Organizations have adopted the use of information technology in their processes to effectively and efficiently serve their clients. Due to this, terrorists have also adopted information technology to perform their malicious attacks. Unilever Company has a business strategy that relies upon state-of-the-art information technology. It must therefore understand the ways of preventing information warfare and cyber terrorism to protect its data and services from such attacks.
Information warfare is a planned attack against computer infrastructure i.e. hardware, programs, and data that result in destruction or modification of enemies’ systems (Janczewski, 2008). It can take many forms such as jamming of television and radio transmissions, hijacking of television and radio transmission, and disabling of networks. It involves targeting of “command control communications and intelligence (CI3)” in various regions (Greene, 2000). It takes place in many forms including collecting enemies’ useful information, providing assurance that information is valid, spreading false information, and denying collection of important information by enemy.
To properly understand cyber terrorism, it is important to understand what cyberspace is. Cyberspace is a term used to describe computers, the World Wide Web, and information technology. Cyber terrorism is the use of computers or information technology by terrorists to attack other computers, computer networks, and communication devices. Cyber terrorism occurs in the cyberspace. Terrorists also use the same media to electronically issue threats. It is normally performed in different ways including using computer viruses and worms, deforming web pages, hacking and stealing sensitive information from computer systems, electronically threatening enemies, and preventing enemies from accessing services i.e. denial of service.
Terrorists can launch attacks against data and services. Attacks against data are aimed at accessing or compromising data, while attacks against services are aimed at disrupting services so that legitimate users can not access or use them. A terrorist organization, for example sent around eight hundred emails per day into the email account of Sri Lanka embassy for two weeks (Jahangiri, 2011). This was with an aim of denying the embassy access to its email services.
Cyber terrorism has rapidly increased in recent years due to the anonymity of the internet and lack of international standard regulating cyber crime. A clear example of cyber terrorism happened when denial-of-service attacks were experienced from Russia on Estonia after Estonia displaced a statue which was very important to Russia in 2007. This seriously crippled many Estonian internet operations.
Prevention from Information Warfare and Cyber Terrorism
The most appropriate way for Unilever Company to prevent its computer systems from cyber terrorism and information warfare is by isolating their machines. This is done by ensuring that the machines have no any outside connection. This will prevent unauthorized access to the machines and therefore no attacks can be made against them.
The company can also use encryption to prevent cyber attacks. Encryption only protects encrypted data. This means that an attack designed to interfere with the whole computer system, such as computer viruses and worms, may not be prevented through encryption. This method should therefore be supplemented by other means of prevention.
The use of firewalls to control inbound and outbound traffic is another way to protect a network from cyber terrorism. Firewalls will screen all communication into and out of a network including email messages which may contain terrorists’ electronic bombs.
Other ways of protecting information systems from terrorist attacks is by use of antispyware, use of strong passwords and ensuring that they are regularly changed, auditing systems for easy detection and tracing intruders, avoiding opening emails with unknown senders, and changing network configuration in case of any suspicion.