Sample Paper on Threat of Cyber-terrorism towards the US Critical Infrastructure

Analysis of the Threat of Cyber-terrorism towards the US Critical Infrastructure

Introduction

Cyber terrorism may be described as any form of premeditated, politically instigated attack that is done against information, computer systems that may include software, programs, and any form of data, be it raw or processed, that may consequently lead to violence against non-combatant targets of clandestine agents. This may include such crimes as hacking,   cyber attacks, network security theft and attacks, and so on. Cyber-terrorism is aimed and designed to bring physical violence or large financial harm. This may be done to target the banking industry, where cyber terrorists may hack and access the customers’ bank details, security codes to the bank safes and strong rooms, company’s websites and so on. Cyber-terrorism has seen the US government lose millions of money in various ways and curbing it will be a great project to venture into. This paper has shed light on the various ways in which the threat of cyber-terrorism has been a threat to the US critical infrastructure and hence, there is a need to seek a working and permanent solution to combat with this crime.

Cyber terrorism is currently becoming a great concern for countries and major companies across the globe. With the current technological advancements, the cyber crimes are now doing more harm to people than good. A good example can be seen when social sites and social media platforms are used incite a group against another and spread of hate speech and such abuse. The US government, for example, considered the potential threat, and the risks that could be brought about by cyber terrorism. The risks are said to be serious enough that it prompted the government to come up with an established a National Infrastructure Protection Centre. This role was later transferred to the Homeland Security Department Information Analysis and Infrastructure Protection Directorate and was to execute the role of threat assessment of, warning of, investigation of, and respond to the threats and attacks against the country’s critical infrastructure. The critical infrastructure network was tasked with providing telecommunications, energy, banking and finance, water systems, government operations, and emergency services. If not curbed, cyber terrorism would successfully cripple down the above named services, which are very significant to humanity. In addition, any successful acts of cyber attacks would cause massive destructions to the ordinary functioning of the America’s society, the government institutions and agencies, and the corporate world in general.

In general, attacks against information need to be fought, to cushion the authorized owners of certain information, data, from cyber-attacks, theft, and unauthorized handling of such data. Hence, this crime may be treated at an equal measure as any other addressed by a constitution of any authority, punishable in a court of law, and that can even lead to a certain term of sentence. A cyber terrorist is an individual that intimidates, threatens and even coerces an certain authority, government or a firm to improve his/her political or social objectives by launching computer-based attacks against computers, software, operating systems, networks, programs, and any other information and data stored in them.

In other words, cyber terrorism must be controlled so that whatever is circulating via the internet, shared information and such is healthy for human consumption. Exposure of illicit information to certain group of people may be a way of propagating cyber crime. For instance, the authorities must control the content received by children in school to avoid the exposure to such vices as pornography, ideas promoting drugs and substance abuse and so on. This ensures that though the children are allowed to access the internet and other platforms of communication, this will not be an origin of urge to sexual immoralities, drug abuse, and addictions from such sites as social media. In their book, Fundamental of information Systems, Ralph and George depicts a few examples on how cyber terrorism brought down websites to Tel Aviv and Saudi Arabia’s stock exchange by hackers. It leaves the computer systems of organizations vulnerable, exposed to loss of data, a loophole of corrupted data, viruses, and eventually emerges as a risk to the firm. Hackers have used the cyber terrorism to access bank details of clients and use them to get their money for themselves.

This paper is a literature review on the topic above and explains in details the following:

a. Cyber-terrorism and Infrastructure as the main target

            The US critical infrastructure is the backbone of the country’s economy, security, and heath. It is the platform in which the US government provides the basic facilities and services to its citizens. This is highly regarded as the fundamental operations centre and pivotal stage where all social and public utilities are advanced to the general population. It enables them to connect to each other via the communication platforms that have been put in place. Besides communication and personal connections, these infrastructures have also played a significant role in the country’s economy. The founding fathers of the United States of America recognized the importance of improving such infrastructures to position the country in the world platform where it would the leader in infrastructural development and technological advancement. These include the assets, systems, and networks, whether physical or virtual, and form a significant base of operation in all sectors of the economy. Their significance cannot be underrated because if they are incapacitated or destroyed, it would result to a debilitating outcome on such issues as security, national economic security, national public health, or any other combination thereof. Hence, it is one of the key departments of the US government and any other authorities across the globe to work around the clock in ensuring the stability and protection of these key installations in the country. Critical infrastructure must be protected from such crimes as discussed in the introduction above to ensure that the services they give and the facilities they offer are kept safe and intact. All said and done, the terrorism activities cause the single most threat to the infrastructural installation not only in United States of America but also across the globe. Hence, every effort ought to be pursued to ensure the safety and security of these infrastructural developments for the overall safety and wellbeing of all citizens.

