The advent of new technologies, advanced means of communication and evermore sophisticated ways of moving money around have already influenced the way terrorists operate and will continue to do so. Terrorist organisers and fundraisers no longer have to be in the same country as their target or indeed as each other. Their communications to each other can be encrypted. And there is the potential, if the right targets are hit (such as strategic computer systems running banking or air traffic control operations), to affect thousands or even millions of people.
Jack Straw, UK Home Secretary,1998
Defining The Problem: Asymmetric Actors and Threats-The Place of Cyberwar
Since the end of the Cold War, much has been made regarding the changing security agenda and the emergence of new threats. In reality, most-if not all-of these threats to national and international security are evolutions of pre-existing threats, which have undergone modification brought about by numerous engines of change in today's world. The much vaunted globalisation, new liberalisation in formerly autocratic states, increasing privatisation of state functions, and, most importantly, the revolution in computing, telecommunications, and data transference capacities-commonly referred to as the Information Revolution-have all impacted strongly on the international security agenda and on the nature of the threat-actors in today's world.
This has given rise, in the threat-perceptions environment, to the introduction of the term 'asymmetric threat' to refer to those threats which have gained prevalence since 1990 and present non-traditional threat-postures to (generally) Western governments, defence and national security communities. Generally speaking, these threats do not present the danger of major conventional war to the developed world powers but do present equally (if not, in some cases, greater) dangers to the populations and governments of these states.
In essence, not much changed with the attacks on New York and Washington because the rise of increasingly lethal, unclaimed terrorist