Cyberterrorism: An Overview

16 Pages Posted: 21 Apr 2014

See all articles by Vipin Singhal

Vipin Singhal

Indian Council for Social Science Research (ICSSR)

Date Written: April 20, 2014


Although there is a great abundance of different definitions of the idea of "terrorism" in numerous documents, until now a universal definition has not been agreed upon. Taking into account the supplementary definitions devised by historians, political scientists and sociologists, the state of affairs is well put forward by one author, "above the gates of hell is the warning that all that enter should abandon hope. Less dire but the same effect is the warning given to those who try to define terrorism." The similar, if not more complex, problem of defining a term arises in the diligent attempts to determine the meaning of cyber-terrorism since the addition of the prefix "cyber" has only extended the list of possible definitions and interpretations. The lack of a common understanding of the characteristics of cyberterrorism is inhibiting effective dialogue on the subject and has ultimately resulted in overall terminological confusion. The next paragraphs suggest several reasons for this confusion. For the purposes of this article, "cyberterrorism" is used in the context of the "theoretical" or "target-oriented" approach referring to all politically or socially motivated attacks against computers, networks and information, whether concluded through other computers or physically, while causing injuries or bloodshed, serious damage or fear comparable to a traditional act of terrorism.

Keywords: terrorism, cyberterrorism

Suggested Citation

Singhal, Vipin, Cyberterrorism: An Overview (April 20, 2014). Available at SSRN: or

Vipin Singhal (Contact Author)

Indian Council for Social Science Research (ICSSR) ( email )

New Delhi

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