Search This Blog

Showing posts with label Cyberterrorism. Show all posts

Pensacola City Hit by a Cyberattack After Deadly Shooting at Naval Air Station


The city of Pensacola, Florida was hit by a cyberattack that came in the wake of a deadly shooting at the naval air station wherein a Saudi flight student killed three sailors and wounded eight others.

As the trainee who pulled the shooting had ties to a foreign nation, the incident was labeled as a potential terrorist attack and has consequently incited international controversy. Officials suspect a link between both the incidents, however, no confirmatory lead has been gained onto the subject of the connection between the two events.

The city has been struggling with the cyberattack that began around 1:45 a.m on Saturday and took down the city's computer systems while keeping various city services at halt. Reportedly, the incident has incapacitated the city's online payment services, email services, phone lines, and 311 customer service. However, emergency support services such as fire and police remain unaffected during the incident, as per the officials.

Commenting on the matter, the city's spokeswoman, Kaycee Lagarde said, "I can confirm the city of Pensacola has experienced a cyberattack and we've disconnected much of our city's network until the issue can be resolved."

"As a precaution, we have reported the incident to the federal government," Lagarde added.

Officials have been investigating to determine the nature of the attack, whether it was a ransomware attack or not along with the details of any valuable information lost during the incident.

"The city of Pensacola is experiencing a cyber attack that began this weekend that is impacting our city network, including phones and email at City Hall and some of our other buildings," said Mayor Grover, C. Robinson.

"We're still trying to figure out what's happened, what's there and what there may be potential for."

"We don't know if they're connected or not,"

"We have discussed and we have talked with the FBI. It's my understanding that we sent stuff to them, and we're continuing to work. Our computer people worked through the weekend to see what was happening." He further told at his weekly press briefing.

This year witnessed an unusual rise in the number of cyberattacks on governments– local and state; US cities and towns have been particular targets for ransomware attacks in recent times. Reports state that most of these were co-ordinated chains of attacks aimed at breaching computer networks.

The latest statements on the issue suggest that the city is actively involved with the FBI in order to resolve the matter.

Terrorists Resorting to Bitcoin for Funding




The military wing of Hamas, known by the name of 'Qassam Brigades', has established a highly sophisticated system which allows people to contribute in raising money by making donations which are extremely hard for the law department to trace.

In the most recent version of the wing's website, visitors are assigned their individual Bitcoin addresses which can be used by them to send the digital currency and make donations via a method which is nearly untraceable.

The site set up by the wing featuring the logo of the brigade is notably accessible in seven different languages, it also features a video which explains the procedure of acquiring and sending the digital currency in an increasingly sophisticated manner.

“This is going to be a part of the terrorist financing mix, and it is something that people should pay attention to", said Yaya Fanusie, a former analyst with the Central Intelligence Agency.

Commenting on the matter, Sigal Mandelkar, the Treasury Department’s undersecretary for terrorism and financial intelligence, said in an interview, “We are dedicating a lot of resources very specifically to this space.”

“It is still relatively new to them, but I’m confident that we’re going to see more of it in the future.”  He added.

There is a certain allure of cryptocurrency to the con men as it allows to hold money and make transactions without the involvement of a common authority, such as PayPal which can potentially freeze funds and close down accounts. Everyone, across the globe, is open to creating a Bitcoin address and receiving digital tokens without having to provide an address or identity.

Referencing from the statements given by, Mr. Zarate, an adviser at Coinbase, “I think we are still in the experimentation phase for terrorist groups — they are trying to figure out how best to do this,”

“What’s a challenge is that you see them continuing to experiment.” He further added.





Cyber-attacks Apparently Can Cause Greater Destruction than Physical Terrorist Attacks


Top researchers from the Michigan State University recently conducted a study focusing on 'Terrorism and Political Violence' while publishing a journal on the same and found that Cyber terrorism has, with the evolution in time just as innovation, outpaced physical attacks.

Professor Thomas Holt, from the Michigan State University says that,”Little work has been done around the use of the internet as an attack space. These attacks are happening and they're been continuously overlooked. If we don't get a handle understanding them now, we won't fully understand the scope of the threats today and how to prevent larger mobilization efforts in the future."

Holt broke down the extension, development and the effect of ideological cyber terrorist incidents, so as to comprehend these attacks, from far-left groups, like the Animal Liberation Front, Earth Liberation Front and many similar ones.

Now while these groups would prefer fundamentally not to physically hurt people; rather, they are roused by animal and environmental activism and feel enthusiastic and passionate when it comes to attacking companies, organizations and government entities that go against their convictions.

 “While we can’t speculate as to why physical attacks have declined, we believe that the cyber component increased because these attacks generate an economic and emotional impact, draw attention to their cause from the public and may be less likely to lead to arrest”, he adds further.

As Holt's research additionally analysed the physical and cyber terror attacks thusly committed by these far-left groups in the US, UK and Canada somewhere between 2000 and 2015 he states that despite the fact that these groups may strike locally, their harm on the web can be 'widespread' and simultaneously a hazard for organizations and consumers alike.