To understand, Cyber terrorism in a layman language, we can say that it is made of two words cyber and terrorism. Cyber deals with cyberspace that includes computer, network, cell phones, internet etc. and terrorism is difficult to explain. Terrorism has no official criminal law definition at the International level. Common definitions of terrorism refer to violent acts which are intended to create fear (terror). They may be done for a religious, political, or ideological goal, and uses illegal violence. Therefore, we can say that cyber terrorism is use of internet to spread terror. It is difficult to define cyber terrorism, because terrorism itself is difficult to be defined. But many organizations has tried to define it such as:
NATO defines cyber terrorism as cyber attack using or exploiting computer or communication networks to cause sufficient destruction or disruption to generate fear or to intimidate a society into an ideological goal
The United States National Infrastructure Protection Center defined cyberterrorism as:
A criminal act perpetrated by the use of computers and telecommunications capabilities resulting in violence, destruction, and/or disruption of services to create fear by causing confusion and uncertainty within a given population, with the goal of influencing a government or population to conform to a political, social, or ideological agenda.
The FBI, another United States agency, defines cyber terrorism as “premeditated, politically motivated attack against information, computer systems, computer programs, and data which results in violence against non-combatant targets by sub national groups or clandestine agents”.
Cyber Terrorism is a form of fear and dread utilizing the means of Internet to attack or hack computer systems of significance for acquiring top secret data. Likewise, within the flexibility and accessibility of open network, terrorist groups are increasingly adapting the power of modern communications technology for planning, recruiting, propaganda purposes, enhancing communications, command and control, funds raising and funds transfer,
information gathering, and the same. The true threat of cyber terrorism is not only aspiring in cyber space for its illegal act of taking control but alternatively is exploiting and manipulating people’s psychology using the elements of
discrimination, racialism, terror etc , which further is dividing people and creating differences. Information of vital resources are easily available on internet, apart from that technical content of making bombs and other relevant items are available on various websites making it easy for cyber terrorist groups to harbor and train innocent people. They use modern communication technologies for planning, recruiting etc. taking terrorism to whole new level. As using cyberspace is fast with high impact and cost effective, where attack can be anonymous there is low risk of detection and therefore low risk of personnel injury resulting in great attraction of terrorist towards it.
To prevent incidents like 26/11, Pulwama attack we need to strengthen our cyber security. Parliament enacted Information technology act, 2000 which is the primary law governing cybercrime and e-commerce in India. It was enacted on 9th June 2000 and commenced on 17 Oct, 2000. It comes under Ministry of electronic and information technology. It was amended by IT (Amendment) Act 2008. The original Act contained 94 sections, divided into 13 chapters and 4 schedules. The laws apply to the whole of India. The Act provides a legal framework for electronic governance by giving recognition to electronic records and digital signatures. It also defines cyber crimes and prescribes penalties for them. Amendment of 2008 introduced cyber terrorism under 66F which is as follows:
(A) with intent to threaten the unity, integrity, security or sovereignty of India or to strike terror in the
people or any section of the people by–
(i) denying or cause the denial of access to any person authorised to access computer resource; or
(ii) attempting to penetrate or access a computer resource without authorisation or exceeding authorised access; or
(iii) introducing or causing to introduce any computer contaminant, and by means of such conduct causes or is likely to cause death or injuries to persons or damage to or destruction of property or disrupts or knowing that it is likely to cause damage or disruption of supplies or services essential to the life of the community or adversely affect the critical information infrastructure specified under section 70; or
(B) knowingly or intentionally penetrates or accesses a computer resource without authorisation or exceeding authorised access, and by means of such conduct obtains access to information, data or computer data base that is restricted for reasons of the security of the State or foreign relations; or any restricted information, data or computer data base, with reasons to believe that such information, data or computer data base so obtained may be used to cause or likely to cause injury to the interests of the sovereignty and integrity of India, the security of the State, friendly relations with foreign States, public order, decency or morality, or in relation to contempt of court, defamation or incitement to an offence, or to the advantage of any foreign nation, group of individuals or otherwise,
commits the offence of cyber terrorism.
(2) Whoever commits or conspires to commit cyber terrorism shall be punishable with imprisonment which may extend to imprisonment for life. In making our nation digital and taking steps towards it, priority should be given to cyber security so that cybercrimes such as cyber terrorism, identity theft, phishing etc can be curbed and citizens can use digital media without any fear of misuse and hence helping us to move towards digital India. Many organizations such as ITEE cyber welfare Society of Indore is working towards making people aware of cybercrimes as it is crucial step towards cyber security.
Article By- Oshin Tawani
Editing By- Jasleen Kaur