The concept of cyber terrorism

Cyber ​​Terrorism

It is considered the current era; The era of cyberspace par excellence. The cyberspace has become the backbone of most daily interactions, and the tendency of most countries and governments to adopt smart governments, and the matter has gone beyond building smart cities, and with ease of use, cheapness of cost, and great return, the number of Internet users has increased. As it is expected that the number of Internet users and associated devices will reach 3.6 billion by the year 2018, equivalent to half of the world’s population, and with increasing dependence on it in all areas of life, whether they are; Political, economic, military, legal, or other different fields, and with the transformation of social media sites to be an unconventional actor in international relations; The Internet has become a double-edged sword. Just as it was a means to achieve human prosperity and progress, there is another dark side: the increasing threats and risks resulting from the increasing dependence on it in an open world governed by invisible interactions, and the absence of a higher legal authority to control it.
This great development in the field of the Internet in terms of the number of users and services that can be obtained, and the quality in terms of the development of the characteristics of the web, in addition to the increasing reliance on mobile phone applications to obtain the services provided by the Internet; It is imperative for states and governments to change their traditional concepts and to adopt concepts that are compatible with a new era that can be called the “electronic age” and to set policies that enable them to maximize the benefit from the Internet and avoid its dangers, thus enlarging the military, security, intellectual, political, social, economic, service, and research informational content, creating a relationship between The Internet and national security, as well as the connection of most services, databases, financial and banking infrastructure and systems to the Internet.
As a result of this expansion in the use of the Internet and its entry into many areas; It was natural for the electronic field to enter the fields of war and use it to spread terror and panic in the influence of civilians, as it is expected that electronic warfare will be the dominant feature, if not the main feature of future wars. The danger of the Internet wars lies in the fact that the world has become more and more dependent on cyberspace, especially in the military, banking and government informational infrastructures, in addition to public and private institutions and companies.
There is no doubt that the increase in cyber attacks that we are witnessing today is also related to the increase in this dependence on computer networks and the Internet in the basic national infrastructure, which means that cyber attacks today can develop to become a decisive weapon in conflicts between countries in the future, bearing in mind that the dimensions of the concept of electronic warfare and electronic terrorism It is still not understood by a wide range of observers and even the general public, as cyber attacks, on top of which are electronic terrorism, seek to disrupt the security of societies and spread fear and fear among citizens.

In this article, we will try to shed light on the concept of electronic terrorism and how terrorist groups use it to carry out their attacks on states and individuals.

The concept of electronic terrorism 

The definition of terrorism in language : Terrorism is a fearful source that terrorizes terror and intimidation, and its origin is taken from the triple verb – fear – to break – to terrorize and fear – by annexation, conquest and movement – that is, fear, and the fear of a thing frightened it, its terror and its awe, its fear, its fear and its intimidation, and fear fear and panic.
Ibn Faris said: (The Ra, Ha, and Ba are two principles: one indicates fear, and the other indicates accuracy and lightness). And it says in the crown of the bride: (Terror – by breaking – disturbance and intimidation).

The Arabic Language Academy in Cairo stated that terrorists are a description given to those who take the path of violence to achieve their political goals.
Through the foregoing, it becomes clear that the meaning of terrorism in the language indicates fear, spread, and intimidation.

Definition of electronic terrorism:

The beginning of the use of the term  terrorism electronic  Cyberterrorism  in the eighties at the hands  of Barry Colin  Barry Collin  , which concluded with the difficulty of a comprehensive definition of terrorism technology. However, he adopted a definition of cyber terrorism, according to which; As “a cyber attack whose purpose is to threaten or attack governments, in pursuit of political, religious or ideological goals, and that the attack must have a destructive and disruptive effect equivalent to the material acts of terrorism.”
And knew  James Lewis  James Lewiss  that ” the use of computer networks tools to destroy or disrupt national infrastructure task , such as: energy, transport and government operations, or in order to intimidate or civilian government . “
As  Dorothy Denning Dorothy denningg She believes that electronic terrorism is “the attack based on attacking the computer, and that its threat aims to intimidate or force governments or societies to achieve political, religious or ideological goals. The attack should be destructive and destructive, to generate fear so that it is similar to the material acts of terrorism.”

