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CYBER TERRORISM AS A THREAT TO INTERNATIONAL PEACE AND SECURITY

“As our world becomes increasingly interconnected through travel, commerce, communications and cyberspace, we become more vulnerable to attacks by technologically savvy terrorists seeking new ways to spread fears.” said Maria Luiza Ribeiro Viotti, the Secretary-General’s Chef de Cabinet. Emphasizing the regional and global implications of a terrorist attack on critical infrastructure, she said the international community must come together and be more creative, proactive and effective in confronting that risk.

What is Cyberterrorism? 

Cyberterrorism is the use of the Internet to conduct violent acts that result in, or threaten, loss of life or significant bodily harm, in order to achieve political gains through intimidation. It can be also defined as the intentional use of computers, networks, and public internet to cause destruction and harm for personal objectives. Over the past 20 years, information technology has developed greatly. From an administrative tool for helping optimise office processes, it is now a strategic instrument of industry, administration, and the military.

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What are the threats to maintaining international peace and security?

Cyberterrorism imposes a serious threat to maintaining international peace and security around the world. Governments and critical infrastructures rely increasingly on network computing technologies and are thus even more vulnerable to cyber-attacks. Cyber attacks can be organized from any part of the world anonymously and it is difficult for government to fight them without being able to identify the attacker, find their location or have any physical contact with them.

Terrorist groups such as Al-Qaeda frequently use the Internet to recruit new supporters of the terrorist group, to communicate with them and even suggest to the public possible terrorist attacks. In summer 2007, the incidents in Estonia, draw full political attention to cyber-attacks. Websites of Estonian organizations, including Estonian parliament, banks and ministries were targeted, because of country’s disagreement with Russia about the relocation of the Bronze Soldier of Tallinn (an elaborate Soviet-era grave marker). These events showed us that NATO member’s societies were also exceedingly vulnerable on the cyber-front. Moreover, in June 2010 the malware “Stuxnet” became public, attacking the Iranian nuclear programme.

In addition, on 27th of  June 2017, a major global cyber-attack began. On that day, Kaspersky Lab reported infections in France, Germany, Italy, Poland, the United Kingdom, and the United States, but that the majority of infections targeted Russia and Ukraine, where more than 80 companies were initially attacked, including the National Bank of Ukraine.

What are the measures taken against cyberterrorism?Taking previously mentioned events into account, the UN has established The High-Level Experts’ Group (HLEG) in October 2007 to assist the International Telecommunication Union (ITU) and Secretary-General in developing strategic proposals for Member States on promoting cyber security. HLEG has developed recommendations to help coordinate a worldwide response to constantly evolving cybercrime and threats to networks. Although, United Nations are issuing legislations and improving law enforcement, the UN Charter still hasn’t been able to set accurate laws and baseline rules.

Weaknesses of cyberspace calls for certain alarm. Cyberterrorism, although not given as much attention as traditional terrorism, must not be ignored and must be fought to prevent a future worldwide cyberattacks.

*Who are most likely the victims of cyberterrorism and why?

*How are diplomatic relations between countries effected because of cyberterrorism?

*How should the Security Council approach minor and mayor cyber attacks?

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