NIPC Cyber Threat Assessment
NIPC Director Mike Vatis provides the following Threat Assessment in which he states: Terrorists are known to use information technology and the Internet to formulate plans, raise funds, spread propaganda, and to communicate securely. For example, convicted terrorist Ramzi Yousef, the mastermind of the World Trade Center bombing, stored detailed plans to destroy United States airliners on encrypted files on his laptop computer. Moreover, some groups have already used cyber attacks to inflict damage on their enemies' information systems. For example, a group calling itself the Internet Black Tigers conducted a successful “denial of service” attack on servers of Sri Lankan government embassies. Italian sympathizers of the Mexican Zapatista rebels attacked web pages of Mexican financial institutions. And a Canadian government report indicates that the Irish Republican Army has considered the use of information operations against British interests. We are also concerned that Aum Shinrikyo, which launched the deadly Sarin gas attack in the Tokyo subway system, could use its growing expertise in computer manufacturing and Internet technology to develop “cyber terrorism” weapons for use against Japanese and U.S. interests. Thus while we have yet to see a significant instance of “cyber terrorism” with widespread disruption of critical infrastructures, all of these facts portend the use of cyber attacks by terrorists to cause pain to targeted governments or civilian populations by disrupting critical systems.