Term Paper: Cyber Warfare Continues to Grow

Pages: 10 (2636 words)  ·  Bibliography Sources: 10  ·  Level: Master's  ·  Topic: Terrorism  ·  Buy This Paper


[. . .] " (Rollins and Wilson, 2007, p.8) Computer systems in the United States were reported as attacked "at a rate 10 times higher than the next most highly targeted nation." (Rollins and Wilson, 2007, p.8)

It is additionally reported that there has been criticism of U.S. federal agencies about the effectiveness of their computer security programs and additionally, in a report by the Government Accountability Office (GAO) it was stated that due to the "…growing sophistication of malicious code on the Internet, the federal government may increasingly be limited in its ability to respond to cyber threats. It is cited in the report that there is great difficulty in "…ascertaining the intentions, origination, and groups behind cyberintrusions and attacks as a reason for DHS and the federal government's lack of progress." (Rollins and Wilson, 2007, p.9)

The work of Kelly Gable presents a scenario of how an internet attack could affect the United States government and its citizens in the following scenario:

"It is a cold December day, already dark, when Aidan Smith leaves his office to catch the train home. As he is leaving the building, the power suddenly cuts out, bringing the elevator, he is in to a screeching halt on the ground floor. He presses the emergency button, and the doors open, begrudgingly, to let him out. Shaken, he heads for the train station. As he steps out into the street, he realizes it is much darker than usual -- every building, every street light, every stoplight is dark. Only the headlights from passing cars light the sidewalk as he slowly makes his way to the train station. He finally arrives, but finds that the station is barely lit and is jammed with people waiting for trains that are not coming. Checking the news on his BlackBerry, he sees that Washington, D.C., New York, Chicago, and Los Angeles have simultaneously lost all electricity and that Al Qaeda replaced the White House website with a message proclaiming that they have hacked into and shut down these major power grids to cripple the U.S. economy, as the stock markets, airports, and banks cannot function without electricity. In short, Al Qaeda has caused a cyber-apocalypse." (2010, p.59)

While this is a fictitious scenario, this is precisely what could happen should such a cyberattack occur on the Internet and the results would be disastrous with the nation's electrical infrastructure falling into the hands of the terrorist group and being shut down with all financial institutions failing to function, airports shutting down with flights all across the country unsure of whether they could safely land at their destination, subways and training shutting down on the rails loaded with passengers, individuals all over the country stuck in elevators and the hospitals having to draw on their generator power with individuals in their homes on oxygen losing power and then their very lives. The horror is beyond description that would result from such an attack.

According to the work of Gable (2010) "Hackers scan U.S. government computer systems literally thousands of times a day, looking for a way in. In 2001, hackers successfully attacked an electric power grid in California and a seaport in Houston; more recently, hackers planted malicious software in the U.S. power grid, oil and gas distribution computer systems, telecommunications networks, and computer systems of the financial services industry." (p.59) Gable relates additionally "Other significant examples of cyberterrorism in the past few years include the theft of information regarding the new U.S. military stealth fighter jet, the hacking into the U.S. Air Force's air traffic control systems, and Titan Rain, which is the codename given by the U.S. government to a series of intelligence-gathering cyberattacks conducted by a group of Chinese hackers." (2010, p. 62)

III. Prevention

According to Gable the attacks stated are such that "showcase a range of potential tools in the cyberterrorist's arsenal. Some may be relatively simple and low-tech; this also means they are relatively easy to deploy. They also highlight the potential damage that could be caused by more sophisticated attacks. In fact, cybersecurity has become so important that traditionally secretive organizations charged with protecting national security are speaking out about the threat." (2010, p.62) It is reported in the work of Paganini (2012) that recent events have served to demonstrate the "strategic importance of a cyber strategy, and many experts sustain that the cyberwar era has just begun. Due to this, the Pentagon is recruiting private companies, universities and even computer-game companies to develop technologies to improve its cyber warfare capabilities." (p.1) Paganini states that the government is concerned with the potential of terrorist groups to launch cyber attacks against America due to events such as "the diffusion of the Flame malware and the genesis of the Stuxnet virus." (2012, p.1)

Paganini states that the present Washington administration is investing heavily in cyber defense as well as "…creating the conditions needed to launch effective attacks against foreign and hostile states. If confirmed, the 'Olympic Games' operation (Stuxnet) is the first sample of an offensive conducted in cyberspace and arranged without conventional weapons, using digital attacks instead of military operations." (2012, p.1) Also reported is a project that involves "private, non-military entities in what is considered a call to arms" in an initiative named Plan X. (Gable, 2012, p.1) Plan X is reported as a Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) project which is a sector of the Pentagon that is responsible for new technological development for military use. The director of DARPA, Kaigham J. Gabriel states: "Because the origins of cyberattack have been in the intelligence community, there's a tendency to believe that simply doing more of what they're doing will get us what we need." (Paganini, 2012, p.1) Gabriel also states "That's not the way we see it. There's a different speed, scale and range of capabilities that you need. No matter how much red you buy, it's not orange." (Paganini, 2012, p.1) Other efforts are reported to be in regards to "…the hardening of Operating Systems to resist cyber attacks in different scenarios, and officials seem to have a clear idea that the OSs of the future will be totally different from the ones we ordinarily use." (Paganini, 2012, p.1)

Summary and Conclusion

Al Qaeda has the capability to launch an all out cyberattack on the Internet and to shut down critical U.S. infrastructure and the government must be on the alert at all times for such an attack and must keep abreast of new developments in order to protect the Internet and the nation from such an attack.


Al Qaeda Video Calls for 'Electronic Jihad' on America (2012) The Threat Journal 23 May 2012. Retrieved from: http://threatjournal.com/archive/tj05242012.html

Paganini, Pierluigi (2012) Plan X: Developing U.S. Cyber Warfare Capabilities. Infosec Island. 4… [END OF PREVIEW]

Four Different Ordering Options:

Which Option Should I Choose?

1.  Buy the full, 10-page paper:  $28.88


2.  Buy + remove from all search engines
(Google, Yahoo, Bing) for 30 days:  $38.88


3.  Access all 175,000+ papers:  $41.97/mo

(Already a member?  Click to download the paper!)


4.  Let us write a NEW paper for you!

Ask Us to Write a New Paper
Most popular!

Cyber Crimes in Today's World Term Paper

Cyber Firewall Term Paper

Modern Warfare Research Paper

Chemical and Biological Warfare Term Paper

Authors Referenced Works Specific Recent Circumstances Discussed That Have Changed the Nature of Warfare Term Paper

View 999 other related papers  >>

Cite This Term Paper:

APA Format

Cyber Warfare Continues to Grow.  (2012, July 31).  Retrieved June 26, 2019, from https://www.essaytown.com/subjects/paper/cyber-warfare-continues-grow/3855530

MLA Format

"Cyber Warfare Continues to Grow."  31 July 2012.  Web.  26 June 2019. <https://www.essaytown.com/subjects/paper/cyber-warfare-continues-grow/3855530>.

Chicago Format

"Cyber Warfare Continues to Grow."  Essaytown.com.  July 31, 2012.  Accessed June 26, 2019.