Tools for cyber terrorism are becoming increasingly widespread online, so much so, that the UK counter terrorism forces are preparing for the Al-Qaeda-led ‘cyber-jihad’ of the future.
The government has committed £650m to its cyber security strategy already.
The Home Office Counter Terrorism Strategy says that,”the so-called ‘here you have’ virus, responsibility for which was claimed by the Tariq bin Ziyad Brigades for Electronic Jihad, was relatively unsophisticated but a likely indicator of a future trend.”
So whilst “systematic cyber terrorism” is not here yet, there is a definite threat. Al Qaeda has called for lone acts of terrorism, and ‘cyber-jihad.’
The report points out how lone terrorists use information online, and as cyber attacks develop, this information will increase, and improve, making the attacks more sophisticated.
In the UK, law enforcement has been successful in removing terrorist material – but these sites can relocate to servers in another country, making international co-operation paramount.
“Our most important single relationship is with the US which is by far the biggest provider of Internet hosting services in the world.”
Low-level attacks cannot be dismissed, even though it is unlikely that a terrorist group would have the resources to threaten the UK’s critical national infrastructure, as yet.
“Cyber warfare continues to present a very real threat to our national security, and is moving rapidly up the government agenda,” said Mark Darvill, director at government-grade security vendor AEP Networks.
A centralised reporting system would be ideal – so any suspected terrorism content would be sent directly to the relevant law enforcement agency, or a service that could trawl through the Internet with the use of key words and metadata, searching for the offending material.
Once again, co-operation and sharing of forces is key to standing firm against the terrorists of the future.