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Abstract

               This research paper strives to determine whether exposure to cyberterrorism within the public leads to affecting their psychological well-being, and/or their political attitudes. Cyberterrorism most defiantly is known for the chaos and concerns that it raises about cyber security, but often the individual level that it affects people is forgotten about or overlooked. This research essay will examine three different studies that relate to personal effects that it had on people. Cyberterrorism is not that different from normal physical terrorism and can leave similar traces of stress and insecurity within the minds of the public. In addition, cyberterrorism is also being countered by government policies using surveillance and spying which infringes the public’s privacy for the “greater good”.

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Cyberterrorism Michael L. Gross

 

               The main goal the terrorists have when they carry out acts of terrorism is to crush the civilians trust in the government and leave them feeling fearful, and vulnerable. How is Cyberterrorism different from conventional terrorism? Are the same psychological effects of cyberterrorism and conventional acts of terror similar? Do cyber related terrorism attacks affect the people’s confidence of the government in the same way as conventional attacks? In order to answer these questions we will be looking at three different studies that were done. These research studies were to test to see how the public experiences cyberterrorism in comparison to similar attacks (in relation of the magnitude) in a conventional terrorism attack.

               The research of the three studies was conducted from 2013-2016 and they point towards proof that cyberterrorism creates stress and anxiety, as well as increased feeling of vulnerability. By identifying those characteristics, we can help show that responses to cyberterrorism are extremely similar to responses received from conventional attacks. This correlation is important and will increasingly be deemed as useful because as the amount of cyberterrorism attacks increase the government will have to turn their attention to dealing with the emotional distress that citizens are going through due to the cyber-attacks.  

Conventional terror attacks use physical means to create their chaos. These large scale attacks are often followed by death, injury, and in some cases property destruction. Because these attacks can demoralize a countries population it can lead to increased pressure on the government officials to refrain from passing certain policies. In contrast to conventional attacks, cyberterrorism attacks use malicious technology. Although the two are very similar because “Cyberterrorism aims to further political, religious, or ideological goals by harming civilians psychologically.” (Michael L. Gross Journal of Cyber Security). The threat of Cyberterrorism can come in many different forms though.

There are two primary branches of Cyberterrorism, the first of them being Cyberwar, and the other being Cybercrime. The main goal behind ‘Cybercrime’ is mostly for individual monetary gain or done to bully or get revenge on the designated target.  Cyberwar differs from this though because its primary goal is to use a variety of malware and viruses to disable or harass different military related targets. The effects of these different attacks are often overlooked though because they do not cause any civilians physical or life threatening harm. Although seen in the three studies it is identified that they affect the public in other ways.

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