Computer Crime Research Center


Al Qaeda in cyber space: threats of cyberterrorism

Date: July 27, 2004
Source: Computer Crime Research Center
By: Dmitri Kramarenko

Terrorism, as a display of utmost extremism, is based on various disagreements (national, transnational) in politics, economy, religious or criminal grounds and has been widely discussed for a long time. Modern level of high technologies development extends capabilities of their use to commit actions of terrorism.

Dr Magnus Ranstorp is Director of Centre for the Study of Terrorism and Political Violence at the University of St Andrews, Scotland, one of the biggest world's expert on Islamic terrorism and a CNN principal consultant on Terrorism and bin Laden before and after 11 September 2001 raised an alarm in his analysis entitled "Al-Qaeda in cyberspace: terrorism challenges in the information era".

The ability of separate individuals to reach the huge audience has opened a new chapter in the history of recruiting, mobilization and propaganda. Cyberspace allows running theoretical, military, theological teaching and propaganda, and also recruiting and maintaining communication between their single units.

Besides disposable cellular phones and indefinable cellular sim cards, for instance made in Switzerland, Al Qaeda uses free based email boxes at Hotmail, Yahoo!, etc for messaging and exchanging of information, where it is impossible to intercept them.

John Hamre, Deputy Secretary of Defense (1997-1999) said that on [Al Qaeda's] laptops, which they had got our hands on, there had been all these probing of sites dealing with programming of supervisory control and data acquisition (SCADA) systems and control of SCADA systems within electrical and other power company scenarios.

Osama bin Laden showed the importance of Internet to him when he created an original hacker school at the faculty of electronics in his university. This importance is also displayed by introduction of cyber university in Pakistan to study these SCADA systems controlling water distribution networks, dams, gas and oil pipelines and nuclear power plants.

Ranstorp reminds that Lebanese terrorist group Hezbollah also possesses up-to-date information technologies at their disposal and he also believes that Al-Qaeda is able to organize a scaled terrorist act having united all traditional actions with information attack and it might lead to huge monetary losses.

"We can expect to see an escalation in terrorism on a global scale with a continuation of conventional acts of terror, such as suicide bombings and shooting, as well as mega-terror like September 11 in the US and March 11 in Spain," Professor Yonah Alexander, director of International Center for Terrorism Studies, one of the world's leading expert on terrorism told. "There will also be a move towards the use of non-conventional weapons: biological, chemical, nuclear as in dirty bombs, and cyber-terrorism, whereby perpetrators will try to disrupt power supplies and air traffic, for example, at the touch of a button."

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2004-08-10 04:39:37 - Hi. Can u tell me the name of the... Kamran
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