Cyber-crime & Cyber-terrorism Fundaments


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Firstly, the terms Cyber-crime and Cyber-terrorism will be analyzed and defined, in an effort to identify how they have been used over the past years, what are their similarities, differences and incorrect usages. Secondly, the two terms will be analyzed in regards to real events of Cyber-crime and Cyber-terrorism and how such events lead to new government policy. The third part investigates how all these affect the psychology of the public and look into how individuals and groups have reacted in such cases. Finally, the last part aims to identify some potential solutions to the problem.

Cyber-terrorism is also clearly an emerging threat. Terrorist groups are increasingly computer savvy, and some probably are acquiring the ability to use cyber-attacks to inflict isolated and brief disruptions of global infrastructure. Due to the prevalence of publicly available hacker tools, many of these groups probably already have the capability to launch denial-of-service and other nuisance attacks against Internet-connected systems. As terrorists become more computer savvy, their attack options will only increase.

As the global reach of the Internet keeps growing, its effect on all areas of online human endeavor becomes more pervasive. Individuals or groups can exploit the anonymity afforded by cyberspace to engage in illegal or illicit activities that aim to intimidate, harm, threaten or cause fear to citizens, communities, organizations or countries. The virtual and physical distance between the attacker and the victim and the difficulty in tracing back the attack to an individual minimizes the inherent threat of capture to the attacker. But how are such activities defined? What is a Cybercrime and what are its characteristics? How can a Cyberterrorist be identified and what are his or her differences from a Cybercriminal? So far, the definitions for Cybercrime and Cyberterrorism in literature, government documents and everyday use have been highly varied, context-specific and emotionally loaded, which makes discourse on the subject difficult.

There are three distinct definitions of Cyber-terrorism: “Terrorism that initiates…attack[s] on information”, to “the use of Cyber tools” and “a criminal act perpetrated by the use of computers”

Cybercrime and Cyberterrorism have been used to describe online acts such as:

  • Black-hat hacking / Cracking
  • Child sex offences  (pornography and grooming)
  • Crimes in virtual worlds
  • Cyber activism / Hacktivism
  • Virus writing and malware
  • Cyberstalking
  • Identity theft / Fraud
  • Illegal financial transactions / Money laundering
  • Copyright infringement
  • Serious acts of cyberbullying
  • Denial of service attacks
  • Rogue bot-nets

Cyber-terrorism usually has a stronger meaning than Cyber-crime, describing acts that have similar characteristics to real-world terrorism attacks, but not always. On the other hand, Cyber-crime is often used as a catch-all term to describe illegal, harmful and/or hostile activity on the Internet (including Cyber-terrorism). Furthermore, other terms are sometimes used to describe similar illicit online acts, which complicate things even more, and their use is typically dependent on the context or the person/organization that uses them. For example, a spokesperson within the military is likely to use the term Cyber-warfare to describe hostile online acts between two countries and/or acts of terrorism that originate from another country and are manifested online (instead of using the term Cyber-terrorism).

Cybercrime and Cyberterrorism are two issues that are likely to continue to exist for many years to come and they surely must be dealt with. But this process needs to be done in a way that will ensure the growth of the Internet in an inclusive and open way, maintaining the fundamental principles that it has been built upon. One of the principal issues is the disambiguation of the terms Cybercrime and Cyberterrorism. Government bodies, policy networks, scholars, the media and the people need to engage in a global conversation that will help demythologize Cybercrime and define what constitutes a Cybercrime and how Cybercriminals should be dealt with. Cyberterrorism should be decoupled from Cybercrime and be specified in realistic terms, as to what are the probable threats of a Cyberterrorist act and to what extend society should go to face such effects. After these two terms have been clearly and unambiguously defined, people will be much better equipped to receive and comprehend related news and policies, and will be able to engage in a meaningful discourse over the subject. This will help alleviate unwarranted fears while at the same time enable individuals to make informed decisions when considering a new proposed policy by weighing its pros versus the cons and its effects on multiple levels, long and short term , instead of giving-in to fear and forfeiting their privacy and online freedom for better security.