There are various sectors in the critical infrastructure, which include, but are not limited to chemical sector, commercial facilities sector, communication sector, critical manufacturing sector, dams sector, defence industrial base sector, emergency services sector, energy sector, financial services sector, and food and agricultural sector. Others include government facilities sector, healthcare and public health sector, information technology sector, nuclear reactors, materials and waste sector, transportation systems sector, and water and wastewater systems sector. All these are the main targets of cyber terrorism, and if any is vulnerable, the US government is due to make great losses and drawbacks. Cyber terrorists are targeting the critical infrastructure and the various sectors that are working together for the US citizens, to make millions, shut down and cripple very vital government institutions.

However, having the infrastructure in place and its safety intact are two different things. Critical infrastructure faces major threats among them cyber terrorism. By the fact that most of the services offered in the infrastructure are virtual, cyber terrorism creeps in quite simply, even without being noted, until huge losses are made by the service providers. Cyber terrorism is usually used by the media and others to describe any act of breaching computer security. However, this usage may be misleading since it not only confuses on the real nature and complexity of this cyber threat but it also ends in loss of credibility on the part of the authorities as they try to raise and create awareness about the border issue of the computer security. In the real sense, cyber terrorism may be used to refer to any form of attack that is truly destructive, from computer-to-computer and may cause death, injury, significant economic losses, and significant disruption of critical infrastructure and are instigated by a desire or a motive to push and enforce and intimidate a government, an authority or civilian population while pursuing political, religious, or ideological gains.

In this subject, it is important to note that there are vast, complex and well-advanced possibilities created for cyber terrorism (Janczewski & Colarik, 2008). This makes the war on this crime to be a diverse engagement because the terrorists exploit any possible fields to Mann their crime. They may manipulate systems via software, create viruses and hack into any given site. This is made possible by erasing data, re-writing web pages, introducing viruses that disable some applications on a site, and penetrate into a secure system (Janczewski & Colarik, 2008). One advantage of the attacks to the cyber terrorists is that they are done in a way that enables the terrorists to remain unknown even after they are committed. This leaves the authorities and such victims at a risk of losing total surveillance, no connection and no control over their own sites and web pages.

When terrorists create an established avenue for cyber-crimes, the government loses revenues because no taxes are remitted from the cyber businesses. This in one way or the other incapacitates the growth and development that would be effected by the collection of revenues and taxes. Hacking, on the other hand, gives the hackers the access to vital documents and information of a company and exposes them to unauthorised people. The hackers may use the data for their self gains, theft, and destruction of evidences, for example in court cases.

In order to curb the menace of cyber-attacks and crimes, we will first explore the various areas in which the United States government has faced cyber terrorism in its infrastructure, and investigate the various mechanisms put in place to combat the same in such instances. Thus, from the various findings showing the impacts of cyber terrorism in the US, there are buffer zones that have been created to cushion the various sectors from falling victims of this crime. In one way or the other, there have always been cases of attacks and the sectors may have lost their resources through cyber terrorism and thereafter gave relevant directives to help fight the loss. Cyber terrorism is considered one of the worst forms of terrorism in the modern world. These observations notwithstanding, it is paramount to note that, various countries not only the United States of America have taken these threats serious and employed various remedies to curb the menace. Despite initiating the safest forms of anti-cyber terrorism measures, the largest number of cyber terrorism is recorded in the United States of America. These statistics underscores the importance of the various measures been pursued by the government to ensure safety and security of the country’s infrastructural installation. When such measures are productive, not only the economy will improve but also it would be easier for the government be in a position to provide public safety utilities.

