One of the questions I often get is my position on Cyber-Terrorism. I doubt that there will be “isolated” technology-related terrorism. What we see much more is the use of high-tech during classical terrorism attacks.
If you look at the recent terrorism events in Mumbai, there was some pretty interesting background on it:
- In order to prepare for the attacks, the terrorists seem to have used Google Maps (as any tourist would do) and GPS and Satellite Phones. This is definitely not surprising but shows the development in this area. In this article Update: Google Earth used by terrorists in India attacks on Infoworld there is an interesting quote: Google Earth has previously come in for criticism in India, including from the country's former President, A.P.J. Abdul Kalam. Kalam warned in a 2005 lecture that the easy availability online of detailed maps of countries from services such as Google Earth could be misused by terrorists. I do not think that it would have live much harder for terrorists if they would not have had Google Earth available but it shows the tension between economy (and technology) and law enforcement. In certain countries I have been in recently, the pure possession of a GPS device is illegal.
- The terrorists used everyday technology like Blackberries to stay ahead of Law Enforcement: Terrorists turn technology into weapon of war in Mumbai: The use of BlackBerrys by the terrorists to monitor international reaction to the atrocities, and to check on the police response via the internet, provided further evidence of the highly organized and sophisticated nature of the attacks.
- The organization in these teams seems to have been very good (and scaring therefore): Analysis: Mumbai attack differs from past terror strikes
So, this is a really disgusting example of how terrorists use and leverage today’s technology in order to commit their attacks. Therefore I beleive that we will unfortunately see more of this rather than “Internet-only” terrorism but this is just a guess