The ever-growing dependence of man on cyber networks has unbridled a modish genre of cyber threat called cyber terrorism. The pervasive cyberspace has provided an advantageous operational frontier to the terrorists for executing cyber attacks on critical infrastructures, spreading hate propaganda over the Internet and using it for recruitment, planning and effecting terror attacks. Furthermore, it has proliferated terror configurations and metamorphosed terror operations. There is the most urgent need to secure our cyberspace from such formidable cyber threats.
“The Internet is a prime example of how terrorists can behave in a truly transnational way; in response, States need to think and function in an equally transnational manner.”
WHAT IS CYBER TERRORISM?
Cyber terrorism is unlawful attacks and threat of attacks against computers, networks, and information stored therein that is carried out to intimidate or coerce a government or its people in furtherance of some political or social objectives. It is the ‘premeditated, politically motivated attacks by sub-national groups or clandestine agents against information, computer systems, computer programs and data that results in violence against non-combatant targets.’ It aims at seriously affecting information systems of private companies and government ministries and agencies by gaining illegal access to their computer networks and destroying data
Why Do They Use Cyber Attacks?
Cyber terrorist prefer using the cyber attack methods because of many advantages for it.
1. It is Cheaper than traditional methods.
2. The action is very difficult to be tracked.
3. They can hide their personalities and location.
4. There are no physical barriers or checkpoints to cross.
5. They can do it remotely from anywhere in the world.
6. They can use this method to attack a big number of targets.
7. They can affect a large number of people.
PUNISHMENT FOR CYBER TERRORISM
Different countries have different laws to tackle Cyber terrorism, and since there is a lack of a universal definition, these vary significantly from state to region. In India, the Information Technology Act, 2000 (after this the IT Act) defines and prescribes the punishment for Cyber terrorism in Section 66F
(1) Whoever, –
(A) With intent to threaten the unity, integrity, security or sovereignty of India or to strike terror in the people or any section of the people by
(i) Denying or cause the denial of access to any person authorized to access computer resource; or
(ii) Attempting to penetrate or access a computer resource without authorization or exceeding authorized access; or
(iii) Introducing or causing to introduce any computer contaminant.
And by means of such conduct, causes or is likely to cause death or injuries to persons or damage to or destruction of property or disrupts or knowing that it is likely to cause damage or disruption of supplies or services essential to the life of the community or adversely affect the critical information infrastructure specified under Section 70; or
(B) knowingly or intentionally penetrates or accesses a computer resource without authorization or exceeding authorized access, and by means of such conduct obtains access to information, data or computer database that is restricted for reasons of the security of the State or foreign relations; or any restricted information, data or computer database, with reasons to believe that such information, data or computer database so obtained may be used to cause or likely to cause injury to the interests of the sovereignty and integrity of India, the security of the State, friendly relations with foreign States, public order, decency or morality, or in relation to contempt of court, defamation or incitement to an offence, or to the advantage of any foreign nation, group of individuals or otherwise, commits the offence of cyber terrorism.
(2) Whoever commits or conspires to commit cyber terrorism shall be punishable with Terrorist’s activities being done by foreign it would be obligatory to read insertion 66F along with Section 75 of this Act. Imprisonment that may extend to imprisonment for life.
Ingredients of Cyber Terrorism can be classified in three ways:
1.) Intention: an intention to strike terror in the person’s mind or menace to the unity, integrity, security or sovereignty of India, through,
a.) Denial of access to any person from using any virtual resource, which he is authorized for
b.) Unauthorized access of computer resource; or
c.) Introducing or causing to introduce any computer contaminant.
2.) Causing or likely to cause
(I) death or injury to person or
(ii) damage or destruction of property or
(iii) damage or disruption of supplies.
3.) Knowingly or intentionally penetrating or accessing a computer resource without authorization or exceeding authorized access
4.) Thereby obtaining access to restricted information, data or computer database.
Modes in which Cyber Terrorism can be done:
· Data Theft
· Network Damage
· Privacy Breach
· Unauthorized access
· Distributed Denial Service of Attack
Cyber Terrorism with other laws
Chapter VI of Indian Penal Code also discussed about offenses against the state. This chapter of IPC talks about any kind of offense committed against the country. It also covers the areas of threat from cyber space as per the Supreme Court of India.
HOW BIG IS THE THREAT OF CYBER TERRORISM?
With the development and constant changes in Cyberspace, methods through which information technology systems can be compromised are also increasing. In India, especially in the last few years, a steady shift, from passport offices and income tax collection to stock markets and banks, a large number of institutions that form the backbone of the Indian economy and country, in general, are heavily dependent on the Internet daily.
It would take just a few hours or less for a Cyber-terrorist to take down an essential institution by infiltrating the servers, if the Cyber security employed, is not up to the mark. With massive databases like the Aadhar database or the driving license information databases in the states, sensitive information and personal details of over 1 billion Indians are stored on digital networks. If any of these databases are compromised, it could lead to damage that is long lasting and potentially irreversible. The laws are also outdated and have not evolved sufficiently to tackle the constantly changing threats to Cyber security.
To protect us against such attacks and counter the Cyber terrorism threat to national security, the Government of India will have to ensure that Cyber security systems are up to date and fully capable of fending them off. With each passing day, more and more anti-state outfits are moving their operations to the Internet, and it is, therefore, crucial for individuals as well as governments to remain vigilant and improve efforts to make databases more secure and trustworthy.
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