i) Instances of Cyber terrorism on US infrastructure

            At the end of the 19th Century, cyber terrorism was a known crime in the US and combating it was a necessity as early as then. This prompted to the establishment of the national defence centre that was mandated to seek security solutions for the network systems and in telecommunications. The centre had another mission of exploring the consequences of the information revolution (Janczewski & Colarik, 2008). In some common instances, there have been cyber terrorism attacks where terrorist groups like al-Qaeda have hacked into the US security systems, and disseminated information on the attacks they are planning to do. Such terrorist groups and other militia have been seen calling on their supporters on the global level to fight what is commonly referred to as the electronic jihad against the western governments. There have been small-scale cyber attacks that are done at daily basis, and though the larger scale attacks are now infamous. There has been various research and findings that has shown how vulnerable the critical infrastructure, in particular, is to intrusion. Thus, there is a lot that needs to be done by the US government and the world authorities at large, the private sectors, civil societies and all organizations, to protect their citizens and companies from cyber attacks. Otherwise, there will always be cases of crippled infrastructure, degraded state capacities to running the normal operations of the firms and governments. In this case, this research paper has given practical recommendations that could be applied to institutions and systems to protect cases of cyber terrorism.

In various ways, cyber terrorism should be a prevented at all costs to avoid and protect the victims from nefarious intentions from inflicting and suffering on a currently unseen scale. There have been other instances of cyber terrorism that includes, cyber space wars, damage to computer-based attacks and threats of attack to non-state actors. All these attacks are meant to cause great harm such as loss of life or significant economic damage. They are also meant to cause and wreck havoc on the information technology systems that are an integral part of the public safety, public health, banking and financial services, national broadcasters and so on. They also cause disruption to the traffic control systems, medical and emergency services and public works. Though these acts are not termed as terrorism acts, because they do not cause deaths to great numbers, they may paralyze government and institutional services that includes websites, operational systems, and wholesomely infrastructure, on temporal basis. If the US government was left to remain vulnerable and do not combat cyber terrorism, it remains in the risk of mass casualties, degradation of vital systems which are significant to maintain an established national safety and security.

The following are examples of cyber terrorism in the US:

  • Computer hackers who disabled a Massachusetts ISP and destroyed part of the department’s records keeping systems. Though the ISP attempted to bar the hackers from sending racism propagating messages across the US in the department’s name, they (hackers) signed off with a threat message that sent a warning to the department and this was the message, “you are yet to witness the real electronic terrorism. This they promised.”
  • Protesters spamming e-mail messages such that the Institute of Global Communications (IGC) could send e-mails, but they could never be delivered. This greatly affected the communications systems, and they did the clogging to the web pages with fake credit card orders, and threatened to use the same tactics against other such organizations.
  • Militia groups disrupt embassies and high commissioners by sending them large volumes of e-mails. In this way, they cause confusions and overloading of the communication platforms of the officials, hence they do not access or reply to the important and official e-mails.
  • NATO computers were, in 1999, blown out using e-mail bombs and are hit with denial-of-service attacks by the hackers that were protesting the NATO bombings. They also sent highly politicized virus-laden e-mails to such institutions as businesses, public organizations, academic institutions and large companies.
  • Protesters flooding the target institutions with rapid and repeated download requests.
  • Use of virus and other bugs to dismantle the computer systems of the US government security firms.

In other cases, cyber terrorism has been used as a tool to sabotage political parties and cause financial and other such damages. This can be seen in a case where a disgruntled employee caused the release of untreated sewage into waterways thus causing a great threat to the drinking water systems. This waste is a great risk to the lives of people who may consume or use the water containing the waste materials for domestic purposes. In addition, cyber terrorism is seen in cases where hackers replace a website’s or webpage’s content with their own content. This leads to civil wars, from the involved persons.

ii) Cyber terrorism as a weapon of mass annoyance

            We have seen in the above discussion that, cyber terrorism has been a major threat to the information and communication technologies (ICT), and has been used by cyber terrorists to enrich them and empower themselves individually, and cripple down critical infrastructure. This is a great negativity because, the basic reason why the ICT platforms are established is to benefit people, corporations, and authorities and push them to growth, learning, and prosperity. It has been a great drawback and a downside to establishment of a stable ICT growth in the US. In the current generation of digital migration, cyber terrorism has been a great hindrance to the migration because it hinders the smooth transition of the analogue transmission of information to the digital platform. In a case where this migration is hindered, it causes annoyance to the authorities running the communication systems of a particular state. Various tools of cyber crime have been in the use by the hackers and cyber terrorists. There are above 30,000 websites that post hacker codes, which can be downloaded to break passwords and security codes to various institutions, aiming at crashing systems, and steal data (Jain, 2005). Some of the most commonly used tools are:

