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The Dark Sides of the Internet

On Cyber Threats and Information Warfare

Roland Heickerö

The rapid development in information technology during the last few decades has not only given us greater opportunities to freely search for information and contacts. The growth of the Internet has also created new opportunities for criminal organisations, political activists and terrorists to threaten individuals, companies and countries. Individuals and organisations are also increasingly the targets of attacks and espionage via the web. There are various kinds of illegitimate and criminal activities. Every modern state thus has to create strategies and courses of action in order to protect information, networks and computers that are vital to society from malicious cyber activities. Creating secure systems and minimising risks of information being leaked or tampered with should be a prioritised task. It is also important to understand what threats arise from the information technological revolution. The purpose of this book is to give a broad background to the development of the dark side of the internet and its consequences. It is not about scaremongering, but about creating understanding and knowledge and thus preparedness in order to handle detrimental activities. It describes the changes in progress and what they may mean to society, companies and individuals as well as to the military and police.


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Cyber terrorism. Electronic Jihad


The logic of terrorism is based on fear. It plays on the fear of unpredictable attacks; attacks that can take place anytime, hit sensitive targets and happen to all of us, without discrimination. Terrorism is about shocking people, making them feel powerless. The aim is for the common man to start ques- tioning the foundations of society and the state’s capacity to guarantee its citizens’ safety. For terrorists it is important that the operations are large-scale, with big effects, such as the attacks on September 11, 2001. They also have to be lethal and result in extensive media coverage. The latter is decisive – a condition both to make the political goals of the terrorists known and to demonstrate the strength of their organisations. Through advanced and co- ordinated attacks, a terrorist organisation can strike at a stronger enemy and preferably humiliate him. A successful operation can also be a fertile ground for recruitment of individuals and groups who are willing to sacri- fice themselves in the future. There are some similarities between terrorism and guerrilla warfare.103 Guerrilla wars are by definition asymmetric. One party has more resources than the other, a technological advantage etc. This forces the weaker party to use unconventional tactics and vary his behaviour depending on the situ- ation and conditions. It should be noted that asymmetric warfare is not necessarily the same thing as terrorism. However, terrorism can be used as a tactic by the weaker party in a conflict. Terrorism in cyberspace Cyber terrorism is...

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