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Cyberterrorism definition

Cyberterrorism refers to the use of computer technology to attack and terrorize people, companies, and countries. Different cyberattacks can constitute cyberterrorism. For example, hacking, denial-of-service (DDOS) attacks, spreading of malware, ransomware, phishing, and identity theft.

The dangers of cyberterrorism:

  • Disrupted essential services such as transportation and banking.
  • Damaged infrastructure such as power grids and dams.
  • Fear and panic of the public.
  • Financial and emotional harm to people.
  • Injury or death.
  • Data leaks.

Examples of cyberterrorism:

  • The Sony Pictures hack. In 2014, hackers targeted Sony Pictures to intimidate the company into shutting the release of the comedy The Interview, depicting the assassination of the North Korean leader Kim-Jong Un.
  • Attacks on the Ukrainian power grid in 2015 and 2022. Russian hacker gangs carried out several attacks against the Ukrainian power grid, leaving many Ukrainians without electricity and heating.
  • Ransomware. It is often used to intimidate people and companies into paying for their data. For example, in 2017 an attack against Maersk, a major shipping company, ended up costing the company over $300 million.
  • Olympic Destroyer attack. In February 2018, the opening ceremony of the Winter Olympics in Pyeongchang was disrupted by hackers. Officials believed the attack was politically motivated.

Further reading

Ultimate digital security