Presentation is loading. Please wait.

Presentation is loading. Please wait.

THE CYBER-TERRORISM THREAT: FINDINGS FROM A SURVEY OF RESEARCHERS Lee Jarvis, Stuart Macdonald and Lella Nouri (all Swansea University)

Similar presentations


Presentation on theme: "THE CYBER-TERRORISM THREAT: FINDINGS FROM A SURVEY OF RESEARCHERS Lee Jarvis, Stuart Macdonald and Lella Nouri (all Swansea University)"— Presentation transcript:

1 THE CYBER-TERRORISM THREAT: FINDINGS FROM A SURVEY OF RESEARCHERS Lee Jarvis, Stuart Macdonald and Lella Nouri (all Swansea University)

2 Introduction  Report on findings from a recent survey on cyberterrorism  118 researchers, 24 countries  Questions: definition, threat and response  Aims:  ‘State of the discipline’ stock-taking exercise  Explore potential explanations for the diversity of responses received  Chart areas of (dis)continuity with debates on terrorism more widely

3 Academic literature  Cyberterrorism threat  Much contested  In part, a product of definitional differences  Debate between ‘the concerned’ and ‘the sceptics’  Concerned:  Destructive capacity of cyber- now matches physical.  Prospect of anonymity, and lower financial costs  Vulnerability of Critical Information Infrastructures  Socio-politico-economic dependencies on the Internet  Sceptics:  Cyberterrorism as speculative fantasy  A substitute for now-outdated paradigms of threat and risk  Lack of theatricality and limited destructive capability  Other terrorist uses of the Internet more significant.

4 Our survey  Purposive sampling strategy:  Targeted literature review  Standing in the field/publication in core journals.  Snowballing  Mailing lists: BISA and TAPVA  Limitations:  Is no (bounded, fixed) (cyber)terrorism ‘research community’  Academic time lags  Responses:  118 from 24 countries (out of 600); but 71% from US, UK, Australia, Canada.  86% permanent or temporary academic staff, or research student.  50% Politics/IR.  Parallels with other surveys of the terrorism literature

5 In your view, does cyberterrorism constitute a significant threat? If so, against whom or what?  Yes (58%):  Governments/states (n=23); Critical Infrastructure/Computer networks (n=19); Civilians/individuals (n=10); Private sector corporations (n=10)  No (20%)  Lack of precedents/empirical evidence  Terrorist organisations lack capability to attack CII’s  Lack of motivation amongst terrorist groups.  Differences?:  Different explanations of threat evident in responses: from ‘paralysis’ to ‘disruption’  Different logics: some hypothetical, others extrapolated from recent events  Competing conceptions of cyberterrorism (e.g. for some: obtaining classified information; ‘online harassment)  Different timescales

6 With reference to your previous responses, do you consider that a cyberterrorism attack has ever taken place?  110 responses: 49% yes and 49% no  Examples (selected):  Attacks on Estonia: n=11; Stuxnet, Iran: 6; Attacks on Georgia: 3  India-Pakistan: 2; Anonymous: 2; PKK collapsing the Govt network: 1  Wikileaks: 1  No:  Actor-specific definitions exclude state activities  Lack of violence: “…no person has ever been killed or injured as the result of an attack executed by using weaponised computer code”  Differentiation between cyberterrorism, hacktivism and cybercrime  No production of fear in a wider audience  Lack of political or ideological motive for many candidates  Primarily definitional > empirical

7 What are the most effective countermeasures against cyberterrorism? Are there significant differences to more traditional forms of anti- or counter-terrorism?  Twelve counter-measures identified (including):  Target-hardening (38%); Refusing to exaggerate the threat (9%); Greater international cooperation (8%); Preventing radicalisation (5%); Employing hackers (3%); Greater private sector involvement (3%)

8 Disciplinary differences  No countermeasures restricted to one disciplinary background, but some trends:  Engineering/Computer Science: 57% of those arguing for enhanced international cooperation  Psychology/Anthropology: 67% of those arguing for employing hackers.  Politics/International Relations – more sceptical?  69% believed a cyberterrorist attack had not taken place  67% of those warning against exaggerating the threat of cyberterrorism

9 Conclusion  Considerable disagreement :  Threat, occurrence to date, how to respond  Frequently a product of definitional issues  Also, disciplinary differences  Obvious parallels:  Academic literature, and broader debates on terrorism  However:  50/50 split on whether it has occurred: surprising  The need for domain-specific responses posited by many

10 To find out more…  Web:    Facebook: facebook.com/CyberterrorismProject

11 Thank you for your time!


Download ppt "THE CYBER-TERRORISM THREAT: FINDINGS FROM A SURVEY OF RESEARCHERS Lee Jarvis, Stuart Macdonald and Lella Nouri (all Swansea University)"

Similar presentations


Ads by Google