Should we be concerned about cyber terrorism: Saudi Arabia’s policies toword cyber terrorism

The modern world has tremendously brought about the advancement in science and technology such that has never been seen before. Today, every human endeavor is aided by technology. The list is endless, from communication, transport, the healthcare sector just to mention but a few. This rise in technology has also made life easier and difficult in equal measures. Today, most of the things that used to take several months to process can actually be processed in a matter of minutes.
All through history, there have been numerous occasions and risks that undermine state security, bringing about the overwhelming death toll, infection, wounds, demolition of property, dislodging of expansive quantities of individuals and substantial monetary misfortunes. Political turmoil on global and neighborhood levels and late mechanical improvements increment the earnestness of dangers against national security. The idea of safety has developed slowly, especially as the crumbling of the Soviet Union, and end of the Cold War. The waiting effect of the approach of the bipolar world has obscured the picture of relations between states. In any case, it gives a chance to comprehend and distinguish new dangers and developing clashes, notwithstanding numerous unsolved issues. At the same time, globalization has changed universal standards and standards, keeping in mind the end goal to encourage the quick stream of capital and innovation, with a debilitating of national obstructions. Non-administrative on-screen characters now assume enter parts in common legislative issues, some as a risk, and others overcoming any issues amongst groups and countries. In these conditions, the part of the state started to endure, and the acknowledged current idea of energy was tested. Today, an outstanding issue of such concern around the world, exciting warmed open deliberation at both national and global levels, is terrorism. The danger of terrorism has never been as unmistakable as it is by all accounts right now. Terrorism is an old wonder that has existed since the development of human social orders, yet the risk of terrorism has expanded relentlessly in the course of recent years. With mechanical and specialized advance, the activities of fear based oppressors have turned out to be more hazardous and damaging, while the culprits of such acts are winding up plainly more tricky. Few sections of the world have gotten away terrorism since the late 1960s.
The challenges of Internet through cybercrime have also risen over the years to all time high. Cybercrime that involves crimes committed through the use of commuter and the Internet. As people interact, not all of them have the same intention. Most of the people have bad intentions thus use the platform to commit crimes. The crimes can range from privacy abuse as well as spreading propaganda in attempt to stir up civil unrest. These have been witnessed in the majority of Middle East countries. Similarly, cyber terrorism is also a common vice that is related with cybercrime. Cyber terrorism is the use of Internet for violent acts that results in harm or significant effects in human life. Often, this is used to achieve or gain political mileage in the side of the criminals. Hence, the purpose of this paper is to illustrate the cybercrimes and cyber terrorism. It will also explore the Saudi Arabia policies toward cybercrime and cyber terrorism in the attempt to explain these vices in a broader level. Lastly, it will conclude with the successful approach towards eliminating cybercrimes as outlined by the Saudi government.
As already explained, cyber war has dramatically risen over the past years to a record high. Many people did not imagine it would be this bad. Today, cyber war has become the most destructive war in economic terms second only to nuclear war. Most people have lost their intellectual property rights save to cybercrime. To explain further, this happens through computer hack (Gil Ariely). As most people today seek opportunities online, criminals are also on the loose targeting their accounts for hacks. It takes a few minutes to register an intellectual right through the Internet. The reason is that it provides the fastest way to engage with the sponsors as well as registering your properties. However, the criminals will target you once they have identified whatever you want to do. In so doing, they potentially rob you of your knowledge and deny you the opportunity to reap from your intellectual abilities. Similarly, as illustrated by Kevin Curran, Kevin Concannon & Sean Mckeever, this is the same way that most businesses are lost online thus limiting the success of large population that still remains unemployed. Cyber war essentially in this direction has been argued that to some level, it is aided by the states. Some states may sponsor cyber criminals to hack the computers of other people in order to gain these advantages over them. This has been a story since the problem of the cybercrime started to become a menace.
As a major aspect of its current National Transformation Program and Saudi Vision 2030, Saudi Arabia tries to quickly build up its non-oil monetary areas and privatize state-possessed endeavors. Integral to these objectives is an across the country advanced change activity to enhance the Kingdom’s innovation framework, drive development, and develop its high-gifted workforce.