The role of the media (television, blogs, online news outlets and more) is critical in the process of educating the public and engaging in a conversation, as they will be the mediators and curators of information and discourse on the issue. Thus, a concise and sensible approach, devoid of fear-mongering and shock practices, should be followed. Since this is an international issue, governments and policy networks across the world have to come together and discuss openly on what is better for their citizens. Scholars and academics can provide valuable expertise on technological, psychological, ethical and other issues, while highlighting any misgivings by those involved in the process. The people in their local communities, families and social networks should help and train each other to increase their peers’ level of Internet literacy and highlight the advantages of the web. A higher Internet literacy level can help people protect themselves even better by taking simple security measures, such as using anti-virus software and identifying potential risks or scams in their online financial transactions.

It is clear that the accelerating growth of the cyber landscape presents both significant opportunities and critical challenges. On the one hand, online technologies present many benefits such as global and fast access to information, entertainment, education and more. On the other hand, the technological developments that produce these benefits also present risks. As people go online they may also be exposed to sources that are inappropriate, or subjected to contact with individuals who may want to cause them harm. The same websites, applications and games that Internet users access for professional or personal reasons may also contain or lead to exploitative advertisements, offensive language, sexually explicit material, violent or illegal content, scams, bullying, or even child predators.

Furthermore, as the Internet is an open and participatory medium by its definition, people create, author and share their own content by joining conversations on forums, writing their thoughts on blogs and sharing photos or videos on social networking websites. Thus, the privacy of their information can be put at risk if Internet users do not take appropriate measures. Although most members of society are aware of the Internet as a platform and understand its huge potential, others are confused on how to reap its benefits or how it can be useful to them, leaving them disconnected and without a voice in the digital revolution that is taking place. Some even view this new open and inter-connected medium as a threat to their way of life and would like a much more restricted and closed version of it. The challenge for the society of the 21st century is to take advantage of these opportunities, while at the same time protect itself from the risks inherent in use of web and its many applications.

Effect on our Youth by Cyber Bullying


Between cell phones, social media websites, and online gaming, children today seem to have more outlets for interacting with each other virtually than they do for interacting with each other in person. However, with all of the good social interaction that is done as a result of these technologies also comes the bad. In addition to the physical and verbal bullying that may take place at school, cyber bullying in the form of harassing text messages and derogatory posts on children’s Facebook or Twitter accounts is now commonplace. Even though it may not take place in person, the emotional and psychological effects of cyber bullying are just as destructive. Since new media and cell phones are harder to track and monitor, parents need to take preventive measures that can help minimize the effects of cyber bullying on their children.

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How Bullying Affects Kids

Kids that are bullied are likely to experience anxiety, depression, loneliness, unhappiness, and poor sleep. Making the issue worse is the fact that such negative effects of bullying often go unnoticed, as many victims feel the need to conceal the fact that they are being bullied because they are embarrassed or afraid of further bullying. More often than not victims respond passively to bullying. They tend to act anxious and appear less confident. They may become quieter in class and, as a result, the bullying can become a hindrance on their academic success. Therefore, bullying is a problem that, if left unattended, can become a significant hurdle in a child’s development.

Connecting With Kids Online

Yet while the victim might be passive, it is imperative that the parent is not. In order to prevent cyber bullying, parents must be actively involved in their children’s cyber lives. Communication with one’s children is the key to bully prevention, so send them a friend request on Facebook, Twitter or any other social media, play some games on PS4 Live or XBOX Live or another system with online gaming with them. Parents who are proactively involved with their children’s interactions online are subsequently able to monitor these interactions more closely. Therefore, such parents will be exponentially more informed with regard to what bullies, if any, exist in their children’s lives, both online and off.

Creating Safe Spaces

In addition to interacting more with their children, parents should also take the necessary preventive measures to create safe places for their children to get away from cyber bullying. The home should be a safe place where open discussion is not only allowed, but invited. Parental supervision and involvement in a child’s social interactions allows for a sense of comfort and protection from bullying.

