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Cyber Threat!: How to Manage the Growing Risk of Cyber Attacks by MacDonnell Ulsch

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Chapter 3Cyber Al Qaeda Poses a Threat to Critical Infrastructure

It is very important to concentrate on hitting the U.S. economy through all means possible.

Osama bin Laden

Terrorists possess seven basic weapons. These include biological weapons, chemical weapons, nuclear explosive devices, radiological dispersion, small-arms attacks such as the one deployed in Kenya at Westgate Mall in September 2013, propaganda, and cyber attacks. They have demonstrated the capability to hijack airplanes, kidnap executives and members of the government, and bring terror to civilian populations. Cyber attacks are somewhat unique in that they are also a force multiplier, in addition to being a direct threat through the interruption of communications, command, and control.

Like other kinds of terrorist threats, a cyber attack can result in various levels of destruction, including death. Now or in the future, will terrorists have the capability to interfere with commercial and general aviation? Will they be able to disable large areas of the electrical grid? What would happen in the event that emergency and medical services were interrupted? While this may be unlikely to result in a worst-case scenario today, what about tomorrow?

Is the threat of the cyber terrorist overblown? Many believe that it is. Among them are influential people in government and industry. Not to believe in cyber terrorism is not popular. A lot of money, in government and industry, is being invested in defending against ...

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