The Kingdom’s expanding dependence on computerized advances requires powerful cybersecurity activities. In 2015, Saudi Arabia recorded more than 160,000 unfriendly computerized exercises a day, making it the most centered on country in the Middle East. Typically, a large portion of the objectives were the Kingdom’s oil and gas, keeping money, and broadcast communications areas. Saudi Arabia is the biggest oil exporter worldwide and has the second biggest saving money division in the Arab world. The nation is likewise a key individual from the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) and has a solid security association with the West, especially the United States.
Digital power is as needs be a valuable uneven apparatus for Saudi Arabian enemies to challenge the Kingdom’s development and security. The most unmistakable illustration is the Iranian-ascribed 2013 Shamoon infection against the Saudi oil monster Aramco. In the previous year, Iran has done digital secret activities battles against Saudi monetary, safeguard, and innovation organizations and in addition close down Saudi government sites. Non-state digital on-screen characters, for example, the Houthi-upheld Yemen Cyber Army and ISIS members have likewise hacked government-supported news sources, entered Saudi Foreign Ministry email correspondences, and gained Saudi government workers’ close to home information.
Cyber terrorism is a criminal offense that has also risen over the past years. Many organizations have been targeted thus losing sensitive information as well as their data. However, cybercrime is more damaging because it generally limits the ability of the society to maintain social order (Kolby Mchale, Cyber terrorism: understanding and preventing cyber terrorism in the digital age, 2011). Cyber terrorism is much worse because its consequences are far and wide. Additionally, it is more of political and once the political system has been interefr4ed with, the resulting results are very dire. Terrorism denotes cause of harms to people as well as the properties. Similar cases of terrorism include bomb explosions that result in huge losses to families and the nations. In the above effects, terrorism thus can become a tool in which the perpetrators use to coerce or influence the political goal of the country. This is basically what the cyber terrorism achieves.
Terrorist organizations have used cyber for different purposes to achieve political goals as well as influence the outcomes of political decisions. As earlier noted, computers nave become the central player in our lives. This central player once infiltrated, may result in huge losses too.  For instance, the waste management systems in more developed countries are now managed and monitored by the computers. When any interference such as a hack, the level of damage can be huge both to the human life and the environment around. For instance, in the year 2000, when the municipal waste management system of Australia was hacked, millions of waste litters were dumped all over the parks, rivers and even in business premise. This was a cyber-terrorism. Although the hacker acted on an individual basis, the desire to demoralize the segment of the society was basically achieved through his actions. This is what the cyber terrorists are concerned about.
Just like any other method that can be used for terrorism activities, to understand better how computer technology has assisted the cyber terrorist, this technology can be used in a number of different ways. First, it can be used as a weapon of mass destruction, secondly, the computer use can also perpetuate or result in weapons of mass disruption and lastly it could be used as weapon of mass distraction. The three results of computer activities will be explained in details.
Computer use as Means of Mass Destruction
As of today, the use of computers as weapons of mass destructions is only a conceptual one and not a possibility. The idea that computers can be used to cascade destructions that were witnessed in the US during the 9/11 attack are not possible since computers are not able to inflict physical pain per se. however, computers can be used in another different level that has secondary effects to be termed as weapon of mass destruction. For instance, a computer hack controlling a nuclear facility may result in an explosion. This has been seen in different countries all over. In 1986, a nuclear explosion in Chernobyl currently Ukraine was a disaster and thus caused mass destruction (Robert A. Price, Cyber terrorism: the threat to critical infrastructure, 2012). It is not clear whether it was a hack but what is clear is the level of the damage. Hence, when computers are used that way, they are termed as weapons of mass destruction.
Computers as Weapons of Mass Distractions
Mind plays important roles in our thoughts. Computer use by terrorist can be used to influence the way we view and perceive things. Ideally, the main aim is to undermine the morale of people and lead them to think in a different way. Generally, the terrorists create a distrust between the people and the government or with the organizations that they have trusted for long. This could be as well explained in different angles.  For instance, when a bomb explodes, or severe cases of bomb blast that terrify people happen, most people will research the criminal organizations that perpetrate the same. For instance, most people have been manipulated to think that they country is under attack through the work of cyber terrorists. Immediately after the attack in the World Trade center in New York, most Americans visited major television outlets such as CNN and BBC (Robert A. Price, Cyber terrorism: the threat to critical infrastructure, 2012). The case could have been worse if the cyber terrorists would have hacked these stations and falsified the news that the country is under attack.
