With the enormous growth in the size and use of the network, positive aspects of the internet were challenged by the use of the internet by extremist organizations of various kinds. Groups with very different political goals but united in their readiness to employ terrorist tactics started using the network to distribute their propaganda, to communicate with their supporters, to foster public awareness of and sympathy for their causes, and even to execute operations [Weimann, 2004].
The cyber attacks arising from the events of September 11 reflect a growing use of the Internet as a digital battleground [Jenning, 2001]. Since 9/11, public awareness of, and government concern with, Internet security issues has mushroomed. Several news reports and studies have suggested that Al-Qaeda preparations for the terrorist attacks were facilitated by the use of new information and communication technologies, including those associated with the Internet [Deibert, 2006].
FBI Director Robert Muller while addressing the Select Committee on Intelligence of the United States Senate mentioned Cyber-terrorism as a clearly emerging threat. There is cause for uneasiness as the present generation of terrorist groups are found to be increasingly computer savvy, and some probably are acquiring the ability to use cyber attacks to inflict isolated and brief disruptions of U.S. infrastructure. Muller expressed apprehension that as terrorists become more computer savvy, their attack options will only increase [Muller, 2003].
In this context it is particularly important to make an in depth study on the efficacy and use of internet to terrorists groups and to evaluate their way of utilising the cyber world to spread their network and activities, such as for generating support, and networking among their affiliates.
Objectives of the study
1. The study will focus on terrorist groups' 'use' of the Internet, in particular the content of the groups' Web sites, and Terrorist groups' use of the Internet for the purpose of inter-group communication and coordination.
2. The possible 'misuse' of the internet by terrorist groups
3. To analyse political agenda or religious fanaticism associated with cyber terrorism
4. To understand the nature and spread of online presence of Al-Qaeda and their gradual and systematic entry into cyberspace.