One must not forget about the bullies themselves. Often, bullying is a cry for help and can usually be traced to a time when the bully was in fact a victim of this type of behavior. Thus, creating a safe environment where one’s child feels comfortable enough to talk about being bullied can help put a stop to bullying before it ever starts.

Israeli demolition orders


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Some 13,000 Palestinian structures in the occupied West Bank are currently under Israeli demolition orders, leaving residents and homes “in a state of chronic uncertainty and threat”, the UN said Monday.

A report from the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) also highlighted the difficulty Palestinians face in obtaining building permits needed to prevent such demolition orders.

More than 11,000 Israeli demolition orders relating to an estimated 13,000 Palestinian structures are currently awaiting implementation in a huge swathe of the occupied West Bank, said the report entitled “Under Threat”.

“While only a minority of the orders issued are executed, these orders do not expire and leave affected households in a state of chronic uncertainty and threat,” it said.

“Where the orders are implemented, they have resulted in displacement and disruption of livelihoods, the entrenchment of poverty and increased aid dependency.”

The report cites data from the Israeli authorities relating to the West Bank zone under full Israeli control, known as Area C and covering 60 percent of the territory.

The data was obtained through a freedom of information request.

Area C is an administrative region created under the Oslo accords in 1995. Data cited prior to 1995 in the report refers to locations that would later become part of Area C.

Between 1988 and 2014, Israel issued more than 14,000 demolition orders against Palestinian-owned structures, of which upwards of 11,000 are currently outstanding, it said.

In many cases, the same order targets multiple structures owned by the same household (e.g. their residence, an animal shelter, a storage room and a latrine)

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Last month 31 international organisations, including Oxfam and Amnesty International, criticized what they called a “surge” in West Bank demolitions.

They cited UN figures showing Israel‘s destruction of 63 houses and other structures in a single week in August, leaving 132 Palestinians homeless.

Israeli authorities did not respond to requests from AFP for comment on the OCHA report.

They have previously said such demolitions are carried out because the structures were built without the required construction permits.

Palestinians say such authorization is routinely denied, forcing unlicensed building, an argument echoed by the UN report.

“The planning and zoning regime applied by the Israeli authorities, including the ways in which public land is allocated, makes it virtually impossible for Palestinians to obtain building permits in most of Area C,” the report said.

OCHA said there were currently about 300,000 Palestinians living in Area C, and cited Israeli data as saying that about 356,000 Israeli settlers live there also.

Israeli settlements in the West Bank are considered illegal under international law and are a major stumbling block to peace efforts as they are built on land Palestinians consider to be part of a future state.

Al-Aqsa Under Attack By Israeli Forces


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Israeli forces encircle the Old Jerusalem on Sunday morning putting barriers at its entrances to storm Al-Aqsa Mosque. forces encircle the Old Jerusalem on Sunday morning putting barriers at its entrances to storm Al-Aqsa Mosque.

“Israeli forces ban all Palestinians less than 50s including guards, students, and Religious Endowments employees  to enter Al-Aqsa. Then about 7 am huge number of Israeli forces storm Al-Aqsa firing tear gas and sound bombs at the worshipers,” the media center for Aqsa and Jerusalem Affairs spokesperson Mahmoud Abu Attah told Donia Al-Watan.

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Smoke columns are raised at the scene as a blaze took a place at the southern corner of the compound.

Al-Aqsa Mosque witnesses large scale of clashes between worshipers and Israeli forces who attempt to uproot the Palestinians in Jerusalem.

Israeli Agriculture Minister Uri Arie early this month stormed Al-Aqsa Mosque under tight guarding with almost 40 settlers, a move broke out the Palestinian anger.

39 Palestinian Detained


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Israeli police and border forces took into custody, on Thursday night, 39 Palestinian workers near the Israeli resort city of Eilat, according to Israeli media.

that they were all taken to Israeli interrogation centres for questioning.

Palestinians from the occupied West Bank are banned from working in Eilat, though tens of thousands have been given permits to work in other Israeli cities, according to Days of Palestine.