In Timothy F. O’Hara, Cyber warfare: cyber terrorism (2004) cyber criminals have perfected the art of their crime to a great heights. Populace manipulation through hacked media outlets has helped them to spread propaganda. Additionally, they target areas with much viewership and interest in a manner that lead the populace to lose faith in their organizations. In many ways, distraction may be generated from the activities of these organization and from the things they do. This is more prominent in social networks run by terrorist organizations such as ISIS. More than once, this group has posted graphic images of beheading that have resulted in distractions in most countries. The Japanese have been beheaded thus distracting the citizens of this nation. Similarly, they may question the effectiveness of their government when the innocent lives are lost overseas. In addition, they can use their networks to post their recruitment camps and their weapons. These, they can hack any media outlet and drop these information with resultant chaos from the public.
Computers as Weapons of Mass Disruption
Computers have been used as a means of mass disruption by the cyber terrorists for long. The main aim of these terrorists is simply to inflict systemic damage to the greater populace. The same manipulation method is employed to discredit the institutions and organizations that for long they have believed to be better. Today, most countries invest more resources in different infrastructures for future prosperity. These infrastructures include good railway systems, airport infrastructures, communications, health and finance. In all these infrastructures, computer has aide in making it more efficient and effective. However, it is this computer sometimes that has been abused by other individuals through hacking to falsify information.
The increased urban lifestyle has also added more pressure and good grounds for these cyber terrorists. It is easy to disrupt people’s attention in urban settings because that is where technology is used often in places of public transport and eateries. For instance, ATMs shutdown through a virus generated by cyber terrorists would really put the lives of most urban dwellers at great risks. There are instances where this has happen and the commotion as well as panic was very high.  This is what the terrorist organization has wanted to achieve in people.
Cyber terrorism has been studied in detail in this short story. Today, the need for computer and computer appliances is growing very rapidly. Computers are today owned by teenagers who if not trained may be targets or hackers through manipulation. The world must embrace sobriety in the effort to fight cyber related criminal activities. Cyber terrorism is a big debate world over. However, it is only in words, the actions to stem it are not very clear and concise. Hence, fighting this crime must be taken to a new level where all the world powers are involved.
Enhancing Saudi cyber security abilities in general society and separate divisions are unmistakably important. Interest in new capacities is now happening. The Saudi IT market is developing at 3.8 percent every year, and the Kingdom’s cyber security market is anticipated to generate almost 60 percent to $3.48 billion by 2019. The United States is additionally supposedly furnishing GCC governments with cutting edge digital protection and insight advancements. The contribution of remote venture and ability can additionally address Saudi Arabia’s cybersecurity aptitudes lack.
However handling new capacities will be deficient without clear, national digital procedures, approaches, and laws. While Saudi Arabia delivered a 2013 National Information Security Strategy suggesting the improvement of digital arrangement and legal structures, those still can’t seem to be actualized. The Kingdom’s way to deal with cybersecurity is as of now specially appointed, with organizations and government offices exclusively handling new abilities and activities simply after they have been focused on.
Digital wrongdoing gives a case of the Kingdom’s insufficient way to deal with cybersecurity. Internet business’ development has been joined by a practically equal increment in digital criminal activity–particularly through false monetary exchanges in web based keeping money and retail. Some propelled operations use numerous digital lawbreakers to hack financial balances from fake exchanges, exchange and scatter cash to their particular records, and change names and certifications of different record proprietors.
Saudi Arabia’s administrative approach toward digital wrongdoing is grounded in Shari’a standards systematized in the country’s constitution. These standards comprehensively secure the privilege to special protection, which incorporates property, capital, and work. Supplementing the Shari’a are the 2001 Telecommunications Act and 2007 Anti-Cybercrime Law, which deny ruptures of protection in the media communications division and capture attempt of private information on a data organize individually. The last law additionally forces punishments on digital culprits of up to five years in jail and a $800,000 fine.
However, this assemblage of law has been insufficient. Particular government guidelines and controls monitoring web-based business security are deficient. The expression “individual information” is unclear in Saudi law, and the Administration requires commercial establishments and online sellers to plan in-house tenets and rules to maintain their clients’ information security. This different methodology neglects to stipulate the rights and benefits of consumers and merchants apparently. There is likewise no legitimate Saudi element to inform if an information security break happens, which leaves Saudi Arabian courts to prosecute data safety efforts in light of general Shari’a standards.
