Cybercrime, cyber terrorism, and cyber espionage are internet-based crimes that pose a serious threat to the national security of the United States of America. Each of them affects the country differently because of the difference in their focus (Hughbank, Niosi, & Dumas, 2011). A section of the society believes that cybercrime poses a more serious national security threat than cyber terrorism and cyber espionage. In order to compare these three forms of internet-based crimes, it is important to look at the definition of each one. King (2012, p. 78) defines cybercrime as “crime conducted via the Internet or some other computer network.” As shown in this definition, cybercrime is a very broad term that may include numerous criminal activities conducted using internet-enabled computers.
We will write a custom Essay on Cybercrime and United States National Security specifically for you
301 certified writers online
Olsson (2014, p.34) defines cyber terrorism as “a politically motivated use of computers and information technology to cause severe disruption or widespread fear in society.” It primarily focuses on causing political instability or major security threat that may jeopardize the country’s sovereignty. Bergen (2016, p. 53) defines cyber espionage as “the use of computer networks to gain illicit access to confidential information, typically that held by a government or other organization.” In most of the cases, the espionage acts are often conducted against one state with the intent of sharing the information with another state. It is a serious threat if such, highly confidential information is shared with a hostile state.
Comparing the three forms of crime, it is clear that each of them affects the country differently and with different magnitudes. Cybercrime often targets individual citizens or specific organizations. In most cases, they end up benefiting the criminal financially or from a social perspective. On the other hand, cyber terrorism and cyber espionage target the state. Although sometimes citizens may be the casualties, these two forms of crime are specifically designed to target the political and social system of the country. The perpetrators of such crimes may or may not benefit from such acts (Gartenstein & Grossman, 2009). For instance, if one is hired by a hostile state to help in the espionage acts, it is possible that such an individual may get financial benefits from the sponsoring state. However, those involved in cyber-terrorism may not have any financial benefits attached to their actions. In order to determine whether cybercrime is a more serious national security threat than cyber terrorism and cyber espionage, it is important to look at the primary goal of these criminal activities and the magnitude of the impact they have on national security.
The researcher strongly believes that cyber terrorism and cyber espionage are more serious national security threats than cybercrime. These two forms of crime specifically target the foundation of the nation, the country’s sovereignty. They make the country vulnerable to an external threat. As stated above, cyber terrorists do not stand to gain from most of their activities. They play zero-sum games, and that makes them very dangerous (Bell, 2009). Their only goal is to ensure that there is instability in the country and suffering among innocent citizens. On the other hand, cyber espionage makes the country very vulnerable to external attacks, especially by hostile states. It provides these enemies wit critical information that puts them ahead of this country in case there is a war.
Bell, S. (2009). The martyr’s oath: The apprenticeship of a homegrown terrorist. New York, NY: John Wiley & Sons.
Bergen, P. L. (2016). United States of jihad: Investigating America’s homegrown terrorists. New York, NY: Cengage.
Gartenstein, D., & Grossman, L. (2009). Homegrown terrorists in the US and UK: An empirical study of the radicalization process. Washington, DC: FDD Press.
Hughbank, R. J., Niosi, A. F., & Dumas, J. C. (2011). The dynamics of terror: And creation of homegrown terrorists. Hoboken, NJ: Tate Publishers & Enterprises.
King, M. (2012). The radicalization of homegrown terrorists: A social-personality model. Hoboken, NJ: Wiley.
Olsson, P. A. (2014). The making of a homegrown terrorist: Brainwashing rebels in search of a cause. London, UK: McMillan.