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Defining “Cyberterrorism” is Easier Than It Sounds

Defining “Cyberterrorism” is Easier Than It Sounds

The world is unfortunately familiar with the concept of terrorism, the use of fear and menace to intimidate those opposed to your views, beliefs, or goals. However, others may not be as familiar with the concept of cyberterrorism, beyond seeing it on television. For today’s blog, we’ll examine cyberterrorism to gain a better understanding of its methods, and how to protect yourself from it.

The Official View of the U.S. Federal Bureau of Investigation and Others
One accepted definition of cyberterrorism by the FBI was once put to words by (now retired) Special Agent for the FBI Mark Pollitt, one of the first members of the Computer Analysis Response Team. According to Pollitt, cyberterrorism is “... the premeditated, politically motivated attack against information, computer systems, computer programs, and data which result in violence against noncombatant targets by sub national groups or clandestine agents.”

There are many other definitions, but they all follow the same gist - the difference between cyberterrorism and run-of-the-mill cybercrime is based on the intent behind the attack. As a result, cyberterrorism is usually classified as such because it causes physical harm to a person or infrastructure to further a socio-political agenda.

How Cyberterrorism is Leveraged
Cyberterrorists, like other cybercriminals, have no shortage of attack vectors to get their way. There really isn’t any kind of attack that a cybercriminal could leverage that a cyberterrorist couldn’t also use as well.

This means that cyberterrorists will use many familiar tools to get their way, including ransomware, viruses and malware, denial-of-service attacks, and phishing. However, unlike the motivations of other, cash-focused cybercriminals, the cyberterrorist will have a different drive behind their actions.

Oftentimes, groups of cyberterrorists will actively disrupt websites, either to simply cause a nuisance online, or to sabotage those that disagree with their position. It is also a common goal for these groups to tamper with military technology and public infrastructure systems. This last motivation is particularly dangerous, as it could lead to a public health or safety crisis.

How to Protect Yourself
Fortunately, this is where the difference between a cyberterrorist and the typical cybercriminal becomes moot. After all, both use the same tools, they just have different motivations to use them. Therefore, your best defense against finding your business victimized is the same defense you would leverage against any cybercriminal - strong passwords, a secure network, and most importantly, a comprehensive appreciation of the importance of maintaining security standards throughout your business.

We can help you implement the solutions you need to keep your business safe against threats of all kinds. Call Strata Information Technology at 888.678.7282 today.

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