'Arab states must gear up to face e-terrorism'

DUBAI - A group of police officers attending an advanced course to fight e-terrorism told the threat was a genuine one and the region should be prepared to combat it.

By (By a correspondent)

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Published: Tue 13 Apr 2004, 11:58 AM

Last updated: Thu 2 Apr 2015, 12:59 PM

A senior expert said e-terrorism, defined by the FBI as any deliberate attack with political motives against information, computer systems, computer programmes or data that result in violence against any non-military targets by groups or secret agents, was a serious problem.

He was speaking on the third day of the course in Dubai, which is being organised in cooperation with Saudi Arabia's Naif Arab University for Security Sciences.

Lieutenant General Dr Madawi Mukhtar is Dean of Computer Studies College at Rabat Al Watani University in the Sudanese capital, Khartoum.

Dr Mukhtar said there was confusion over the definition of terrorism around the world. But he said electronic terrorism (e-terrorism) is one type of what is termed as electronic attack.

He said that terrorism is always for political, social or ideological objectives and against carefully selected targets, while electronic attack may be with no specific aim and is usually mounted for personal reasons.

The expert made a link between computers and the IT revolution. He said terrorist gangs moved to use new technologies to serve their ends.

Dr Mukhtar said the biggest threat faced by the United States at the moment was by e-terrorists representing Al Qaeda terrorist network whose supporters threatened on many occasions to launch electronic attacks on American interests.

"The Americans are aware that Al Qaeda terrorists have the capability of doing so because of the advanced technologies they use in their operations, and this was mentioned by General John Gordon, US National Security adviser when he spoke on Al Qaeda on February 15, 2003," he said.

He said computer viruses used by terrorists were quite dangerous and terrorists group were able to penetrate government web sites and steal or sabotage information.

This happened with the most protected web sites like the Pentagon, the White House and the CIA.

Dr Mukhtar said efforts were being made around the world to fight e-terrorism. He particularly mentioned efforts in the US, Europe and Asia.

However, he said efforts in Africa and the Arab world were still at their beginnings. He said in the Arab world, there is a project for combating the crime, and that South Africa was leading such efforts in Africa.

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