The War on Terrorism: Cyberterrorists Beware. (Up Front: News, Trends & Analysis)

By Groves, Shanna | Information Management, January-February 2002 | Go to article overview

The War on Terrorism: Cyberterrorists Beware. (Up Front: News, Trends & Analysis)


Groves, Shanna, Information Management


Hackers "know computers inside and out, how to make them dance the dance and sing the song," a computer hacker-endorsing Web site claims. With more companies on alert about computer system break-ins and the need to protect privileged information, the hacker's "song and dance" is becoming increasingly vulnerable to government intervention.

A Bush administration anti-terrorism proposal, which has elements that were included in the Uniting and Strengthening America by Promoting Appropriate Tools Required to Intercept and Obstruct Terrorism (USA PATRIOT) Act of 2001, would affect computer hackers -- commonly referred to as "cyberterrorists" -- by prescribing punishment to anyone who "knowingly causes the transmission of a program, information, code, or command and, as a result of such conduct, intentionally causes damage without authorization" to an Internet-connected computer. In a letter to the National Security and Telecommunications Advisory Committee, President George W. Bush vowed to protect information about corporations' and other organizations' vulnerabilities from "information warfare and malicious hacking."

Recent hearings by the U.S. House Subcommittee on Government Efficiency, Financial Management and Intergovernmental Relations suggest that computer hackers have been getting the upper hand on the government, requiring federal agencies to tighten their current level of security. Failure to do so could have a negative impact on other companies, as was evidenced by last summer's Code Red worm virus. …

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