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the threat of cyber terrorism in the UK

Reader comment on item: Britain's New Export: Islamist Carnage

Submitted by Musa Khan Jalalzai (United Kingdom), Jan 13, 2011 at 00:40

Cyber Terrorism in the UK: By: Musa Khan Jalalzai

The future of military, economic and political security of the UK is in danger. The emergence of newly recruited cyber armies of Russia, China, Japan, Pakistan, India and Southeast Asian countries are trying to penetrate into the country's financial system. The Cold War has been replaced by economic and financial warfare. Cyber terrorism and its tactics have badly disturbed the banking system of the European nations since the arrival of thousands of cyber warriors from Pakistan, India, Bangladesh, Africa and the Arab world. This is the most dangerous warfare which destroys financial and military assets.

Today, citizens of Britain are facing the worst form of cyber terrorism. They use electronic attacks on institutions for many advantages. First, it is cheaper and the action is very difficult to be tracked. Second, they also use the method of distributed denial of services to overburden the government and its agencies electronic bases.

According to Internet security company McAfee's annual report for 2007, about 120 countries are developing ways to use the Internet as a weapon to target financial markets, government computer systems and utilities, McAfee said in an annual report. Intelligence agencies, the report warned, already routinely test other states' networks looking for weaknesses and their techniques are growing more sophisticated every year, it said. The report predicted that future attacks would be even more sophisticated.

WebIndia123.com reported about the threat of cyber terror in the region. It is not only Britain, the report revealed, that is facing a major cyber attack threat from over 120 countries, but also nations like India, the US and Germany. China's ambitions extend to crippling an enemy's financial, military and communications capabilities early in a conflict, according to military documents and generals' speeches that are being analyzed by US intelligence officials.

China has a significant cyber weapons and intelligence infrastructure in place today. What is alarming is not only do they have the intent, but they have the money. Numerous financial institutions in various countries evacuated their premises on September 11. In some instances, it was because they were in buildings directly affected by the attacks.

This warfare is an integral part of world economic order. It, however, already harmed the financial and investment climate of the UK and Europe. The attack of cyber terrorist on money supply of the region has faced banking with an uneven crisis. This is a complicated issue, much more complicated than has ever been. The main objectives of the cyber war are to cause networks damage and their disruptions. This may divert the attention of the security agencies for the time being thus giving the terrorists extra time and makes their task comparatively easier. Over the years, new technology and the global network allowed a new breed of the hacker groups' emergence.

Cyber warriors can destroy the economy of a country by attacking the military and financial infrastructure in the big cities. In 1998, Tamil cyber warriors attacked Sri Lankan embassies with 800 e-mails a day over a two-week period. The messages read "We are the Internet Black Tigers and we are doing this to disrupt your communications." In 1999, during the Kosovo war, Nato computers were blasted with e-mail bombs and hit with denial-of-service attacks by hackers.

Illegal and underground foreign cyber warriors in the UK and Europe have been focusing on the banking system and the police operational network. They run their network with the help of drug lords and human smugglers. Passports mafia from Afghanistan, Pakistan, India, Bangladesh and European nations have started printing fake British passport to provide travel facilities to their terrorist groups into the UK and other countries. Fake indefinite visas and NI numbers are being circulated there in thousands.

Fake British currencies are being printed in various cities. ID and visa fraudsters are in alliance with the drug mafia and their networks. They go through personal files and even employ desks to obtain names, job titles, social security numbers, home addresses and other information available. In addition, businesses, public organisations, and academic institutes received highly politicised virus-laden e-mails from these networks. Information networks of these groups jam TV and radio transmission. The can hijack radio and TV transmission for a disinformation campaign. They sabotage the transaction of stock exchange. During the Gulf war in 1991, Dutch hackers stole information about the US troop movements from Pentagon computers. Information warfare has become the new post-Cold War era national security catch phrase. This new kind of warfare has harmed the military institutions of many countries.

Cyber warfare is a complex aspect of the modern war, but it is not a new feature. It has been called by various names in the past - intelligence and electronic warfare. Some of the cyber warfare notions are absurd, such as bringing a society to its knees through an exotic electronic disruption to banking systems or air traffic control networks.

Extremist groups train their workers for the future cyber warfare. When they became complete warriors, they will put in danger the whole military and financial institutions of the UK. Extremist organisations also use the Internet to target their audiences without depending on overt mechanisms such as radio, TV, or the press. Asian hackers are using various viruses to gather information from workers in the UK Government and the national infrastructure. The Trojans come as attachments or through links to specially crafted websites and use social engineering tactics that come from spoofed senders.

Britain is being criticised for not paying sufficient attention to computer-based threats since merging the National Hi Tech Crime Unit with the Serious Organised Crime Agency. The Virtual Criminology Report found that attacks "have progressed from initial curiosity probes to well-funded and well-organised operations for political, military, economic and technical espionage".

According to a research finding in various countries, bio-chips and direct-man computer communication are called in military terms SQIDs or super Quantum Interference Devices that detect brainwave pattern activity. In the near future SQIDs will be able to read minds. Al Qaeda as a network has known connections to the extremist groups of Pakistani and Middle East countries that established contacts to some hacker groups that are then operating against other targets. For example, al Qaeda uses electronic devices to communicate with its members. High-ranking officials in the UK and the US have for the first time identified the cyber attacks of the Chinese government. According to The Times of London report, Jonathan Evans, Director General of MI5, the UK's counterintelligence and security service, said that his country was under attack by "Chinese state organisations." China has trained a young cyber army for the future financial war in the region.

Raj Samani, (Vice-President of communications at ISSA, UK) in his article published in ComputerWeekly.com has reported the Computer Crime Research Centre claims that Pakistani hackers and terrorists were targeting Indian infrastructure. According to the UK National Infrastructure Security Coordination Centre, around 300 UK government departments and critical infrastructure businesses have been attacked so for. China has a plan for using industrial espionage to turn their country into the mightiest industrial and military power on the planet. China poses as a rising star in the world of commerce, industry, technology and science.

Daily Mail has reported in May 2007 about the US and the UK's efforts of countering cyber terrorism on their soils. In the US, the newspaper reported that the Joint Task-Force Global Network Operations, part of the Department of Defence, is charged with combating cyber terrorism.

In the UK, the newspaper reported, the Centre for Protection of the National Infrastructure, a multi-departmental body which comes, ultimately, under the control of MI5 and MI6. UK former Home Secretary John Reid once warned that information warriors and cyber terrorists will hack into the UK big companies and public sector organisations, including government offices in near future. He is a well aware person and has good knowledge in this field. He revealed that al Qaeda's aim was to "bleed us to bankruptcy", by attempting to 'cripple' financial markets.

The writer is former Executive Editor of Daily Outlook Afghanistan and author of 156 books on terrorism, extremism, and human trafficking, Afghanistan, drug trafficking and foreign policy studies and is based in London, Director Centre for Terrorism, Sectarian Violence and Organized Crime Studies in UK


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Note: Opinions expressed in comments are those of the authors alone and not necessarily those of Daniel Pipes. Original writing only, please. Comments are screened and in some cases edited before posting. Reasoned disagreement is welcome but not comments that are scurrilous, off-topic, commercial, disparaging religions, or otherwise inappropriate. For complete regulations, see the "Guidelines for Reader Comments".

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