Arrangement and lawful structures went for combatting digital wrongdoing have likewise to a large degree been executed to handle interior dangers and maintain religious and good precepts. The Anti-Cybercrime Law cases to secure the real utilization of PCs and data arrange and also people in general intrigue, ethics, and natural qualities. Under this structure, Saudi specialists have indicated online activists and web-based social networking clients advancing infidelity, homosexuality, and skepticism.
Developed and developing countries have seen a rising trend in cyber related breaches alike. The United States, has for more than once complained about these breaches. It is good to see from the election of their new president who has promised to fight cyber terrorisms through all angles. For instance, he has promised to destroy the breeding grounds for cyber terrorists. This can be achieved through monitoring networks across the world. Different countries have been blamed for breaching and in some instances stealing from other countries through state sponsored cyber terrorism. The only possible way is to include all the countries and formulate international laws that address cyber related activities. The UN, must be involved as it is the only arbitrator that is likely to bring nations to a common ground. However, as of now it would be interesting to see how the world will continue to act and react from the effects of cyber terrorisms that have continued to be new every day.
Computer use in the Arab countries has increased over the past decades. In Saudi Arabia alone, over the last decade, it is estimated that over 15 million had access to the internet in the last decade (Paul Grishman, Cyber terrorism: the use of internet for terrorist purpose, 2010). Against a population of almost 40 million, this is almost a half of its population has internet accessibility. The Communication and Information Technology Commission in Saudi Arabia estimates that there is more user per mobile subscription in that country hence creating a perfect ground for cyber terrorists. Cyber terrorism Saudi Arabia has increased over the past years. Saudi Arabia has been the target in Middle East due to a number of reasons. These attacks on either its people or facilities have caused immense damage economically. Saudi Arabia for long has been known as an oil producing country. Oil has enough cash that can be used for many development issues. However, cyber terrorists have targeted various oil infrastructures of these companies in many instances. In 2012, the state owned Oil Company, Saudi Aramco was hit by devastating computer virus (Robert A. Price, Cyber terrorism: the threat to critical infrastructure, 2012). It is estimated that this virus affected over 30,000 company computers. This resulted in great loss not only to the country but also to the oil industry itself. Markedly, Saudi Arabia pitches its oil to numerous nations over the globe, and any unsettling influences, for example, that are felt far and wide.
Both Saudi Arabia are both Islamic countries. However, Saudi Arabia is a Sunni Islam whereas Iran is a shite Islam country. Historically, the differences have been so strife to a point of war. For many years, these two Islamic countries have traded accusations of espionage against each other (Matthew Warren, 1998). In fact, both the nations have conducted cyber related terrorism act in order to spy for their end goals. Different cyber related crimes such as the attack on the Saudi Aramco was also blamed on Iran. Ever since, the Saudi government has realized the effect of cyber terrorism and has started to deal with it.
Cyber propaganda has also affected the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia through proliferation of cyber terrorist network sites. The United Cyber Caliphate group that is associated with IS has spread numerous propaganda over the internet including hacking systems of different countries.       Their aim is to divert the attention of the people and give them false information in relation to the current world affairs. In 2016, Yaqeen Media Foundation, an IS media propaganda machine published a report detailing their inroads and hacking activities (Paul Grishman, Cyber terrorism: the use of internet for terrorist Purpose, 2010). The report indicates that France, US, Saudi Arabia were targeted with the hacks. The target to Saudi Arabia was 20% through the breaches of different government websites as well as infiltrating personal data of Saudi Arabia citizens.
Islamic fundamentalist groups such as Al-Qaida and ISIS have used the internet to infiltrate Saudi Arabia citizens. They have polarize the internet a times hacking government systems to post radicalization messages. Almost all the countries in the Middle East are at threat through Islamic radicalization. With the war in neighboring countries such as Iraq and Syria, ISIS has targeted Saudi Arabia citizens by radicalization and recruiting them to join the group and fight. In almost all the attacks that have happened in Europeans countries, the number of Saudi Arabia citizens being mentioned is still growing. This has helped to show that the problem of internet infiltration by criminal groups in Saudi Arabia is still increasing.