  • Anonymous re-mailers- they are commonly used by hackers and such intruders to mask their identities. These are machines on the internet configured to receive and resend traffic by replacing the original source.
  • Internet packet filters or sniffers allow intruders to intercept network traffic.
  • Nukers are software tools used by the hackers and cyber terrorists to intercept network traffic.
  • Password crackers allow the intruders to access by breaking encrypted passwords files stolen from a victim’s network server.
  • There are other scanners that operate using automated software that helps the cyber terrorists to identify services running on network machines, which can be exploited.
  • Spoofers are other software tools that allow the hackers to masquerade as just any other users.
  • Trojan programs are used to alter a legitimate program and this makes the program to perform in unknown or a hidden manner. The cyber terrorists use Trojan programs to create undocumented backdoors into the network systems.

All these are ways in which the cyber terrorism crime is used as an annoyance tool, causing threats to their victims through, data loss. When detailed examinations of some of the scenarios of attacks on critical infrastructure are carried out, it is well seen that the cyber terrorism is an accurate and strategic attempt by the terrorist to cause great harm to the security systems. For example, hackers have tried to attack dams used for water storage and for power generation by disabling or taking command of the floodgates in a dam, and an intruder may use virtual tools to destroy real-world lives and properties by electrical power and flooding an area. In addition, attackers may embark on hydroelectric dams that help in providing a measure for cyber-threats. They may shut down the electric power stations leading to a black out in major towns, industries, manufacturing companies, and domestic households. This cause disruptions, power outages hence less productivity and business losses.

Hackers and cyber terrorists have interfered with air traffic systems, disrupted flights, shut down air transport at airports and airstrips, and this has caused dangers to the passengers and air crew personnel. Though not several aircrafts are remotely controlled by computer networks and systems, the attacks may have significant dangers and risks to the lives of people. This may cause fatal accidents, loss of lives, and destruction of properties. While the internet may have a few points of failure that offer possibilities and vulnerabilities for system, the US government has tried to keep the attackers at bay and keep their sites safe from the cyber terrorists.

iii) How infrastructural attacks affect US society

            The cyber terrorism affects the US society through the following ways

  • Loss of data- hackers gain access to private and confidential data, and the data gets to the unauthorised hands. In one way or the other, this exposes the US society to their data enemies leading to great threats as discussed above
  • Hackers deny the government the power to control and run the critical infrastructure such as health facilities, banking and financial facilities, water systems, security systems and so on.
  • Communication platforms such as e-mails and social networks are destroyed and this affects the society. The genuine information fails to reach their recipients and this leads to communication breakdowns.
  1. Safety and protection of US infrastructure

            Although cyber space and information technology in communication has a variety of benefits, we have seen in the previous subtopics that it is also marred with various challenges and dangers of attacks and cyber terrorism. These challenges vary in sophistication, and they also range from individual attacks and attacks that target countries, states, companies and organizations. Hence, this raises the need for cyber space protection, and preventing any loopholes to information systems, critical infrastructure systems and all that can be targeted by cyber terrorism. This section of the research paper discusses on the safety and how the US critical infrastructure can be protected from any forms of cyber rime. This involves the internet security, installation of working mechanisms that can track and trace cyber terrorism, and a legal frame work to deal with the culprits of this vice in a state. Various tools of cyber-crime have been in the use by the hackers and cyber terrorists. There are above 30,000 websites that post hacker codes, which can be downloaded to break passwords and security codes to various institutions, aiming at crashing systems, and steal data (Jain, 2005).

We may note, at this point, that there are some states that have put in place, some policies that addresses this crime and aims at bringing to justice the cyber terrorists and gives fairness and justice to the victims. This means that governments, private sectors and individuals must work together to build and come up with a trusted cyber security measures and capabilities and consider developing legal frame works for the new and most embraced technology that is under attack. In dealing with cyber space rime, we must understand that many critical information infrastructures including security systems, communication systems, banking systems, transportation systems, energy distribution systems, emergency response systems, public health systems and such depend on this technology of computer-communications for running, direct control, and other crucial operations. It has been a great drawback and a downside to establishment of a stable ICT growth in the US. In the current generation of digital migration, cyber terrorism has been a great hindrance to the migration because it hinders the smooth transition of the analogue transmission of information to the digital platform. In a case where this migration is hindered, it causes annoyance to the authorities running the communication systems of a particular state.

