Computer Crime Research Center


Problems of counteraction to computer crimes and cyber terrorism

Date: March 16, 2004
Source: Computer Crime Research Center
By: Vladimir Golubev

... in mathematical, symbol or any other way and are transferred via local and global networks, or data stored in other physical or virtual device, or other carrier, designed for its storage, processing and transmission.

Conflict in Kosovo is considered as the first Internet-war [6]. Governmental figures and individuals aspired to use Web for distribution of information, carrying out propaganda, causing damage to opponents, recruiting new adherents. Hackers used networks for condemnation of military actions of both Yugoslavia and NATO, by breaching government computers and obtaining control on websites. Politicians and public figures used World Wide Web so that their slogans could reach as much audience as possible. People all over the world discussed controversial questions and exchanged text, images and video that could not be found in other mass media means. In April 1999, Los-Angeles Times newspaper wrote that conflict in Kosovo transformed cyber space into virtual battle field, where war is waged for minds and hearts with help of electronic images, mass emails and hacker attacks.

One of the key factor in fighting computer crimes and cyber terrorism is improvement of legal provision and efforts’ coordination aimed at counteraction to such dangerous in conditions of global informatization phenomenon as cyber terrorism. Several countries including USA had directed initiatives to conclude mutual agreements on juridical support, extradition, investigatory authorities’ delimitation, unification of laws so that cyber criminals can be impled even in case when crime crosses borders. These initiatives are concentrated on solving such problems as computer fraud, child porn in the Internet, electronic piracy, all kinds of illegal access. Actions of governments on waging cyber war and using cyber attacks, as military weapon, fall under these agreements too.

In July 1996, President Clinton announced about forming President's Commission on Critical Infrastructure Protection (PCCIP). In October 1997 report, Commission informed that “threats to critical infrastructure are real and, through interdependence and interrelation, infrastructures can be vulnerable to new kinds of attacks”. Intentional exploitation of such weak spots may rouse serious after effects to economy, life and health.

PCCIP also noted that cyber threats changed the whole scenery. “In the past we were protected from attacks on infrastructure by broad oceans and friendly neighbors. Today cyber threats’ evolution fundamentally changed the situation. There are no national borders in cyber space. Potentially dangerous cyber attacks may be planned and prepared without their preparation detection. They can be invisibly investigated, rehearsed in secret and then fulfilled in minutes or even seconds without identification of an attacker or establishing his allocation”.

PCCIP concluded that in estimating of both threats – physical and cyber – “physical means that use physical vulnerability remain today the most probable and disturbing threat for critical infrastructure. But almost all interrogated groups showed anxiety about new cyber vulnerabilities and cyber threats. They underlined importance of developing approaches in protecting infrastructure from threats before these threats arise and cause tremendous damage to such systems. PCCIP recommendations led to the Protecting America's Critical Infrastructures: Presidential Decision Directive 63.

PDD-63 set up a new structure to deal with this important challenge:
- a National Coordinator whose scope will include not only critical infrastructure but also foreign terrorism and threats of domestic mass destruction (including biological weapons) because attacks on the US may not come labeled in neat jurisdictional boxes;
- The National Infrastructure Protection Center (NIPC) at the FBI which will fuse representatives from FBI, DOD, USSS, Energy, Transportation, the Intelligence Community, and the private sector in an unprecedented attempt at information sharing among agencies in collaboration with the private sector. The NIPC will also provide the principal means of facilitating and coordinating the Federal Government's response to an incident, mitigating attacks, investigating threats and monitoring reconstitution efforts;
- An Information Sharing and Analysis Center (ISAC) is encouraged to be set up by the private sector, in cooperation with the federal government;
- A National Infrastructure Assurance Council drawn from private sector leaders and state/local officials to provide guidance to the policy formulation of a National Plan;
- The Critical Infrastructure Assurance Office will provide support to the National Coordinator's work with government agencies and the private sector in developing a national plan. The office will also help coordinate a national education and awareness program, and legislative and public affairs.

In June 1997 National Security Agency carried out tests of critical systems that are potentially vulnerable to cyber attacks. The goal was in determining vulnerability of military computers and some civil infrastructures to cyber attacks. Certain parts of military infrastructure were under cyber attack, including Pacific Command of US at Hawaii, that observed 100 000 squads in Asia. At this one person was an attacker, second person had to watch systems and be able to repulse cyber attack. Using only available hacker tools that can be easily found in the Internet, hackers of NSA had successfully obtained access to many systems. They draw a conclusion that activity of military infrastructure can be interfered and deployment military of troops can be hindered. Trainings included drafting scenario for attacking 911 emergency system. It was supposed theoretically that if hackers sent many emails all over the country saying that 911 service has some problems, many curious people would call 911 immediately and this would cause system overload. There were no attacks carried out on civil infrastructures.

Vulnerability of commercial infrastructures to cyber attacks was demonstrated repeatedly by results of different reviews similar to the mentioned above. There is no evidence of greater or less vulnerability of commercial systems as compared with governmental.

As was mentioned, in six weeks after terrorists had attacked New York and Washington, US Congress adopted new antiterrorism law, known as 2001 year Act. Similar processes are observed in Europe. Issues of regulating computer networks usage are in the list of the most priority. Urgent measures are also developed in Japan, France and UK.

There is a separate article on terrorism and actions of terrorism direction in the current Criminal Code of Ukraine. Article 258 – Terrorism Act – consists of number of rules that provide for criminal liability for committing terrorism act. Disposition of this article defines terrorism act as application of weapons, accomplishment of explosion, burning or other actions that create danger to life and health of people, causing significant material damage or other weighty consequences if these actions were perpetrated in order to violate social security, population frightening, armed conflict provocation, international complication or in purpose to influence on decision making, commitment or non-commitment an action by state or local authorities, officials, or attracting attention of public to certain political, religious or other judgement of a terrorist and also threat of committing mentioned actions on the same purpose.

The Criminal Code of Russian Federation such socially dangerous actions fall under force of Article 205 – Terrorism. It defines terrorism as “accomplishment of explosion, burning or other actions that create danger to life of people, causing significant material damage or other socially dangerous consequences if these actions were perpetrated on purpose of social security violation, population frightening or influencing on decision making of authorities and also committing mentioned actions on the same purpose.

Definition of terrorism in Article 2 of Fighting Terrorism Law 1998, emphasize three aspects of terrorism activity:

- violence or threat of its application to individuals or organizations, also destruction (deterioration) of property and other material objects, creating danger of loss of life, causing significant material damage or other socially dangerous consequences, committed on purpose of violating social security, population frightening or influencing on authorities to make decisions, favorable for terrorists or satisfaction of their unlawful material and/or other interests;
- violating life of civil or public figure, committed on purpose of cessation of his state or other political activity or in revenge for such activity;
- attack on representative of other country or official of international organization that are under international protection, as also on office or transport facilities of persons that are under international protection, if it is committed on purpose of provoking war or complication of international relationship.

July 30, 2003: a National Security of Ukraine Law enured. This law defines list of 67 threats to national interests and security of the country. Computer crimes and cyber terrorism are named among prior threats to national security of Ukraine.

Nowadays cyber terrorism poses peculiar social national and international danger. In this relation, it is particular measure of terrorism activity with specific causal background and particular actions are needed in order to control it and fight against.

Similar terrorism activity,...

Add comment  Email to a Friend

Copyright © 2001-2013 Computer Crime Research Center
CCRC logo