A jihadist cyber-attack (Serabian., 2000.) refers to an unlawful intrusion or perils of attacks directed at servers, networks, and the data stored therein—with the purpose of browbeating or bullying a government or jeopardizing the activities of the state—in furtherance of sinister dogmatic, social or economic objectives. In view of the development in technology and the maturity of many nations (Anderson., 2014.), individuals and other private groups in software programming and use of the internet, terrorist cyber-attacks, particularly against government agencies, have become a major threat to the country. Mainly due to the magnitude and scale of damage that would be incurred. To begin with (Serabian., 2000.), the advancement of technology has availed sophisticated computer and internet-based tools that are easily accessible by states and non-state actors. Terrorist cyber-attacks (Serabian., 2000.) now require less investment compared to other forms of terrorisms hence broadening the range of potential terrorists from state-sponsored hackers, commercial competitors, military establishments, crooks to resentful insiders. This further points to variations in motivating factors for the various attackers (Anderson., 2014.) making the pre-emption and prior detection of terrorist cyber-attacks against governmental and state agencies a difficult task. Therefore, cyber terrorism against state institutions becomes a significant threat.
The amount of information held in the US information structure by various government institutions and their importance to the nation (Anderson., 2014.), make the bodies apparent targets. Military secrets, large magnitudes of intellectual chattels, business secrets (Serabian., 2000.) and the various infrastructural framework for state departments housed on networked systems some of which are internet based and are managed by different state institutions. This scenario (Anderson., 2014.) provides various opportunities for cyber terrorists to inflict losses on the government, compromise public safety and disrupt government services while still retaining features of surprise and obscurity. There cannot be a more significant threat to the nation than this.
Countering Terrorist cyber-attacks.
The US government has gone all out and dedicated a substantial amount of resources (Serabian., 2000.) towards investigating, detecting and foiling terrorist cyber-attacks against national institutions. The Comprehensive National Cybersecurity Initiative (CNCI) (Anderson., 2014.) is one evidence of the commitment by the government to protect its digital infrastructural system against security breaches. This initiative brings together various agencies such as the Federal Bureau of Investigations (FBI), the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA), the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) and the academia (Anderson., 2014.) to ensure all-time prepared against terrorist cyber-attacks. This (Anderson., 2014.) enables ease in collecting of intelligence information, training of cybersecurity experts and countering threats against digital infrastructure in the country.
There are partnerships between various national security organs (Serabian., 2000.) such as the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA), the Federal Bureau of Investigations (FBI) and the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) with other players in the private sector and foreign governments. These partnerships have (Anderson., 2014.) improved efficiency in collection of intelligence information, increased surveillance, and enhancement of cyber training. These partnerships especially with foreign governments (Anderson., 2014.)—global partners—have led to augmented operational management on suspicious and meddling activities over the cyberspace and computer-generated threat investigations. The exchange of knowledge, experience, and
resources among partners (Anderson., 2014.)has been and remains invaluable in the fight against cyber-attacks on the national institutions.
Anderson., R. (2014., September. 10.). The FBI. Retrieved from www.fbi.gov.: https://www.fbi.gov/news/testimony/cyber-security-terrorism-and beyond-addressing-evolving-threats-to-the-homeland
Serabian., J. (2000., February. 23.). The Central Intelligence Agency. Retrieved from cia.gov.: https://www.cia.gov/news-information/speeches-testimony/2000/cyberthreats_022300.html