Since the vice of cyber terrorism has globally spread, we will consider a platform of ensuring a global safety; consider various internet threats across the globe, and the key areas where cyber spaces are exposed. In this case, we studied a range of measures that are essential for protecting critical infrastructure. This call for good storage, handling only by the authorised personnel, employment of the most complex measures to ensure that the security put in place can not be easily hacked. Viewing cyber space at a glance, most countries have deployed this technology as the critical platform in telecommunications, that includes, public phone systems, and wireless, and satellite communications, internet, and so on that tends to be highly dependent on computing technology. All these are the most common targeted cyber spaces, and needs protection and sustained safety. Internet security, for example, is jeopardized by the large number of internet users at a daily service. Researchers say that we have over 1.3 billion internet users worldwide and over 200 countries using the top-level domains. Hence, from this large users’ number, cyber terrorism is easy to thrive and because it favours the attackers, the risk it holds is as wide as the audience of the same. Other areas in which the critical infrastructure is feared to collapse are in the cases of globalization, where the whole world can now be viewed as a global village. Globalization has now meant that internet s less secure, and so is the critical infrastructure. It is vulnerable to the resulting new systems “intimacies” transfer and movement of information which now takes place in unprecedented transnational contexts.

In addition, it has globally become hard to police the internet and its users, due to the privacy and ownership policies. This ends to be a good bleeding space of cyber terrorists because they hide in the above areas to commit cyber terrorism. In the following areas, terrorists have had these to do;

  • Terrorists support their activities and infrastructure using internet.
  • They may attack the cyber spaces explicitly for the purposes of having control over some information or data.

The following recommendations may be adopted

  • Crime and punishment- the US government should clearly define the cyber crime and the punishment to the law breakers as well as the sentences they should serve. It must as well define the undesirable behaviour as criminal.
  • It should also be concerned with the sub-state actors. – It should come up with acts and policies to curb and combat cyber terrorism.
  • There are other scanners that operate using automated software that helps the cyber terrorists to identify services running on network machines which can be exploited.
  • Infrastructure protection-the US government should have established standards and practices as far as cyber spaces are concerned. This puts the limits and boundaries to what is a crime and that which is not. Data handlers and such institutions should be entitled to comply with the legal frame works provided for safety of the cyber spaces and ensure the safety and protection of the US critical infrastructure. The internet providers should be controlled and regulated by communication authorities that screen the information they pass and allow to cross their respective networks.

In most cases, these coded languages are only familiar to the terrorists and are not easy to track and trace them. Hence, the terror groups can execute their attacks without necessarily being noted and pursued. In this case, coding messages technology has boosted cyber space crime and the US government should train people in the information technology field to track, trace and decode the coded terrorists’ messages.

 

ii). Security risks associated to online data and material processing and diffusion. There are numerous security hazards that are associated to online data. For example, there are cases where cyber terrorists access banking systems and hack into these systems and hence have access to the banks’ and customers’ accounts details. When they get this access, they may tamper with the account details, gain access to the finances in the accounts, change the PIN numbers, account passwords, and other basic information about a customer.

iii). Implications of Cyber terrorism on organizational performance and social development

Initially, information technology was meant to be a means to provide efficiency and effectiveness to individuals, private companies and firms, organisations and states, as far as communication and transmission of information is concerned. Any cyber crimes to these groups cripple the operations of the institutions and entities listed above. A good example is when web pages and websites are hacked, and this may lead to slower operations, sending debug and irritating mails, viruses that may ‘eat” away the saved files and documents and such cases.

iv). Security issues related to cyber terrorism- business community, governments, individuals, and organizations are slowly becoming information addicts. They are profoundly depending on information and this generates the chance for cyber space attacks and cyber terrorism. Such security crimes include;

