Cybercrime and Homeland Security
The cyber world has evolved to become an intangible place where massive amounts of personal and sensitive information are stored and easily accessed by anyone who has the right knowledge base. The very nature of the information transmitted in cyber space are increasingly in a jeopardized state because of how it can be used for malicious purposes. Cyber attacks, hacking, social engineering and so much more are countless avenues used to exploit data. Computer hacking has become a prevalent issue that grown to affect our homeland security due to its origins stemming from US adversaries.
In Alexandria, VA, a 20-year-old computer hacker named Ardit Ferizi, native to Kosovo was arrested in Malaysia in 2015 for providing the names of over 1,000 government and military workers to the Islamic State as potential targets (Boyd, 2016). He was sentenced in a federal court in Virginia for terrorism charges and computer hacking.
The US Justice Department claimed that Ferizi offered the PII to ISIL to carry out potential terror attacks against those military people. He admitted to stealing the information after hacking into a retail store database and stealing over 100,000 records, which allowed him to analyze and collect only military member information.
If this information was to be obtained by ISIL and actually carried out, it could have countless disastrous effects on homeland security. For instance, we wouldn’t know when the first attack would happen, where it would happen (anywhere in the US or abroad?), the means of which it would be carried out (more computer hacking? Targeted bomb vest attacks? Attacks on a group of people, on an airplane, on a train?), the possibilities are endless. We have not gotten a secure handle on how to identity and track every single possible terror affiliate. Similarly, there is no one fit profile to identify a terrorist they come in all shapes and colors, we don’t know what they look like because they can be women or children, on US soil already or abroad. Computer hacking is a severe issue that needs to addressed and strongly focused on in order to get a handle on controlling it, if possible. The conviction of computer hackers is important to the message of building intolerance to such sophisticated homeland security attacks. If we find a way to pinpoint hackers and show the conviction and seriousness of such crimes, we can begin to tackle this pressing issue.
Boyd, A. (Sept 23, 2016). Hacker charged with cyber terrorism gets 20 years. Federal Times. Retrieved from https://www.federaltimes.com/2016/09/23/hacker-charged-with-cyber-terrorism-gets-20-years/