The development of the Internet around the world has led to the fact that sensitive information and media from many countries ended up being extremely vulnerable. Nowadays, terrorist organizations can obtain and influence it in a negative way. This phenomenon acquired the name of cyberterrorism and turned out to be an international threat in the 21st century. This term is considered to be relatively young since the Internet has become widely used over recent years. The international government, including the United States and the media, has grown to be concerned about the potential damage that cyberterrorism can cause. Its danger motivated several government agencies such as the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), Centers for Disease Control, and United States Border Patrol to make efforts to prevent it. Domestic laws can also be enforced with the help of the military. However, researchers state that it is unlikely that “troops would be used to physically enforce quarantine or a curfew in the civilian community” (Cancian, 2020, para. 3). Thus, it can be concluded that terrorism and cyberterrorism have become one of the many global challenges, and for this reason, they should be the object of close attention to the world community.
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Cyberterrorism can be characterized by deliberate and harmful actions based on political motives, namely attacks on information computer systems, programs, and sensitive data. At the same time, these actions are accompanied by violence against civilians. In addition, acts of cyberterrorism lead to significant damage to the civilian population. In order to effectively solve issues concerning cybercrimes, a number of challenges need to be addressed by the organizations mentioned above. First of all, implementing changes in both national and international legislation should be considered. In other words, the government should propose amendments to existing laws or review legislative acts regulating criminal procedures regarding terrorism.
The Federal Bureau of Investigation is one of the most influential organizations that are concerned with preventing such acts. FBI constantly trains special personnel who specializes in dealing with cyberterrorism. Otherwise stated, they are engaged in the prevention, detection, and disclosure of crimes committed in cyberspace. Moreover, they are involved in the creation of a system that coordinates all possible services for countering cyberterrorism both within an individual state and at the international level. It should also be noted that actions against cybercrime must be aimed primarily at preventing such crimes by purposefully influencing the flow of data. Only in this case the information war unleashed by the leading terrorist organizations in cyberspace will be stopped.
There is no doubt that this is a complex task because terrorist attacks are difficult to identify and stop before they are committed. Furthermore, they violate public safety, intimidate the population, and even are capable of provoking a military conflict. There are a number of recent cases where attackers managed to obtain vital data that should have been kept secret. For instance, in August 2020, “hackers suspected of operating on behalf of the Iranian government were found to have been working to gain access to sensitive information held by the United States” (Significant Cyber Incidents, 2020, para. 4). The data was gathered from a variety of sectors, including technology, public defense, and healthcare.
It is clear that reliable protection of numerous potentially vulnerable critical governmental objects can be provided only if there is a well-functioning security system on an international scale. This system should recognize possible threats and counteract various forms of their manifestation and implementation. In addition, it should minimize possible damage from such attacks. Research for solving such a complex and important problem is being conducted in many countries around the world.
For example, in order to intercept terrorist communications over the Internet, the FBI continues to expand its highly qualified IT staff. The organization is concerned with threats of cyberterrorism, as well as with the use of the Internet by terrorists to plan and prepare attacks. According to researchers, “the FBI has the jurisdiction to investigate acts of cyberterrorism and partnerships with other federal agencies such as the NSA to obtain information on the cyber-terrorist” (Neely Jr & Allen, 2018, p. 17). Moreover, the FBI, along with the State Department, CIA, and other agencies, control different databases. Their information technology efficiently identifies hacks, anomalies, and other significant deviations. However, the integration of various information systems, which will include identification data, fingerprints, bank account traffics, wiretapping, and airline data, is an incredibly difficult and time-consuming task. Among other purposes, the FBI also attempts to create algorithms for effectively removing redundant information and detecting alarms.
Another great concern of terrorism is the emerging trend toward the widespread dissemination of biotechnologies. Nowadays, it has become even more difficult to control the production and use of biological agents and toxins, which significantly increases the risks of using biological weapons in local military conflicts. In addition, they can also be exploited in sabotage and terrorist attacks on populations. Fortunately, there are resources that could be employed to fight infectious diseases. For instance, over the past 10 to 15 years Centers for Disease Control and Prevention have implemented significant strides “to develop medical countermeasures to address potential hazards, including biological threats” (Council, 2016, p. 1). Such facilities provide means, policies, and resources that can be used to counter bioterrorism.
Different measures are proposed that can improve the national clinical base and training of medical personnel. For example, doctors must have a good understanding of the current epidemic situation and be aware of potential biological agents and the symptoms of infectious diseases. Particular attention in these plans is given to the creation of a monitoring system for unusual cases of diseases. Nowadays, much attention in these organizations is also paid to the creation of automated systems for epidemic detection and response.
The United States Border Patrol plays a significant role in preventing and countering acts of terrorism as well. Researchers note that “its main missions are to detect and prevent illegal migrants, terrorists and terrorist weapons from entering the United States, and prevent illegal trafficking of people and contraband” (Tron, 2016, p. 85). Citizens arriving or departing from the country always have to go through thorough examinations at control posts. It is worth noting that the Border Patrol also possesses rights and obligations to independently make decisions on the admission or non-admission of foreigners into the country. In this way, many risks are avoided at the start.
In conclusion, it would appear that with the development of information technology, international terrorism has acquired a new form of cyberterrorism. Moreover, it obtained new supporters throughout the world. The leading world powers recognize that the threat of cyberterrorism is an urgent problem of the 21st century that needs to be resolved at the global level. For this reason, in order to prevent such cases from increasing, the United States constantly considers and adapts new counterterrorism strategies along with other countries. Therefore, effective international cooperation of different organizations that prevent and eliminate the consequences of cyberattacks is of great importance.
Cancian, M. F. (2020). Use of Military Forces in the COVID-19 Emergency. Center for Strategic & International Studies. Web.
Council, D. P. A. (2016). Medical countermeasures for children in public health emergencies, disasters, or terrorism. Pediatrics, 137(2). Web.
Neely Jr, P. R., & Allen, M. T. (2018). Policing cyber terrorism. Journal of Cybersecurity Research (JCR), 3(1), 13-18. Web.
Significant cyber incidents (2020). Center for Strategic & International Studies. Web.
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Tron, T. V. (2016). United States border patrol: General facts, main tasks, agents training. International Science Journal, 1(10), 85-87.