The Strategies of Cyberterrorism: Is Cyberterrorism an effective means to Achieving the Goals of Terrorists?

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Title: The Strategies of Cyberterrorism: Is Cyberterrorism an effective means to Achieving the Goals of Terrorists?
Authors: Chuipka, Adam
Date: 2017-01-11
Abstract: The convergence between the physical and digital world is growing exponentially as a result of ever increasing interconnectivity as well as reliability and dependence on technology. This has resulted in a growing fear that terrorists can exploit this interconnectivity and cause chaos via cyberspace by targeting critical infrastructures. Vulnerabilities in cyberspace are abundant and the consequences have the potential to be high, but terrorists may not have the capability or intent to adopt cyberterrorism in their strategies. In this major research paper, I contend that the strategies of cyberterrorism may be limited to attrition in pursuit of policy change goals. Therefore the threat from cyberterrorism is real but can be vastly overstated. I argue that the potential threat could be considerable, but the actual threat is significantly lower given that high-level cyber-attacks capable of being violent and causing terror require vast resources, intelligence, skill, and time – ultimately too much can go wrong in conducting a cyber-attack. Kinetic weapons for the time being are more suitable for the goals of terrorists. In presenting this argument, I first attempt to establish a common working definition of cyberterrorism, creating a criteria for what it is and what it is not; I review the literature to assess whether a cyber-attack can practicably meet this established criteria; and I draw on three case studies where parallels provide insight on the threat of cyberterrorism and judge the effectiveness of cyberterrorism as a strategy in pursuit of terrorist goals.
URL: http://hdl.handle.net/10393/35695
CollectionAffaires publiques et internationales - Mémoires // Public and International Affairs - Research Papers
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