All Palestinian work permits issued by the Israeli occupation include the phrase “allowed to enter Israeli excluding Eilat.”

Palestinians who seek to work in occupied Israeli cities need a special work permit usually granted by the Israeli Civil Administration, in coordination with the Israeli Ministry of Labour.

Al-Aqsa Under Attack


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JERUSALEM: Muslims clashed with Israeli police at Jerusalem’s flashpoint Al-Aqsa mosque compound Sunday hours before the start of the Jewish New Year, the latest violence over access to the site sacred to both faiths.

The clashes came with tensions running high after Israeli Defence Minister Moshe Yaalon last week outlawed two Muslim groups that confront Jewish visitors to the compound.

Palestinian president Mahmud Abbas condemned what he called an Israeli police “attack” at the site, while Israeli Public Security Minister Gilad Erdan said Muslim rioters had turned the complex into a “battlefield.”

Muslim witnesses said police entered the mosque, Islam’s third-holiest site, and caused damage. Police only said they closed the doors to the mosque to lock in rioters throwing stones, fireworks and other objects.

Authorities have used the same tactic in the past in a bid to restore calm and which has seen them briefly enter.

According to police, the rioters had barricaded themselves in the mosque overnight with the aim of disrupting visits by Jews to the site ahead of the start of New Year celebrations on Sunday evening.

Authorities said they decided to raid the compound at around 6:45 am (0345 GMT) to ensure visits to the site could go on as usual. Protesters then retreated inside the mosque and targeted police from there, according to the statement.

“Masked protesters who were inside the mosque threw stones and fireworks at police,” it said. “Suspect pipes that could be filled with homemade explosives were also found at the entry to the mosque.”

Protesters have previously used such pipes to direct the trajectory of fireworks.

A Muslim witness accused police of entering the mosque much further than would have been needed to close the doors and of causing damage, saying prayer mats were partially burned.

Police said calm later returned to the mosque complex, though clashes continued outside in the narrow alleyways of Jerusalem’s Old City, with authorities firing tear gas and stun grenades.

The Palestinian Red Crescent said 20 people required hospital treatment.

“The police went inside and we are prevented from entering,” Khadijeh Khweis, who said she is a member of one of the two Muslim groups banned last week, told AFP amid the protests in the Old City.

“They are chasing us with (stun) grenades and it’s been like that since the morning. We could only pray in front of the doors (leading to the complex).”

An AFP journalist saw a number of people being detained and heavy police deployments in the Old City. Several news photographers, including one from AFP, were kicked and hit by Israeli police seeking to push back crowds.

Abbas said sites such as Al-Aqsa constituted a “red line,” adding that “we will not allow attacks against our holy places.”

“The presidency strongly condemns the attack by the occupier’s military and police against the Al-Aqsa mosque and the aggression against the faithful who were there,” a statement from his office said.

Erdan, the Israeli minister, said “these serious incidents must lead us to reflect on the existing arrangements” at the compound, venerated by Jews as the Temple Mount.

“It is unthinkable that Muslim rioters transform this holy place into a battlefield,” he said. “We will ensure that the status quo is preserved.”

Non-Muslims are allowed to visit the compound, but Jews are forbidden from praying or displaying national symbols for fear of triggering tensions with Muslim worshippers.

Muslims fear Israel will seek to change rules governing the site, with far-right Jewish groups pushing for more access and even efforts by fringe organisations to erect a new temple.

The defence minister’s move last week banned the Murabitat and Murabitun groups, which his office said were “a main factor in creating the tension and violence” at the mosque compound.

Israel seized east Jerusalem, where Al-Aqsa is located, in the Six Day War of 1967 and later annexed it in a move never recognised by the international community.

The mosque compound is the site of frequent clashes.

In late July, Israeli police entered Al-Aqsa as they clashed with Muslims angered by Jews’ access to the compound on an annual day of Jewish mourning.

The July incident marked the first time Israeli security forces had entered the mosque since November, when clashes with worshippers also erupted.