Editor in Chief: Dr. Hussain Yasa Tuesday, October 21st, 2014

Britain faces the Threat of Cyber Terrorism and Economic Warfare

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Britain faces the Threat  of Cyber Terrorism  and Economic Warfare

The government proposal about the new strategy of interception of communication raised many question in Britain. Business communities are worrying about their business communication across the border as security agencies will have the right to check every e-mail, phone call and text message. Under this new law all Internet companies across the UK will be instructed to install hardware enabling Government Communication Headquarters (GCHQ)—the government electronic listening agency to check any phone call and text message.

Director of Big Brother Watch Company said this is an unprecedented step alike taken in Iran and China. Civil society termed it an attack on people's privacy. In my previous article, I had highlighted the concerns of UK based business communities.

The Government is planning to announce this law during the Queen's speech in May 2012, with Home Office confirming that such a step will be helpful in tackling organized crime and terrorism. The government is planning to announce the legislation in the Queen's Speech in May, with Home Office confirming it believes such steps are necessary to tackle criminality and terrorism. "It is vital that police and security services are able to obtain communications data in certain circumstances to investigate serious crime and terrorism and to protect the public," Home Office statement said.

During the last two decades, cyber terrorists have attacked thousands of websites including the websites of the UK government, causing millions of pounds in damage. Now this war has reached a breaking point. To combat the forces of financial jihad, Britain's Cyber Security Strategy was published in November 2011, which underlined the technicality of the threat faced by the country's institutions from economic jihadists and state-sponsored cyber forces. The basic objectives of the UK Cyber Security Strategy are to introduce the traditions of partnership and transparency both across business and within the international community in an effort to meet the growing cyber threat.

In a recent London Conference on Cyberspace, experts agreed on the point that the threat to information security in the UK and Europe has intensified as skilled and trained hackers from several states managed to wage economic jihad against the state and private institutions. In his speech, British Foreign Secretary William Hague issued a stern warning to countries involved in financial terrorism against other states and said this undeclared war is unacceptable. Prime Minister David Cameron warned that this warfare is against Britain's interests. "Please stop it," Mr. Cameron said.

Former British Minister for Counterterrorism, Baroness Neville Jones, said China and Russia were certainly involved in this sort of war. This undeclared war against the financial and military assets of the country resulted in significant economic losses. At present, a serious concern for the government is the cyber threat to national critical infrastructure and the theft of important data from important state institutions. The National Critical Infrastructure of the country faces a growing cyber threat due to the availability of malicious software tools. In 2010 and 2011, various private and government institutions experienced cyber attacks.

In 2011, at the time of the announcement of Cyber Security Strategy, Cabinet Office Minister, Francis Maud said that the government is planning how to tackle the threat of Economic War and promote economic growth. The basic objectives of the UK Cyber Security Strategy are to introduce the traditions of partnership and transparency both across business and with international community in an effort to meet the growing cyber threat.

As the state and private institutions in the country have already been experiencing cyber attacks against their websites since a decade, new groups of financial jihadists started training their hackers to wage war against the global financial markets. These groups are skilled, educated experts in cyber warfare, and have the capability to destroy and disrupt any financial network around the world. They utilize their computer skills to hack into the servers of state institutions and private companies, and use those servers, unbeknown to the provider or proxy servers.

Attack on the UK's institutions computer has been a challenging problem. In my article published in Daily Outlook Afghanistan in November 2008, what I warned about the threat of cyber terror attacks has become a reality. A month later, various state institutions including FCO experienced thousands cyber attacks. Internet is no longer just about e-mail and website. This machine empowers the growing list of revenue-generating e-business activities.

Economic Warriors and cyber terrorists' launch hundred of thousand attacks across the world every day and collect important military and financial data from various government and private institutions. E-Warriors use cyberspace to facilitate terror attacks, put websites to spread messages and recruit supporters around the world.

In near future, cyber terrorism and economic jihad will ultimately target all Britain state institutions as it has been a driving force behind the modernization of Russia, China and Indian economy and military industry. Terrorists may use computer not only to inflict damage in security infrastructure but to disrupt the whole communication system.

Former director GCHQ, Professor Sir David Omand understands that: "Maintaining community confidence in the action of the state is important. Good pre-emptive intelligence can reassure the community by removing the extremists and by disrupting any potential attack without having to fall back on the sort of blunt discriminatory measures that alienate moderate support within the community on which effective policing and counter terrorism depends."

Government and law enforcement agencies are increasingly concerned about the possible cyber attack from extremist groups, foreign hackers and intelligence networks with malicious intent, such as terrorism and act of disruption. Chief of GCHQ has recently warned about the cyber threat to the UK security and said the country's economic security is under threat. Mr. Loban warned that the country is witnessing the development of criminal market place, where cyber dollars are traded in exchange for citizen's credit cards details.

In present global marketplace, Internet is no longer just about e-mail and website. This machine empowers the growing list of revenue-generating e-business activities. In near future, cyber terrorism and economic jihad will ultimately target all Britain state institutions as it has been a driving force behind the modernization of Russia, China and Indian economy and military industry.

As Home Secretary Theresa May in her foreword to Prevent Strategy (June 2011) has quoted, security experts understand that future terror threats are coming mostly from terrorists born inside the country. Finally, all sections of British society agree upon the fact that maintaining security remains the primary duty of the government.

The writer is author of “Policing in Multicultural Britain”. He can be reached at: zai.musakhan222@gmail.com.

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