Against this backdrop, the government of Saudi Arabia introduced Anti Cyber Crime Law in 2007 (Shuyuan Mary Ho, Toward a Deeper Understanding of Personnel Anomaly Detection, Cyber Warfare, and Cyber Terrorism). This law is details various cyber related criminal activities with their consequences. The main aim of the law was to identify these crimes and thus recommend lawful punishments to the perpetrators. It aims to accomplish several missing links that had left the country vulnerable to internet abuse for long. The laws were to enhance information security, protection of public rights and their moral values and to protect the national economy. The government had identified areas upon which public and national interests could be protected. For example, unlawful use of computer for purposes of accessing intended information from another person is punished under the new law. Cybercrime in breaches of the above areas of interest is likely to put a person in jail for more than one year. Additionally, a fine not exceeding five hundred riyals is also part of the punishment for the offender.
In addition to providing laws, the government has formulated policies that enhance training of personnel to protect people against cyber-attack. The government through its ministry trains special group to help prevent cases of cyber related attacks to its people. The policy is dubbed Critical Success for Cyber Resilience. Majority of the countries have also adopted the same. This approach looks for five factors that when followed correctly, may lessen the successes rate of cyber criminals (Manish Gupta & H. R. Rao, 2007). For instance, it addresses the integrated approach to cyber and risk. As people become aware of cyber related risks, they avoid instances that the criminals may use to infringe on their rights.
The new Arab cybercrime agreement (no. 126 of 2012) was signed by Saudi Arabia. This law tends to improve on the existence of other laws that are not addressed by the Quran. Specifically, the agreement addresses loopholes within prosecution of fraud cases through computers. These include discouragement of virus distributions, hacking, stealing credit cards, and phishing. The law also promotes the participation of all Arab countries in combating cyber related crimes. Additionally, the law encourages the enforcement of copyright laws to protect organizations within that boundary. Failure of any citizen to protect what is in the law attracts penal punishments that are stipulated within the law.
Sahib (2015) discusses that, through integrated risk transformation, the government has identified various cyber terrorism risks. These risks are based on either individual or national levels. At the individual levels, several measures have been put to protect the people. Different awareness creation by the government in exposing propaganda network sites of criminal organizations has helped the government to react fast enough ahead of cyber terrorists. At the national levels, the government is concerned with the protection of their national interests as well as the economy. In this regard, there are various participations with different regional as well as international governments to help create strong protection against any infiltration from cyber criminals. Through these approaches also, the government conduct well-coordinated mock cyber hacks to regularly test their systems against such external attacks.
The Saudi government has also targeted various websites in relation to drugs and pornographic materials. It understands that attack and manipulation can come from any direction. As earlier stated, forms of cyber terrorism do not inflict physical pain that can be felt instantly however, they tend to create mental disturbances from the things you see or hear. In the same, the government of Saudi Arabia has realized the extent of mental abuse through pornographic movies (“Policing Cyber Hate, Cyber Threats and Cyber Terrorism,” 2012). Just as with other penalties for privacy breaches, pornography is prohibited in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. Tough laws that limit the abuse of young people who are at risk of being radicalized essentially help to maintain a good ground and thus protect the country from vices such as cyber-attack and manipulations.
To be brief, Saudi Arabia sits at the top of all Gulf States in cybercrimes such as website hacks. However, the Internet laws in Saudi Arabia have been in existence for almost ten years now. The recent report indicates that this imbalance has been caused by lack of awareness by the young generation to what harm poor use of internet can lead to. The laws therefore without actions and tangible results can still cause problems in the Kingdom to come. It is however pleasing to understand that the country has finally realized the full scale of cyber terrorism effects since the last attack on their state owned oil company. The future of cybercrimes is rapidly evolving and expanding. It is important to continuously take precise steps in combating and bringing to justice the offenders to act as examples for others. While the Saudi government screens the country’s web content through the Communications and Information Technology Commission (CITC), it does little to hinder, identify, and relieve digital dangers outside the extent of activism or corruption. The administration regularly minimizes a noteworthy rupture’s belongings, making a feeling that hostile digital action will be treated with the exemption. Culminate cyber security is close difficult to accomplish, yet transparent national digital procedures and laws can adequately raise the expenses to digital foes.
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