We live in an era where we are seamlessly connected and online all the time. Internet is one of the greatest feats achieved by humanity and it has become a vital part of our daily lives. From being able to post about your new car to seeing your family thousands of miles away instantly it is a miracle technology to have. But as is with anything, it comes with its own downsides as well. Cyberterrorism is rising at a rapid pace. In the past, terrorism was solely focused on inducing damage to the infrastructures and governments of a country by groups with destructive ideology. However, as of today, online crime has peaked.
Different countries and organizations define cyberterrorism differently. Generally, cyberterrorism is a form of an active and deliberate attack usually politically or religiously motivated on information, computer systems, and data which in turn generate violence among a nation and its groups. Any group or individual who does online attacks, even less harmful than these can be categorized as cyberterrorism. Also, any online harassment or speech that results in physical harm and loss of life falls in the same category.
In the past, the only annoying things to look out for were viruses and malware, they used to switch our system off or corrupt our files, plus it wasn’t that damaging either as people rarely had important files on their systems. But right now cybercrime has escalated drastically and cannot be taken lightly. There are many reasons why one executes such a crime.
Types of Cybercrimes and psychology behind it
As the way technology is advancing so are the ways to commit such online attacks. Here are some ways it works and as is with any crime, money is the primary reason behind most of them.
- Ransomware: In this scenario, the attacker takes hold of one’s essential and important documents saved on the computer system may be by launching a DDoS attack or upon your clicking of a random popup advertisement. Then threatens to destroy them unless he/she gets paid a set amount of money. This works because we are in the era where we use essential services, most of our banking details and important documents are stored online and hackers are well aware of it.
- Phishing: Again this one is done for the money. Unlike the previous scam, here the attacker copies information from your contact list and poses as one of your friends, and approaches you with a message or Email stating they are in a tense situation, usually abroad, and require money urgently. Given it is coming from someone’s known personality, nobody questions it and just sends them money. Here the attacker is manipulating your trust.
- Government Manipulation: This is cyberterrorism done by a nation upon another country. Usually how this works is when a group of hackers infiltrates the government portals and emails of politicians and manipulate them to their liking. From here it’s up to them how to alter the course of elections, important decisions, or a politician’s withdrawal from the government altogether. This type of crime is usually done to not let a country progress further and to keep it suppressed.
- Religious/Faith Manipulation: In this scenario, extremists have a certain mindset to create a mob out of innocent and unaware people just to split people based on their religion or faiths. As religion can be one of the strongest driving forces in a persons’ life, people take it extremely seriously, and usually, this happens in third-world countries. Random hateful messages are spread across various specifically chosen targets just to get them together and cause actual physical harm either to people or infrastructure.
Granted there are countless more ways of cyberterrorism and the reasons behind it. However, money, religion, and political agendas are the three most noticeable psychological factors.
Measures against Cyberterrorism
- One of the most important things we can do to protect ourselves from such crimes is being aware that it exists. It is both surprising and unfortunate that people still don’t know about it. But having a small lecture in offices and schools can create general awareness among people.
- Avoiding any and all websites and applications that are from untrusted sources or asks for permissions to access your personal data. Think of those ad poppings that claim your computer is under attack or you’ve won a free iPhone.
- Businesses must implement two-factor authentications in their systems and restricting any open public network.
Criminals and crimes have existed on this planet for a long time it is just that as technology advances so do these terrorists. It is up to us to protect ourselves and our data by being aware.