In 1998 former president Clinton spoke to the graduating class of the U.S. Naval Academy and he said that the security of the United States is threatened by a new breed of adversaries that has found a way to harass and terrorize America.
Clinton said that they are international criminals and terrorists who cannot defeat us in traditional theaters of battle, but search instead for new ways to attack by exploiting new technologies and the world’s increasing openness” (Aldrich, p.1). He is talking about cyberspace and one of its unwanted by-product cyberterror and cybercrime.
It is important for the general public to know more about it in order to pressure government officials to invest more to protect them from unscrupulous men.
Cybercrime is the act of committing crime using the Internet as a tool to bypass security and increase its capability to cross borders and victimize people beyond the hacker’s country of origin. Cyberterror on the other hand is the use of the Internet to send malicious code in order to disrupt, contaminate and cause accidents in transportation hubs and at government utility facilities.
The problem here is the commission of a crime without being physically present in the target area. The second major problem is the ability of criminals and terrorists to create havoc to countries like the United States, even if they are physically located thousands of miles away in another continent.
Defense and Prevention
The first line of defense must be international cooperation. It is useless to develop elaborate defense systems without the capability of catching criminals and terrorists that are developing their attacks outside the United States.
The clamor reached a higher level when in October of 1998 Russian Foreign Minister Ivanov communicated to then General Secretary of the UN Kofi Annan and made it known that even Russia is felt what he called as the “increasing danger of information warfare” (Aldrich, p.4).
International cooperation can be intensified by refining International laws concerning transnational crimes especially those related to cybercrime and cyberterror.
There are at least two issues that have to be resolved in order to win in this battle. First, there is a need to develop laws and defense mechanisms that are effective but at the same time does not violate privacy of individuals (Committee on the Judiciary House of Representatives, p.36). Secondly, there is a need to be one step ahead of criminals.
Experts are lamenting the fact that “In this dynamic threat environment, attackers are constantly ahead of defenders, and yet the PCI standards are updated only by unanimous consent every 2 years” (Committee on Homeland Security House of Representatives, p.1). Citizens of the United States must constantly pressure their government officials to make the war against cybercrime and cyberterror one of their priorities.
The Internet created a high-level of global interconnectedness. It is a blessing for commerce but a major problem when it comes to security.
Because of the I Internet, it has become increasingly difficult to deal with criminals and terrorists that can operate beyond the reach of American authorities and yet still possess the capability to wreak havoc by commuting crimes and acts of terror. International cooperation is key as well as the realization that governments must invest heavily in the fight against cybercrime and terror.
Aldrich, Richard. “Cyberterrorism and computer crimes: issues surrounding the establishment of an international legal regime.” USAF Institute for National Security Studies. Apr. 2000. 10 May 2011.
Committee on Homeland Security House of Representatives. “Do the payment card industry data standard reduce cybercrime?” Government Printing Office. Mar. 2009. 10 May 2001.
Committee on the Judiciary House of Representatives. “Hearing on data retention as tool for investigating internet child pornography and other internet crimes.” Center for Democracy and Technology. Jan. 2011. 10 May 2011.