Exploring The Enigma of Cyber Terrorism

What exactly is cyber terrorism, how significant a threat is it, has it ever occurred and how should we respond to the threat it poses – all questions which will be examined at a workshop being held at Swansea University.

On 13/14 September the first of two workshops for 2012/13 is taking place at the University, hosted by the Swansea University cyber terrorism project team. The event will include speakers from Australia, Ireland and the UK as well as academics at Swansea.

Stuart Macdonald, Senior Lecturer, School of Law and Deputy Director of the Centre for Criminal Justice & Criminology at Swansea University said: “Cyber terrorism is likely to be a familiar, yet imprecise concept to many people. Although the term has been around for over twenty years there isn’t a consensus on what it refers to, how significant a threat it might pose or how states and others should respond (if at all). There is even disagreement over whether cyber terrorism has ever actually occurred!

“In an attempt to begin to provide answers we established a multi-disciplinary research network on cyber terrorism in 2011, bringing together expertise from the physical sciences (engineering, computer science) and the social sciences (politics, international relations, law, criminology). Beyond its academic members, the project also hosts three postgraduate researchers and two paid interns.

“Recent research activities undertaken by our team include conducting a survey of the opinions of over 500 academics across the globe on cyber terrorism, and building a database of political, legal and other definitions of cyber terrorism to help explore key differences in approaches to this term across legal jurisdictions or political cultures.”

This week’s conference has been organised around the three themes of Understanding cyber terrorism; Assessing the threat of cyber terrorism and Responding to cyber terrorism. After the workshop, the papers will be collected together and published in a book edited by the Swansea University cyber terrorism project team.

For more information on the cyber terrorism project visit www.cyberterrorism-project.org or write to ctworkshop@swansea.ac.uk