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Cyber attacks and digital terrorism

Paper Type: Free Essay Subject: Information Technology
Wordcount: 1704 words Published: 10th May 2017

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1.a.Cyber Attack and Digital Terrorism


There are various reasons why people initiate cyber attacks or execute digital terrorisms, whatever it is, the goal is to cause damage and destruction, with motivations that range from anything – personal, political, economic or all. Below are list of few reasons why cyber attack and digital terrorism occurs:

i.Personal Anger – people who are psychologically angry at their organization, for whatever reason for example not being promoted for long time or no increment in the salaries or made redundant. The individual might “plant” viruses into the company’s network or delete some of the important functions of a program which may create problem in the future. It can happen even a superior is pressurizing his subordinate. The subordinate may embed a virus in an e-mail attachment in a view to corrupt the superior’s computer as revenge.

This type of doings can be categorized as a personal digital terrorism.

ii.Hired Service – Occasionally individual can hired another individual (usually professional’s intruders) to hack into “someone’s” computer network and steal important information or destroy the computer by wiping off all digital trails and the intruder is paid substantially. Even then the professional intruder can double-cross by inform the targeted company that the company’s network infrastructure is at risk and he can solve the problem. This type of activity can be classified as a professional digital terrorism.

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iii.Ransom Money – Sometime a person might need money desperately and nobody is there to help him, the banks also do not want to give a loan because of poor credit history, even family members do not have money to support him but this person may have special skills. He informs the bank that he have planted a “logic bomb” into their network which will activate at a certain time and will cause severe damage or even crash the banks networking system. He/she may ask for ransom money. Once the money is received, the de-activate code for the “logic bomb” will be send to the bank. This type of activity can be classified as a personal desperate digital terrorism.

iv.Political War – These is typically against There are some people who get politically angry because those in power do not agree with their views or wishes. They want to display their “people’s power” or dislike by conducting demonstrations etc. One way as a warning is planting “logic bombs” with a ransom note that says unless the demands are met then the logic bomb will go off. This is typical against governments or organization/union of governments like “The G8”, “APEC Summit”, “World Economic Forum” etc. This type of activity can be classified as a political group digital terrorism.

v.Declared War – There exist true terrorist organizations that have publicly declared their all out war against countries or organizations. They have named their sworn-out enemies. Conducting cyber attacks is one of their strategies to achieve their aims – everything is possible in war. Each side will try to “destroy” or “cripple” each others’ war machineries and capabilities. For example: In the UN against Iraqi War, the whole radar system of Iraq was “jammed by the US” during the early phases of the war. All electronic and computer communications infrastructure of Iraq were crippled. This type of activity can be classified as an expected “political digital war” tactics and “not really digital terrorism”.

1.b. What are viruses, worms, Trojan horses, logic bombs and DOS attacks?


A virus is a small piece of malicious code that attacks a computer program or file. A virus can attack a computer in different ways by attaching itself to other software programs or data files in order to be executed, usually without user knowledge or permission, which can cause clogging computer memory, destroy programs or data, reformat a computer hard disk or can cause a program to run improperly. Virus typically spreads from computer to computer when action such as sending an email attachment or copying an infected file(as we know companies are going online, so uses net is extensively in dealing ). As we know anti-virus software’s are designed to check computer system and drives for the presence of computer viruses. Antivirus programs databases are constantly being updated to combat and prevent such attacks. It is recommended Firms those uses net extensively in dealing with its branches, customers and suppliers, it is highly recommended to continually update their anti-virus software with recent virus signature files.


A worm is a type of virus that has the ability to multiply or copy itself from one machine to another, gradually over a network. The two key differences between a virus and a worm are the “multiplying or copying effect” and the “spreading across to other computers” whereas a virus may not multiply itself and may attack only just one computer.

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A Trojan horse

This is a security-breaking program that is introduced into a computer and serves as a way for an impostor to re-enter the computer in the future. It may be hidden as something innocent such as a screen saver or a game. It can damage, delete, or destroy important files, essentially do anything it is programmed to do. The key thing here is not in the type of damage but in how it enters a computer – i.e. “by a deceptive way”.

A logic bomb

This is a program that is introduced into a computer and set to take action at a certain time or when a specified event occurs. It can do anything it was programmed to do.

A DOS (Denial of Service) attack

These are action being implemented by invading a large number of computers on the network (usually internet) and instructing the computers to simultaneously send repeated messages to a target computer, thus either overloading the computer’s input buffer or jamming the communication lines into the computer so badly that legitimate users cannot obtain access to the targeted computer. The key terms here are “jamming the target computer or computers” so that those targeted computers can no longer provide services (i.e. users are denied of the services). Some people refer to DOS attacks as the Ping of Death or the Teardrop.

Information and Identity theft in the digital world

The word “Theft” is simply obtaining something (materials or non-materials) through illegal means.  So “information theft” is obtaining information illegally, for example, without the owner’s permission. Publicly published information is legally “public” and therefore, having such information by whatever means is never considered stealing or “theft”.

“Identity theft” according to the US Federal Trade Commission (FTC) is “someone (somebody else) is appropriating your personal information without your knowledge to commit fraud or theft.” For example, an identity thief uses information about someone, such name, address, social security number, credit card number and/or other identifying information to impersonate you and obtain loans or purchase items under your credit. Information theft is simply about “stealing information” for whatever use the thief wants it for, whereas “identity theft” is the extension of information theft with the user wanting to “impersonate you” or “be identified as you” using that stolen identification information to be used for many things, good and mostly bad.

A thief can use the stolen identification information for criminal activities including validating against computer software systems: – the banks identification system (to steal your money in the bank), the credit card system (to use your credit card to buy things), the immigration system (to run out of the country) and many more. It all looks like it is actually you performing those activities and not the thief. A thief who is also a hacker can do more, for example, penetrate – the records registry system (to hack and change your date of birth, your gender status, your parents names, etc), the police crime database system (to hack and say that you committed a crime which you never did), the university records system (to hack and change your grades from A to F, to change your major degrees etc ), the White House Security System (to visit and say hello to the most powerful man in the world), the FBI and CIA computer systems etc.


Web application attacks are increasing drastically because there is a lack of knowledge in securing the applications, especially during the development and deployment stages of the applications. To control or avoid this menace, we must ensure that security is being implemented not only during the coding stage, but also the deployment stage. The operations of a Web application must be monitored by the administrator so any exploits can be detected earlier and damages can be minimized or avoided such as using an intrusion detection system to monitor and filter Web traffic. It is also recommended for all organizations to conduct a security audit assessment to ensure that an application is secured before it is published to the public.


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