February 15, 2019

Trends that Shape the Future of Terrorism

Technology is transforming practically every aspect of our lives, making everything we do – from production and planning to transportation and communication – faster, cheaper, and more efficient. There are however various downsides to all these technological advances as well, because as we become more dependent on digital innovation, we’re also becoming more exposed to cybersecurity risks.

Today’s smart devices often lack basic security systems, and it doesn’t take a genius to hack these devices. In healthcare, for instance, experiments have shown that medical devices such as pacemakers can be hacked and manipulated, potentially putting patients in great danger. Hospital software systems are also vulnerable to cyber-attacks and a number of hospitals in Europe and the US have already fallen victim to such incidents. And as if all of this is not alarming enough, hackers have also demonstrated their ability to access critical infrastructure such as power grids and water systems, which could potentially jeopardise the lives of millions of people.

While technology has allowed us to communicate in increasingly efficient ways, we need to realise that cybercriminals and terrorist organisations benefit from this very same technology. Technological advances have also enabled terrorists to communicate freely and even crowdsource terrorist activity. This predominantly happens via a hidden part of the internet, the anonymous dark web, where their identity and activities can stay hidden.

Winning the battle against cybercrime and (online) terrorist activity is a challenge, but it’s not impossible. If tech developers pay more attention to cybersecurity, and governments across the globe collaborate and share experiences with academia and other organisations, we can stay ahead of cybercrime trends and prevent terrible incidents from happening in the future.