According to the US Department of Defense, it defines electronic terrorism as “a criminal act prepared by using computers and communication means that results in violence, destruction or fear of receiving services, causing confusion and uncertainty, with the aim of influencing the government or the population in order to comply with a certain political, social, or intellectual agenda.” .
according to a document of NATO it has been the definition of terrorism – mail that ” an attack by the internet through the use of , or the exploitation of computer networks or connections causing destruction would generate fear and terrorize the community, according to the goal of an ideological”

Dr.  Adel Abdel-Sadiq  defined it as meaning “aggression, intimidation, or threat, materially or morally, by using electronic means, issued by states, groups, or individuals through the electronic space, or to be the target of that aggression in a way that affects the peaceful use of it.”
With its procedural definition, it may mean “a deliberate, politically motivated activity or attack with the aim of influencing government decisions or public opinion by using cyberspace as an aid and mediator in the implementation process of a terrorist act or war through direct attacks by armed force on the capabilities of the information infrastructure or through what It is considered a moral and psychological effect through incitement to spread religious hatred and the war of ideas, or it is done in digital form through the use of new electronic weapons mechanisms in battles fought in cyberspace, whose impact may be limited to its digital dimension or may exceed material goals related to vital infrastructure.

How do terrorist groups use the internet?
Terrorist groups try to take advantage of internet technology; Many of them consider cyberspace as a means of communication and exchange of information. Al Qaeda, for example, rarely used the Internet during its formative years in the 1990s. Osama bin Laden’s  threatening messages were  subsequently spread through audio or video recordings. But with the beginning of the twenty-first century, and after the occurrence of the events of 9/11, the US military operations in Afghanistan lost Al-Qaeda a safe haven for physical training and organization, which prompted it to focus on using the Internet in communicating with its members or training them in the means of weapons that the organization would resort to. In the face of his enemies.
This resulted in an organization adopting medieval thought and embracing the technology of the twenty-first century. But Al Qaeda did not use cyberspace to carry out cyber terrorist operations, but rather to pass information and reach the wider world in a way that has never happened before for such a small group, as well as to transmit the messages of Bin Laden and other Al Qaeda leaders to millions around the world.

ISIS also exploited the Internet to broadcast the executions that it was carrying out in the captives, to spread terror and panic in the hearts of the people of the cities it wanted to control, which was partly achieved in the escape and surrender of cities and villages to ISIS for fear of being exposed to the fate of them. Before them, the organization also exploited the recruitment of many young people around the world, as the number of countries from which individuals joined ISIS to 70 countries.
The Internet revolution has allowed terrorist groups to hide their operations in new ways, more complex than their traditional predecessors. Terrorist groups have come to realize the importance of the Internet through the reliable services it provides, easy terms and virtual identities. The “Taliban”, for example, has been running a propaganda website for its military operations and suicide bombings against American forces in Afghanistan for more than a year, bearing in mind that this website was owned by an American company in the state Texas , and was renting websites for $ 70 a month, paid by credit card, and it was handling about 16 million user accounts.
Terrorist groups were also able to use the Internet to communicate with each other across continents, which would have taken months in the past. Not only that, but terrorist groups have been able to share knowledge in new and innovative ways. This is what security experts call “TTPS,” which is an acronym for “tactics, techniques, and procedures.” Recipes for explosives are readily available on the Internet, as are methods for preparing explosive devices that were used in conflict areas from Iraq to Afghanistan. Virtual training spaces away from the risk of bombing drones.
The Internet has also provided terrorist groups with a low-cost source of intelligence gathering about their targets. For example, Google Earth technology enabled the Pakistani terrorist group Lashkar-e-Taiba to plan the Mumbai attacks   in 2008. Likewise, in 2007, when a group of American soldiers took memorial photos at a military base in Iraq, behind them were a group of The helicopters were then uploaded to the Internet, and the photos did not show the type of aircraft or any useful information for terrorist groups, but some terrorist groups were able to exploit the geographical signs – Geotags that contained the pictures, to be able to locate the military base and destroy four helicopters in an attack. Mortar shells.

In the end, confronting cyber terrorism worldwide requires collective action and cooperation from the world’s countries and international and regional organizations. Despite the difficulty of achieving such cooperation, the desire to protect private interests and have a degree of trust among governments may pave the way for international cooperation that works to limit Future electronic threats, in particular cooperation in enacting internal legislation and laws that are consistent with each other, and also launching international legislation that allows states to confront strictly what these attacks infringe on the sovereignty of states and threaten the security and safety of world countries, and the independence of international organizations and impede them in carrying out the tasks assigned to them.

Sources and references:

Adel Abdel-Sadiq, Electronic Terrorism, Power in International Relations, Center for Political and Strategic Studies.

james A .lewis, Assessing the Risks of Cyber Terrorism, Cyber War and Other Cyber Threats, Center for Strategic and International Studies December 2002

 information warfare indian air force: wave of the future? current fad? rand ,Glenn Buchanmarch 1996

  Responses to Cyber Terrorism, IOS Press, edited by Center of Excellence Defence Against Terrorism Ankara. Turkey

SAKHRI Mohamed
SAKHRI Mohamed

I hold a Bachelor's degree in Political Science and International Relations in addition to a Master's degree in International Security Studies. Alongside this, I have a passion for web development. During my studies, I acquired a strong understanding of fundamental political concepts and theories in international relations, security studies, and strategic studies.

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