Government officials have long feared the consequences and implications of acts of cyber terrorism.  A few years ago government security officials disclosed that there has been a sudden escalation of cyber terrorism and that cyber attackers have managed to gain access to control systems for critical infrastructure.  Many now believe it’s only a matter of time before terrorist groups launch a cyberattack on the United States.  One high ranking official is quoted as saying, “You need to prepare because it’s going to come here.” The intelligence community is actively watching as terrorists vigorously try to acquire the capability to match their intent.

Today, cyber terrorism presents a relatively new challenge for law enforcement and government policy makers. Terrorist groups including ISIS has also been successful at using cyber crime as a major funding source.  All of this has led researchers to believe “Tomorrow’s terrorist may be able to do more damage with a keyboard than with a bomb.”  Many have come to believe tomorrow is today.  Some have even come to believe that the cyber terrorists’ capabilities is very close to matching their desires.  Recently at a Senate Homeland Security Committee hearing it was acknowledged just how extensively cyber terrorism has spread. This problem-space is being expanded and complicated by the rapid spread of new technologies (most connected to the Internet) that are being implemented.  The implementation of these new technology devices dramatically expands an already target rich environment for terrorists seeking to launch disruptive and damaging cyber attacks.

Scholars and authorities firmly believe “It is no longer a matter of if cyber terror will emerge, but when.” Law enforcement at all levels are required to be integrated into a cyber terrorism risk mitigation program in order to protect the people they serve. Cyber terrorism is a real and growing threat for all of law enforcement to deal with. This program will provide information necessary for law enforcement professionals to become familiar with this rapidly growing threat and its potential impact on state and local law enforcement.  What is Your Understanding of Cyber Terrorism?