Exploitation of Information and Communication Technology by Terrorist Organisations

Col Shitanshu Mishra was Research Fellow in IDSA, and is presently working on ‘Communication Technology and Counter Terrorism’. He is Fellow of Institution of Telecommunication and Electronics Engineers (IETE) for more than 10 years, and a member of Computer Society of India (CSI) for well over 15 years. He is one of the founding members of ‘Association for Security of Information Systems’.
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  • July 2003

    Almost every new technology developed has brought great benefits attached with some risks. To each ‘technology’, there is an ‘antitechnology’, making it a double edged weapon. But whatever be the risks, the progress just carries on, and new methods are found to tackle the risks. The phenomenal growth of computer and communication technologies, or ICT, is no exception and the main risk it has brought along with its benefits is that it has provided terrorist organisations great advantage in their nefarious activities. The ICT has also greatly facilitated cultural invasions, resulting in real or imagined resentments and revulsions, which are one of the causes of international terrorism.

    ICT is exploited by the terrorist organisations in two ways—as a tool and as a target of attack. Used as a tool, communications are used in support of their operations providing for control of all their activities. Terrorists can also operate in cyber space to destroy or manipulate information for their own purpose. There are numerous known cases of exploitation of ICT by the terrorist organizations, both, globally as well as in India.

    This paper aims to study the past patterns of exploitation of ICT by domestic and international terrorists to predict the future eventualities so that they can adopt preventive measures in a pro-active manner. Subsequent studies under the same project will focus on the countermeasures in a more detailed manner.

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