Cyberterrorism: The sum of all fears?

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Cyberterrorism conjures up images of vicious terrorists unleashing catastrophic attacks against computer networks, wreaking havoc, and paralyzing nations. This is a frightening scenario, but how likely is it to occur? Could terrorists cripple critical military, financial, and service computer systems? This article charts the rise of cyberangst and examines the evidence cited by those who predict imminent catastrophe. Psychological, political, and economic forces have combined to promote the fear of cyberterrorism. From a psychological perspective, two of the greatest fears of modern time are combined in the term "cyberterrorism." The fear of random, violent victimization segues well with the distrust and outright fear of computer technology. Many of these fears, the report contends, are exaggerated: not a single case of cyberterrorism has yet been recorded, hackers are regularly mistaken for terrorists, and cyberdefenses are more robust than is commonly supposed. Even so, the potential threat is undeniable and seems likely to increase, making it all the more important to address the danger without inflating or manipulating it.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)129-149
Number of pages21
JournalStudies in Conflict and Terrorism
Issue number2
StatePublished - Mar 2005

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Safety, Risk, Reliability and Quality
  • Sociology and Political Science
  • Safety Research
  • Political Science and International Relations


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