Digital Conflict

By Kevin Coleman

Blog archive

New concerns over cyber terrorism threat

Congresswoman Yvette Clark (D-N.Y.) who chairs the House of Representatives’ Emerging Threats, Cybersecurity, Science and Technology Subcommittee, said the United States faces chilling odds of an attack against the nation’s power grid. She went on to suggest that we need to stop asking if this could happen and start asking what can we do to protect ourselves?

In addition, United Kingdom Defense Minister Nick Harvey has called attention to the threat the country is facing from cyber terrorism in discussions of its cyber battle plans. This recently developed plan to combat cyber threats to the United Kingdom’s critical infrastructure and deal with the rising threat of cyber terrorism was outlined during the U.K. national security review. This took place on the heels of the U.K. classifying cyber terrorism as a tier one issue in need of immediate addressing.

Recently, NATO leaders discussed adopting a new strategic concept to guide the alliance's mission. NATO’s leadership has stated the need to adapt and become more flexible to meet new threats, such as cyberattacks and terrorism. Complex issues such as proliferation, cyberattack, terrorism and piracy represent some of the challenges to which NATO is adapting.

There are good reasons for the words of concern. A report out of Dubai disclosed that al-Qaeda has combined the global reach of the Internet as a cyber terrorism tool to win over non-Arab sympathizers. The report went on to state that al-Qaeda in Yemen recently released the first edition of an online English language magazine. Executive think tank Technolytics Institute, where I work, currently posts a cyber terrorism incident rating of 3.9, indicating an elevated risk.

I disclosed this information during a recent briefing and watched audience members as their jaws hit the ground. Yes, al-Qaeda now publishes an online magazine. The terrorist group hopes to use their online capabilities to recruit young westerners and encourage random attacks.

Posted by Kevin Coleman on Nov 16, 2010 at 9:03 AM


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