CyberSpacers.org Editorial

9-11 Terrorists Will Pay

CYBERSPACE, 2002 (D.O.T.) On 09/11/01 we witnessed the horrible terrorist attacks on the World Trade Center, the Pentagon, and indeed our democracy and free way of life. But why didn't Osama bin Laden and his nests of terrorists go after the Internet? After all, our vast and free communication network is vulnerable, and a symbol of freedom of speech and thought.

Cyber-warfare and cyber- terrorism is a real threat because the basic freedoms of expression found on the Internet are a threat to those who would crush democracy. Why then, did these 911 terrorists not attack the Internet - a symbol of world wide freedom.

The answer is at least in part because the intention of terrorists is to create terror. Attacking the Internet would not create terror. Certainly, it could do one heck of a lot of damage to the American and free world infrastructure by sending attacks through the phone lines. It could cause power blackouts, banking failures and many other electronic malicious acts.

However - a computer programmer shutting off the power to a city is nowhere near as horrifying as watching a 110 story building crumbling to dust, and snuffing out the life of thousands of innocent people.

Although a terrorist attack on the Internet is possible - just what would a cyber-terrorist accomplish by such a cowardly act?

  • Shut down the stock market?
    (The 911 terrorists closed it down for several days.)

  • Get their attacks shown on the evening news?
    (A cyber-attack would get nowhere near the coverage as the 911 terrorists got, and what they will continue to get:)

  • Crash a jet?
    (The 911 terrorists did far more damage than that.)

  • Ground a few planes?
    (The 911 terrorists grounded every plane in the United States, and jammed air travel all around the world.)

  • Shut down the power grid for a city?
    (Sure. But that's nothing compared to the real terrorist attack we witnessed on 911.)

Let's face it. The 911 terrorists are crafty, but they are not geniuses. They are however cold-blooded murderers craving attention and power. They do not have the intimate knowledge and understanding of the shear power or love for freedom that we who utilize the Internet possess.

The 911 terrorists are not brave beings. In fact, they are quite the opposite. Watch them cower when we assert our technological, and military superiority. It does not take brainpower to ruthlessly kill thousands of innocent human beings. An earthquake, volcano, hurricane, meteor, or even a mudslide can do that without using a single brain cell.

The first attack on the World Trade Center towers in 1993 implied just how stupid terrorists really are. The 911 attack proved it. We must respond to these deliberate deadly attacks of terrorism for what they are - acts of war against the United States, its allies and free world. When the dust finally clears, and it will take an element of time - these terrorists and those who harbor them will be revealed for what they are. These people make bricks look smart. Remember, a brick can do major damage if it hits someone in the head. But that does not make it intelligent.

So why are you still able to read this over the Worldwide Web? A terrorist would have to comprehend the Internet, the cyber world and its relationship to freedom before being able to pull off an attack. On top of that, they would have to understand how the free world depends upon this infrastructure.

We take it for granted because thirteen year olds in the United States and Europe create viruses and worms in their sleep. We see dozens of such viruses every single day. Are we just to assume that all other people understand these things as well. Well, they don't.

Living in hiding and the wilderness of Afghanistan for most of your life does not exactly keep you tuned in to what the technologically free world is all about. Certainly it is easier for these uncivilized 911 terrorists - to make a gasoline bomb than it is to create one line of intelligent writing.

Any thug or common criminal can make a gasoline bomb out of an airplane, and it certainly does not take an Einstein to crash one into a building. Fact is, you have to wonder if these 911 terrorists had any active brain cells at all. They acted like robots in human skin. It’s a known fact that the training of Japanese Kamikaze suicide bombers of World War II included them being hopped up on drugs. In this case, religious fanaticism is the drug which ‘blesses’ the slaughter of human beings.

To attack the Internet, you have to be able understand that the Internet was designed and built to survive a major, country-wide nuclear attack. That's a lot more smarts than any barbaric terrorist is likely to possess.

Is there a danger of cyber-terrorism? Oh, yes. Cyberspace is a critical piece of the world infrastructure and it must be protected, just like any other communication or transportation line.

There is actually more of a danger of cyber-warfare than of cyber- terrorism. Countries do understand the value of the Internet, especially highly civilized nations. The military also understands the value of communications (which is really what Cyberspace is all about).

One of the first and most important tasks of any Web war-master is to disrupt communications. But terrorists do not want to disrupt communications. In fact, that's the last thing they would want to do since they survive and reap 'glory' only as long as communications remain intact.

Imagine what would happen to a terrorist whose acts off went without attracting any attention. If no terror resulted, then they have failed. Thus, terrorists' targets are specifically chosen to be the most visible, and thus the most communicated. You won't find many terrorists attacking isolated targets out in Siberia or at the South Pole - because no one would see it.

That, in a nutshell, is why terrorism never has and never will win a war. They are not playing to win - they are playing to terrify. They do cause damage and they do cause, well, terror - but they do not win.

Attacking via the Internet might win a war, but it will not cause terror. Thus, it is not a highly tempting target for terrorists. A terrorist attack against it is not impossible, but it is highly unlikely because they would lose a huge part of the very audience they are trying to terrify.

However, the main reason why the Internet still stands is because of its very nature. That is, WHAT CAN BE USED FOR GOOD CAN ALSO BE USED FOR EVIL. For all the good there is in cyberspace, there are those who use it to commit heinous crimes. No present day terrorist can afford to be without it. Accomplishing their well planned evil would be impossible without the instant exchange of communication and information the Internet provides.

We face a serious and well prepared enemy of disease minded maniacs. We will eradicate them like the cancer upon civilization that they are. They provoked it, they asked for it – and they will get what they deserve.

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