Loss of data through disturbance staff time which involves network delays when there is intermittent admittance for commercial users. There is an issue of high levels of insurance premiums due to the increased threat caused by terrorism whenever they carry on a terrorist attack; the damages are enormous which further escalates the cost of insurance. It is the responsibility of insurance companies to cater for the reinstallation of the destroyed infrastructures which increases the cost of insurance. In addition, whenever damage occurs, the involved costs are high whenever companies are involved with litigation in an attempt to recover their properties as well as construction of building. Besides these losses, they is also something which the public as well as private investors lose; intellectual properties which cannot even be replaced by insurance. These are some of the high risks which companies may not recover even when insurance is involved. Whenever there is a terrorist attack or a related case, the emergency coordination is greatly interrupted and hampered which further escalates the problem. Businesses affected further suffer loss of public confidence in containing such crimes while the government is blamed for lack of taking responsibility in containing terrorism. External investors who had done domestic partnerships are also affected and the losses are enormous. Businesses also suffer reduced shares for their capital and market investment due to such actions. We have seen in the above discussion that, cyber terrorism has been a major threat to the information and communication technologies (ICT), and has been used by cyber terrorists to enrich them and empower themselves individually, and cripple down critical infrastructure. This is a great negativity because, the basic reason why the ICT platforms are established is to benefit people, corporations, and authorities and push them to growth, learning, and prosperity.

v). Security breaches connected to cyber terrorism

  1. Effect on the citizens

The cyber terrorism affects the US citizens through the following ways

  • Loss of data- hackers gain access to private and confidential data, and the data gets to the unauthorised hands. In one way or the other, this exposes the US society to their data enemies leading to great threats as discussed above
  • Hackers deny the government the power to control and run the critical infrastructure such as health facilities, banking and financial facilities, water systems, security systems and so on.
  • Communication platforms such as e-mails and social networks are destroyed and this affects the society. The genuine information fails to reach their recipients and this leads to communication breakdowns.
  1. Effect on government operations.
  • Computer hackers who deactivated a Massachusetts ISP and devastated part of the division’s registers custody systems. Though the ISP attempted to bar the hackers from sending racism propagating messages across the US in the department’s name, they (hackers) signed off with a threat message that sent a warning to the department and this was the message, “you are yet to witness the real electronic terrorism. This they promised.”
  • Protesters spamming e-mail messages such that the Institute of Global Communications (IGC) could send e-mails, but they could never be delivered. This greatly affected the communications systems, and they also did the clogging to the web pages with fake credit card orders, and threatened to use the same tactics against other such organizations.
  • Militia clusters disturb embassies and high commissioners by conveyance them large capacities of e-mails. In this way, they cause confusions and overloading of the communication platforms of the officials, hence they do not access or reply to the important and official e-mails.
  • They also sent highly politicized virus-laden e-mails to such institutions as businesses, public organizations, academic institutions and large companies.
  • All these are ways in which the cyber terrorism crime is used as an annoyance tool, causing threats to their victims through, data loss. When detailed examinations of some of the scenarios of attacks on critical infrastructure are carried out, it is well seen that the cyber terrorism is an accurate and strategic attempt by the terrorist to cause great harm to the security systems. For example, hackers have tried to attack dams used for water storage and for power generation by disabling or taking command of the floodgates in a dam, and an intruder may use virtual tools to destroy real-world lives and properties by electrical power and flooding an area. In addition, attackers may embark on hydroelectric dams that helps in providing a measure for cyber-threats. They may shut down the electric power stations leading to a black out in major towns, industries, manufacturing companies, and domestic households. This cause disruptions, power outages hence less productivity and business losses.
  • Hackers and cyber terrorists have interfered with air traffic systems, disrupted flights, shut down air transport at airports and airstrips, and this has caused dangers to the passengers and air crew personnel. Though not several aircrafts are remotely controlled by computer networks and systems, the attacks may have significant dangers and risks to the lives of people. This may cause fatal accidents, loss of lives, and destruction of properties. While the internet may have a few points of failure that offer possibilities and vulnerabilities for system, the US government has tried to keep the attackers at bay and keep their sites safe from the cyber terrorists.

In other cases, cyber terrorism has been used as a tool to sabotage political parties and cause financial and other such damages. This can be seen in a case where a disgruntled employee caused the release of untreated sewage into waterways thus causing a great threat to the drinking water systems. This waste is a great risk to the lives of people who may consume or use the water containing the waste materials for domestic purposes. In addition, cyber terrorism is seen in cases where hackers replace a website’s or webpage’s content with their own content.

