What is Cyber-Terrorism?
Cyber-Terrorism is defined as the criminal activity that takes place through the facilitation of a computer, or online, network existing virtually. In contrast to the standard incarnation of terrorism, the notion of Cyber-Terrorism involves the implementation of destruction and intimidation through the digital and electronic means in lieu of physical means.
Within the implicit definition of Cyber-Terrorism, there exist a wide range of differences that separate the methodology latent within terrorism existing on a virtual level from various means of criminal activity enacted on a private or smaller level.
Cyber-Terrorism vs. Cyber Crime
Akin to the methods of categorization set forth illustrating the distinction between criminal activity and terrorism, the distinction between Cyber-Crime and Cyber-Terrorism exists accordingly. The following distinctions are implicit within the determination of a criminal act as Cyber-Terrorism or Cyber-Crime:
Cyber-Terrorism is defined as a criminal act that takes place in order to implement the destruction of a society as a whole. Cyber-Terrorism is neither considered to exist with regard to specific individuals, nor a finite organization within the location in which it takes place.
In contrast to a specific Cyber-Crime, which targets a specific group or individual, the presumed goal latent within Cyber-Terrorism is considered to debase and destroy an implicit ‘way of life’ within the target location.
Cyber-Terrorism is not limited to an immediate manifestation of a terrorist act occurring within a virtual setting. Due to the fact that digital, or remote, access can be obtained quickly through the implementation of an online network, the presentation of threats of Cyber-Terrorism are considered to be punishable terrorist acts.
Cyber-Terrorism and the Department of Homeland Security
The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) is a Federal Department employed by the United States Government, which was established in 2003. The Department of Homeland Security is responsible for both the regulation and oversight of matters considered to be acts of terrorism jeopardizing the well-being and safety of the general American populace.
With regard to the regulation of acts considered to be Cyber-Terrorism, the primary concerns of the Department of Homeland Security are as follows:
The protection of American citizens from Cyber-Terrorism, which includes virtual attacks existing both domestically, as well as internationally. The nature of Cyber-Terrorism allows for remote access to domestic networks, precluding a Cyber-Terrorist from residing within the United States in order to engage in an act of Cyber-Terrorism.
The maintenance of the digital, virtual, and electronic safety and national security with regard to the protection and preservation of the liberties and freedoms established within the United States Constitution in conjunction with their implementation on a digital and virtual basis.
In order to further deter potential threats of Cyber-Terrorism, the Department of Homeland Security enacted the Patriot Act. This legislation allows the Department of Homeland Security to collect information with regard to the prevention of terrorist activity. In correlation to the prevention of prospective acts Cyber-Terrorism, the collection of information is authorized to take place on a virtual level in the event that a legitimate threat has been detected.