Different types of cyber terrorism

Many people wonder what cyber-terrorism is. It is the use of Internet based attacks in terrorist activities, including deliberate disruption of computer networks. Cyber terrorism is also a form of political attack in which attackers instill havoc in a victim through a computer. People use computers in almost all aspects of life. Computers are vulnerable especially when connected to the Internet, which has provided a virtual battlefield for countries or individuals having problems with each other.

Research shows that cyber-crime started as early as the 1980s that are evident by the very first legislation on a federal level regarding computer crime which was the Counterfeit Access Device and Computer Fraud and Abuse Act in 1984 (Types of attack, 2013).

Terrorists use the internet attacks because it is Cheaper than traditional methods, and the action is very hard to track. They can also hide their personalities and location. There are no physical barriers or checkpoints to cross, and they can do it remotely from anywhere around the globe. They can use this method to attack a large number of targets, and they can affect a large mass of people. The types of discussed in this paper are just a short sampling of the threats that exist (Elmusharaf, 2004).

Malware is a computer code that has malicious intent. Usually, it is used to destroy something on a computer or steal private and personal information from a computer. Viruses infect a computer and hide it by replicating themselves, and surviving by attaching themselves to other programs and files. Viruses can be some of the craftiest methods though they are one of the oldest types of cyber-attacks. Viruses evolve in capability, and they are often hard to spot and remove from a computer (Types of attack, 2013).

Similar to viruses, worms replicate themselves many times to fulfill a nefarious purpose. However, Worms differ from viruses because they do not need to attach themselves to other files or programs to survive. They replicate not only on a single computer host but across an entire network of computers .It is these features that can make a worm significantly more dangerous than a virus (Types of attack, 2013).

Trojan is a malicious software which misrepresents itself to appear useful to persuade a victim to install it but destroys computer files once active. They come in two parts, i.e., a Client part, and a Server part. When the victim runs the server on his/her computer, the attacker will use the Client to connect to the Server and use the Trojan for his intentions (Hei Dari, 2010).

For email attacks, spoofing refers to emails that appear to have been sent from one source when it was actually from another source. Spamming refers to sending an email with malicious codes to thousands and thousands of users. Spams are dangerous since they are also used to send viruses or Trojans as an email attachment or a link to a website which on visiting, downloads malicious code (Hei Dari, 2010).

Password attacks are all about cracking a victim’s password to obtain access to a secured system. A username/password combination is typically the standard form of authentication on most systems. A user must follow good password procedures to stand a chance against a password attack. Attackers do this by using software created by programmers and unethical hackers (Coleman, 2003).

Cyber-terrorism has proven to be the most dangerous kind of terrorism.  By a push of some few keys on the keyboard, one can cripple a whole country by jamming emergency phone lines, turning off power grids, steal top secret information about governments, and alter information in government databases among many others. Countries up to date are still fighting cyber-terrorism. The Interpol, with its 178 member countries, for example, is doing an excellent job in fighting against cyber terrorism by helping all the member countries in training their personnel on how to combat this (Elmusharaf, 2004).

People should join in the fight by disabling features of their mail applications that allow for automatic execution of active code attachments and use reliable virus scanners that understands email attachments. They can also engage Anti-Virus Software that can scan files on a local computer and monitor incoming and outgoing traffic from applications such as email attachments. They can also use anti-malware and anti-spyware to prevent malware and spyware from invading the computer system or files.


We live in an era in which technology is a necessity in almost every aspect of our lives. Many of us have our whole lives within the reach of just a finger to a single button on any electronic device that we own.be it mobile phones, tablets, laptops…etc. These devices are very vulnerable to internet based attacks (cyber-attacks), which are peoples’ new way of instilling havoc or fear in others. Between governments, these attacks can be used to disable security systems, emergency services, power grids, etc. which may damage a large mass of people altogether.

Terrorists and unethical hackers use different methods of carrying out the attacks depending on their intentions. If their intentions are just to spy on you, they use spyware that can be uploaded or sent through the email and runs on the computer automatically immediately the email opens. For motives of bypassing security, terrorists or hackers can use software that allows them to access security systems and disable them. Others have far many malevolent intentions like mass killing, and they can remotely detonate a bomb in a public place or any government stronghold like the military base.

Strategies are being brought forth to fight cyber-terrorism, and the public is called upon to join the fight against this. They can do this by being careful with their emails and use antiviruses, anti-malware and anti-spyware to prevent attacks from viruses, malware, and spyware.


Coleman, K. (2003, October 10). Retrieved from Cyber Terrorism: http://www.directionsmag.com/entry/cyber-terrorism/123840

Elmusharaf, D. M. (2004, April 8). Computer Crime Research Center. Retrieved from Cyber Terrorism: The new kind of Terrorism: http://www.crime-research.org/articles/Cyber_Terrorism_new_kind_Terrorism/

Hei Dari, m. (2010, April 24). Retrieved from Cyber terrorism: Forms of cyber terrorism: http://maryamheidari.blogspot.co.ke/2010/04/forms-of-cyber-terrorism.html

Types of attack. (2013, march 14). Retrieved from Types of attacks|cyber security: http://www.personal.psu.edu/users/j/m/jms6423/Engproj/Types%20of%20Attacks.xhtm

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