Recommendations

From the studies conducted above, cyber terrorism has been identified as one of the major threats to the infrastructural installation in the United States. Therefore, any threat to the infrastructural installation in the United States is a critical to the economic, social and political activities in the country. The following shall be the recommendations which are offered from these analyses;

  1. The government should provide overarching cyber strategy which should be instrumental in combating cyber terrorism. This strategy ought to be coordinated between the various government agencies to ensure harmonization of activities in preventing cyber terrorism.
  2. The government should provide and develop clear cut and distinct roles of the various government arms and agencies. This is important to ensure there is no conflict of activities whenever these agencies are coordinating various threats in the cyber network in the country.
  3. Policies should be formulated to ensure that all the stakeholders in the security industry should be held accountable. In this regard, private sector should also be held responsible for the cyber security within their jurisdiction.
  4. There should be all-inclusive efforts in combating cyber terrorism. In this regard, they should be a close relationship between the government, civil society and all the stakeholders in this field to ensure there is cyber resilience in the country.
  5. There should be policies which should be international norms with regard to governance concerning the web world. In addition, the international market should be concerned with policies, rules and regulations which should crackdown on the international black market.
  6. Although there has been high campaign for interne freedoms especially from civil society groups, the government should restrict internet services through legislative measures to ensure proper utilization of internet is adhered to.
  7. The government should also be actively involved in telecommunication industry in order to be a dominant player in the internet industry. By so doing, it is able to understand the dynamics and weakness in the sector which might be vulnerable to attacks by cyber terrorist. This would enhance proper response mechanisms by the government in ensuring security of the sector.
  8. When cyber terrorism thrives, the economic installations are vulnerable; therefore, government ought to establish a strong firewall and protective mechanisms to all key public installations like chemical plants to ensure their online operations are not interfered with.
  9. Media houses ought also to be held accountable for dissemination of any information they distribute to the public which may aid and assist cyber terrorist in their activity. Policies should be introduced for responsible journalism and reporting.
  10. Since much of cyber terrorists includes creation and manipulation of key software, government ought to control the innovation industry especially those involved in software development to ensure their activities are monitored at all times. This would greatly reduce the vulnerability of key public installations to cyber terrorism.

Conclusion

It is clearly seen from our research proposal that, cyber-terrorism is a major insecurity factor that has been a threat to the US critical infrastructure. Hence, there is a need to curb the vice and put mechanisms in place to combat any loopholes that may lead to the same. The research topic is the analysis of the threat of Cyber-terrorism towards the US Critical Infrastructure. We have sought and studied mechanisms to protection of the infrastructure from cyber-terrorism. Some of the research questions studied above are; how vulnerable is the US Critical Infrastructure to Cyber-terrorism, what are the security postures of the USA Critical infrastructure to cyber terrorism, what factors motivates cyber terrorists, why do most cyber-attacks go undetected, and what challenges does the US Government face currently in combating cyber-terrorism. In this study, we tried to engage people who run cyber services, especially for the government institutions and arms, and tried to find out the answers to the questions raised above. Various research methodologies were applied that included, but not limited to, filling of questionnaires, interviews, observations, and even fieldworks assignments. The results are well recorded, where all data received were processed, analyzed and well-kept even for the future references. Various recommendations were given on how the US government can combat this crime, and if possible ensure that it is completely stopped.

References

Cordesman, A. H., & Cordesman, J. G. (2002). Cyber-threats, information warfare, and critical infrastructure protection: Defending the U.S. homeland. Westport, Conn: Praeger.

NATO Advanced Research Workshop on Responses to Cyber Terrorism, & Centre of Excellence Defence Against Terrorism. (2008). Responses to cyber terrorism. Amsterdam, Netherlands: IOS Press.

Janczewski, L., & Colarik, A. M. (2008). Cyber warfare and cyber terrorism. Hershey: Information Science Reference.

In Chen, T. M., In Jarvis, L., & In Macdonald, S. (2014). Cyberterrorism: Understanding, assessment, and response.

Information Resources Management Association., & Khosrow-Pour, M. (2004). Innovations through information technology. Hershey, PA: Idea Group Publishing

Jain, A. (2005). Cyber crime: Issues threats and management. New Delhi: Isha Books.