On a daily basis, uses of the internet range from the constructive to the destructive purposes. Constructive uses include communication entailing sending and receiving of emails, accessing websites in such of information and even passing information through newsgroups. Destructive uses on the other hand, includes Denial-of-Service attacks mainly perpetrated by hackers; larceny of data such as credit card details which are practiced by crackers; and of primary interest, instilling violence against individuals or causing severe economic damage which is practiced by terrorists, cyber terrorists. A cyber terrorist aims at attacking the information or infrastructure mostly at a national level through the internet. The terrorist can also provide technological facilitation or raise funds with an ultimate aim of propagating terrorism. In a nutshell, the terrorist engages in cyber terrorism imposing attacks that are harder to detect or defend against. Therefore cyber terrorism encompasses all activities that are aimed at creating attacks that result in mass psychological effects perpetuated by subnational or foreign groups with eventual political reasons (Whitman & Mattord, 2010). In what follows, cyber terrorism will be explored with specific relation to its attack on the American infrastructure and the American response on the same. Further, the American response will be compared and contrasted with the Canadian response to cyber terrorism.
Improved reliability of nations on web technology has led to a great interconnection of the available infrastructure (Whitman & Mattord, 2010). Consequently, the infrastructure such as the transit infrastructure, utility systems, energy systems and many others are vulnerable to cyber terrorism attacks. Protective measures against cyber terrorism of infrastructure are paramount. America, for instance, has come up with responsive measures to curb and counter cyber terrorism through its government. The measures have been fueled by the initial encounters of cyber-attacks on various infrastructures. To cite some examples, there was an attack of the transportation, banking and health sectors in America. Recently, The American Airlines Inc. and the Sabre Corp., which deal with most of most of the airline travel and hotel reservations respectively, were cyber attacked. The attack led to a big damage in the air travel sector since much confidential information belonging to the government, and the both organizations were leaked. The common thing between the two attacks is that they both entailed loss of voluminous booking records of the travel and hotel sectors (Robertson & Riley, 2016). These two examples are among the major cyber-attacks that have profoundly wounded the U.S. travel sector. The health sector has also been under several attacks among which, are the Premera Blue Cross, and the CareFirst BlueCross BlueShield cyber-attacks which had the personal information such as e-mails and social security numbers details compromised. A final infrastructural set of cyber-attacks are the ones that have hit the academic facilities in the U.S. with the most recent one being the Penn State University where students social security numbers were compromised.
In response to such attacks and those that could happen in the foreseeable future, America has developed strategies which aim at protecting and/or providing quick recovery from cyber terrorism attacks. First and foremost, the U.S. government has improved the exchange of information pertaining cyber-attacks prior and after they occur with the private sector (Whitman & Mattord, 2010). For instance, the Sabre Corp. is a private sector but as a response to the cyber-attack that hit its system, the government has worked for hand and hand with the organization so as to ensure that the loopholes that resulted in such an attack do not occur ever again or can be easily even if not completely recovered from. Whats more, the government is working with foreign countries governments and private sectors in a bid to curb the terrorism (Robertson & Riley, 2016).
To re-enforce the public-private sectors interrelationships, the U.S. government has developed a national policy which is mainly composed of the national security strategy of cyberspace. Here, the military, diplomatic, intelligence and the legislation sectors are reinforced to increase their effectiveness against cyber crimes (Whitman & Mattord, 2010).
America has set out to improve the capabilities of its cyber security personnel including boosting their skills through training and encouraging research. In line with this, a body called the Comprehensive National Security Institution has been commissioned so as to advance in cyber technology and its technology. This helps the public and private sector maintain a certain common minimum of cyber security technology and hence only susceptible to very complex and advanced cyber-attacks of which the body is always improving (Whitman & Mattord, 2010).
Nationally, these strategies have improved the national security of America in relation to cyber terrorism attacks. The government has been able to track the trends of cyber-attacks and thus can improve their cyberspace avoiding further (fatal) cyber-attacks. The legislation policies developed against cyber crimes have helped reduce the number of possible cyber-attacks due to the harsh penalties faced by the criminals. On a global level, security has improved since those who adopt such responses also get reduced incidents of cybercrimes. Further, since there is a corporation between most governments globally, the policies set out against cybercrimes are definitely in a relatively uniform check. Additionally, minimal loopholes are left in the cyberspace due to the international exchange of ideas for example through the use of modernized authorities.
