some photos of the Spitfire and Hurricane for Pilot Magazine and I’ve always wanted a chance to get in either aircraft!

An Interview with Charlie Brown

They just got off, squadron scramble or what? They were ready and gone in ten minutes towards the nearest patch of blue sky!

An interview with the legendary S…
Median Saleh

I mentioned in the last post, the 1981 expedition that took in Median Saleh, the ruined Nabatean city in Saudi Arabia


A temple carved from the rock from Petra's sister city.

By coincidence, one of the most important train stations on the Hejaz railway sat next to the ruins and when Lawrence of Arabia blew the line in 1917, the trains were trapped there and are still there today, gathering dust and with "Krupp" on the engine casings.


One of the trains, sitting where T.E. Lawrence left themwith Dr Paul Garnett as the passenger

Below, you can see one of the fortified train stations that Lawrence attacked along the Hejaz railway between Damascus and Medina.



More photos Medain Saleh can be found on THIS Site - Apparently you can catch a tourist bus these days, rather different from risking life and limb to cross an unfriendly Saudi Arabia twenty years ago!