Ian Bach

Viewing conflicts through the eye of Counterinsurgency COIN – Since 2007

Evan F. Kohlmann, a terrorism researcher and a consultant

The Real Online Terrorist Threat
Evan F. Kohlmann
From Foreign Affairs, September/October 2006

Article preview: first 500 of 3,128 words total.

Summary: Fears of a “digital Pearl Harbor” — a cyberattack against critical infrastructure — have so preoccupied Western governments that they have neglected to recognize that terrorists actually use the Internet as a tool for organizing, recruiting, and fundraising. Their online activities offer a window onto their methods, ideas, and plans.

Evan F. Kohlmann, a terrorism researcher and a consultant to the Nine/Eleven Finding Answers Foundation, is the author of “Al-Qaida’s Jihad in Europe: The Afghan-Bosnian Network.” He runs the Web site www.globalterroralert.com.

WORLD OF WARCRAFT

The United States is gradually losing the online war against terrorists. Rather than aggressively pursuing its enemies, the U.S. government has adopted a largely defensive strategy, the centerpiece of which is an electronic Maginot Line that supposedly protects critical infrastructure (for example, the computer systems run by agencies such as the Department of Defense and the Federal Aviation Administration) against online attacks. In the meantime, terrorists and their sympathizers, unhindered by bureaucratic inertia and unchallenged by Western governments, have reorganized their operations to take advantage of the Internet’s more prosaic properties.

The U.S. government is mishandling the growing threat because it misunderstands terrorists. For more than a decade, a host of pundits and supposed experts have traded in doom-and-gloom predictions that cyberterrorists would wreak havoc on the Internet — or, worse, use computer networks to do damage in the offline world (for instance, by hijacking systems that control the water and power utilities of major metropolitan areas). Such warnings were bolstered by the occasional acts of terrorist groups such as the Pakistani-based Lashkar-e-Taiba, which has staged dramatic but ineffectual cyberattacks, such as its hacking into the Indian army’s Web site in 2000. Although such incidents had only symbolic impact, they scared technophobic Western policymakers. Fearful of a digital Pearl Harbor, governments embarked on a frantic campaign aimed at “locking doors.” As the former White House counterterrorism czar Richard Clarke explained, Washington’s strategy has been simple: keep terrorists from breaching sensitive government networks.

In truth, although catastrophic computer attacks are not entirely inconceivable, the prospect that militants will be able to execute them anytime soon has been overblown. Fears of such science-fiction scenarios, moreover, have led policymakers to overlook the fact that terrorists currently use the Internet as a cheap and efficient way of communicating and organizing. These militants are now dedicated to waging an innovative, low-intensity military campaign against the United States. Jihadists are typically organized in small, widely dispersed units and coordinate their activities online, obviating the need for a central command. Al Qaeda and similar groups rely on the Internet to contact potential recruits and donors, sway public opinion, instruct would-be terrorists, pool tactics and knowledge, and organize attacks. The RAND Corporation’s David Ronfeldt and John Arquilla have called this phenomenon “netwar,” which they define as a form of conflict marked by the use of “network forms of organization and related doctrines, strategies, and technologies.” In many ways, such groups use the Internet in the same way that peaceful political organizations do; what makes terrorists’ activity threatening is their intent.

To counter terrorists, the U.S. government must learn how to monitor their activity online, in the same way that it keeps tabs on terrorists in the real world. Doing so will require a realignment of U.S. intelligence and law enforcement agencies, which lag behind terrorist organizations in adopting information technologies. At present, unfortunately, senior counterterrorism officials refuse even to pay lip service to the need for such reforms. That must change — and fast.

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About Ian Bach

Independent Online Terrorist Hunter I teach people how to hunt down and shut down the Bad guys web sites. I also teach about the various countries and cultures. Like most cases it is a small group of bsd eggs that in this case call themselves Muslims but in actual fact they are more like how KKK call themselves ",True Christisians". But in both cases / groups they preach a perverted and twisted view a religion. In the case of ISIS, all Qaeda, al Nusra, and the rest of the terrorists who claim to be true Muslims most of these groups follow the Wahhabi teachings. They are almost all Sunni and their goal is global domination. Yet they must be very bad at math and history. Since most Muslims prefer a separation of church and state and also mist are against Shari's Law. Esp the twisted and overly exaggerated form of Sharia Law that the Wahhabi and other bad guys use. I have studied terrorism, insurgencies, and the best tried and proven methods that work to fight terrorism. My Blogs have many links and articles that can show you who are the best and most knowledgeable people in the fields or counterinsurgency and counter terrorism. When I find great practitioner's I always listen to them to find out who they learned from and who they respect and admire. Thus I am always learning new stuff from the best and most successful in their fields of knoeledge. I strive to be an open and ethical source of information, I have met many awesome, kind, caring, and loving wonderful people many who I am close friends with now from Afghanistan, Iraq, Syria, Turkey, Iran, and many from S.E. Asia which also has a high percent of their populations that are Muslim.We must always strive to be aware people are not any one particular religion via that's what they chose to be, instead most people are a particular religion because that's what their parents and/or county is. I was raised Catholic but because I became Interested in magic ,(illusion - smoke n mirrors) and science which lead me to study many religions, and I would call myself an atheist. Yet sometimes when I lose my keys ZI find myself praying "Hail Marys" and a few "Our Fathers" which most always aides me in finding my keys. My belief is that if I just frantically look around for my krys, good luck it takes me for ever. But by saying these prayers it is like s sort of meditation and my mind becomes more calm, which is why it helps my find my keys.

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This entry was posted on December 2, 2007 by in Uncategorized.
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