The cyber ethics have in one way or the other been affected by the American response to the subject matter. For example, there has been a type of reduced privacy in confidential information due to the sharing of information between the security personnel involved in the governmental and private personnel. In other words, there has been a depletion of confidentiality in especially in the National Strategy to Secure the Cyber Space.
Canada, on the other hand, has initiated put several strategies in place in a bid to tackle cyber terrorism. The Canadian government has come to the realization that cyber terrorism is a mainstream concern to the security of the nation and the infrastructure in it including its people. Canada has thus come up with a cyber-terrorism strategy which provides a robust set of over-arching national legislation, policies, and legal framework which address computer-related and computer aided crimes and terrorism activities As a similarity with the US government, Canada has coordinated efforts which make use of its domestic sector of security, international alignment, and corporative partnerships. The government (Canadas) has partnered with bodies such as the INTERPOL, European Police Office, and North Atlantic Treaty Organization. For instance, on a national level, Canada has a national coordination center known as Canadian Cyber Incident Response Center (CCIRC). The CCIRC aims at minimizing the cyber threats that Canadas critical systems are experiencing for instance, the phone service providers and banks among other services ("The Government of Canada's response to the terrorist attacks of 9/11", 2015). These systems majorly constitute the critical infrastructure. It is evident that both governments (US and Canadas) work towards the public safety in which case they partner with territories, private sector organizations, provinces, municipalities and international counterparts in a bid to coordinate the effective response towards any cyber terrorism threat.
Clearly, the Canadian government has done adequate and necessary protection to prevent cyber-attacks on its infrastructure. To cite an example, the government passed a legislative bill (Bill C-51) whose main purpose is to protect the nation including the public from cyber terrorism attacks. This bill was passed in response to a political perpetrated cyber-attack which brought down several government sites affecting the foreign affairs, the transport sector, citizenship and immigration and justice sectors of Canada. The bill broadened the Canada Spy Agencys powers and enabled easier interchanging of information between the governments agencies (Minsky, 2015). Arguably, one would say that this bill deprived the Canadians liberties, especially when in the light of information privacy, nonetheless, on the brighter side the strategy improves detection and eradication of any cyber terrorism attacks rocketed towards Canada.
To sum it all up, cyber-terrorism is here to stay and even worse it is getting more and more complicated mainly due to the continuous advances in technology which only makes the terrorists vice malicious attacks as they correspondingly improve their knowledge. Nevertheless, governments are also improving and advancing their skills in line with the advancing technology hence development of effective, responsive measures to this mode of terrorism is guaranteed. The American response (and the Canadian) to cyber terrorism is a good example of the measures governments worldwide.
Minsky, A. (2015). Anonymous claims responsibility for cyber attack that shut down government websites. Global News. Retrieved 24 June 2016, from HYPERLINK "http://globalnews.ca/news/2060036/government-of-canada-servers-suffer-cyber-attack/" http://globalnews.ca/news/2060036/government-of-canada-servers-suffer-cyber-attack/
Robertson, J. & Riley, M. (2016). American Airlines, Sabre Said to Be Hit in China-Tied Hacks. Bloomberg.com. Retrieved 24 June 2016, from HYPERLINK "http://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2015-08-07/american-airlines-sabre-said-to-be-hit-in-hacks-backed-by-china" http://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2015-08-07/american-airlines-sabre-said-to-be-hit-in-hacks-backed-by-china
The Government of Canada's response to the terrorist attacks of 9/11. (2015). Publicsafety.gc.ca. Retrieved 24 June 2016, from HYPERLINK "http://www.publicsafety.gc.ca/cnt/ntnl-scrt/cntr-trrrsm/sptmbr-11th/gvrnmnt-rspns-eng.aspx" http://www.publicsafety.gc.ca/cnt/ntnl-scrt/cntr-trrrsm/sptmbr-11th/gvrnmnt-rspns-eng.aspx
Whitman, M. & Mattord, H. (2010). Readings and cases in information security. Boston, Mass.: Thomson Course Technology.
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