Cyber Terrorism: The Growing Threat

Cybercrime and the Digital Dystopia

Mark Goodman, an expert on cyber crime, has seen evidence of a growing threat in the cyber universe. Technology’s goal is to make our lives easier, but there is a flipside to the benefits of technology. “These are awesome tools which will bring about great change for our world, but in the hands of suicide bombers, the future can look quite different,” a future where pacemakers, power grids, ATMs, cars, drones, and healthcare systems can be hacked because they all use the internet. In the recent Target hack,  customer’s credit card data was stolen via the air condition because it was connected to the same Internet that the credit card system was on, and as a result hackers were able to work towards retrieving the credit card numbers of 40 millions of Target customers (

Mark Goodman states that each year 400 billion dollars are lost to cyber terrorism. But most of the time, it is not just money that is lost. In the case of the Sony hack, company secrets, social security numbers, and unreleased movies and scripts were released and  are now out for the public to see. Very few, only about 6%, of cyber attacks are discovered from inside the company, the remaining 94%  of companies discover they have been hacked when the FBI tells them, or a customer complains. It takes, on average, a Fortune 500 company 211 days to notice a breach; while it takes 15 minutes for 75% of Fortune 500 companies to be hacked. With the growing sophistication of cyber terrorism and the little effort it takes to break into our systems—along with the fact that we are not protecting ourselves—the threat of cyber terrorism is growing and will continue to grow unless we do something to stop it.

Terrorist Capabilities for Cyber Attack: Overview and Policy Issues

Cyber Terrorism has been a growing threat since 9/11, and the Internet has become a growing haven for our information; from credit cards, to the stock market, and company secrets, the Internet holds most of our lives. This CRS Report for Congress titled Terrorist Capabilities for Cyber Attack: Overview and Policy Issues states the problems that the United States is facing and how the threat and sophistication of these cyber attacks will grow in the future. Currently, “the United States may provide ample economic targets vulnerable to cyber attack,” and today, terrorist groups are increasing their cyber presence and putting more effort into attacking our nation via the Internet. In fact, the FBI has predicted, “terrorists will either develop or hire hackers for the purpose of complimenting large conventional attacks” through the Internet.

This government research report is included in this project because it clearly states the future risk that cyber terrorism has, but also what we can do to prevent them. The first step was the creation of the Office of Cyber Security and Communications in 2006, and is responsible for “enhancing the security, resilience, and reliability of the Nation’s cyber and communications infrastructure” ( Today in 2014 we see roughly 117,339 cyber attacks each day, attacks which threaten the security of credit cards, Social Security numbers, and other private information ( If we as a nation do nothing about the looming threat of cyber terrorism, we are going to regret it later. While the Office of Cyber Security and Communication is a good start, there is still much more we can do.

How Hacker Impact Our News

On Wednesday April 8th, 2015 ISIS hacked into a French television station and according to Forbes Magazine, “The massive hack-attack took the station off the air for hours and disrupted normal operations for nearly a day” and goes on saying, “it is evidence that the group may have far more advanced cyber war capabilities than was conventionally believed to be the case.” This attack on the French television station is a warning sign for what is ahead. Broadcasting stations need to invest and take the appropriate steps in their securing their network security and to make sure what happened in France does not happen to them. If hackers have access to how we get our news, chaos can spread throughout the world.

Today, Twitter has become a way we get news. In the past, hackers were able to get access to the Associated Press’s Twitter account and tweeted, “Breaking: Two Explosions in the White House and Barack Obama is injured" to it’s 1.9 million followers. This sent the stock market into chaos, “The Dow Jones industrial average plunged more than 128 points in seconds after the report.” Internet hackers pose a threat to our nation and economy. As a result of the fake AP tweet, “$136 billion in equity market value” were lost. If hackers continue to attack our ability to stay informed, we might never be able to trust the news.

Islamists seek to organize jihad in cyberspace

The web is becoming a more and more dangerous place, mostly because terrorist groups are beginning to invest their resources into attacking the United States and other counties via the Internet. The Washington Post reports that “A Web forum for Muslim extremists is calling on its members to organize an Islamist hackers’ army to carry out Internet attacks against the U.S. government” attacks that could result in money lost, information leaked, and put American lives in danger… EXPLAIN. One of the members of the forum called for “the creation of an Islamist organization, which he dubbed ‘Jaish al-Hacker al-Islami,’ the Islamic Hacker’s Army.”

If hackers continue down the same path of increasing the sophistication of their attacks, white we wait like sitting ducks, the hackers, and terrorist in some cases, are going to attack us in ways we have never seen before. Cyber security has become one of the most serious economic and national security threats we have faced in the post 9/11 world. If we do not prepare, more leaks such as the ones from Wiki Leaks and Edward Snowden will occur and information can end up in the wrong hands. We have been warned, countless times, we see the capability hackers have, and the threat they pose. So what is the world going to do about it?

Major U.S. Weapons Compromised By Chinese Hackers

Chinese hackers have been blamed by theUnited States for “partially compromising” highly classified designs for our weapons. Weapons include F-35s, Navy Standard Missiles, and our Terminal High Altitude Area Defense system— along with many others. Experts believe that the Chinese, “could use the stolen information to find vulnerabilities in the American military assets,” and put our 580 billion dollar military at risk. The hackers “obtained the information by accessing the networks of private defense companies that do business with the Pentagon,” a similar ways to the way hackers were able to infiltrate Target, through a third party. One expert states that “the cyber threat is serious and the United States cannot be confident that our critical Information Technology systems will work under attack from a sophisticated and well-resourced opponent utilizing cyber capabilities in combination with all their military and intelligence capabilities.”

China now has a major advantage against us: they are one step closer to knowing how our military works. This puts the live of thousands of military personal at risk and billions of dollars on the line. With more information, China could make similar weapons, planes, and defense systems and using them against us. China saw how strong our military was from reports and pictures published, but now they can become just as strong. In addition, China also has the potential to know our weaknesses and could find a way to attack them. All of this is achievable because of our weak cyber security system.

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