Violence and Terrorism

September 11 has raised the cost of doing business domestically and internationally. The dominance of the United States in world affairs exposes US businesses to a multitude of uncertainties, from the growing danger of political violence to investment risks in merging markets. In the past 30 years, 80 percent of terrorist attacks against the United States have been aimed at American business. Since September 11, McDonald’s, Kentucky Fried chicken and Pizza Hut combined have been bombed in more than 10 countries, including Turkey, Saudi Arabia, Russia, Lebanon, and China; most attacks have been linked with militant Islamic groups. There are reasons to expect that businesses will become increasingly attractive to terrorists, both because they are less well defended than government targets and because of what they symbolize. Based on the threats of terrorism and other violence the US State Department posts travel warnings on its Web site (See Exhibit below for recent listing) However many international travelers appear to regularly ignore those warnings.


US State Department Travel Warnings (In order of date of posting, most recent first)

Uzbekistan, Kenya, Iran, Iraq, Congo-Kinshasa, Nepal, Israel, the West Bank, and Gaza, Afghanistan, Haiti, Nigeria, Saudi Arabia, Indonesia, Yemen, Colombia, Lebanon, Central African Republic, Pakistan, Algeria, Sudan etc

Cyber terrorism and Cyber crime:

New on the horizon is the growing potential for cyber terrorism and cyber crime. Although in its infancy the Internet is a vehicle for terrorist and criminal attacks by foreign and domestic antagonists wishing to inflict damage on company with little chance of being caught. On problem in tracing cyber terrorists and criminals is that it is hard to determine if a cyber attack has been launched by a rogue state, a terrorist, or by a hacker as a prank. The I Love You worm which caused an estimated $ 25 billion in damage was probably just an out of control prank. However, the Melissa virus and the denial of service (DoS) attacks that overloaded the Websites of CNN, ZD Net Yahoo, and with flood of electronic messages that crippled them for hours were considered to be purposeful attacks on specific targets.

Each wave of viruses gets more damaging and spreads so rapidly that considerable harm is done before it can be topped. The Slammer for example, brought Internet service to a crawl. It doubled its numbers every 8.5 seconds during the first minute of its attack and infected more than 75,000 hosts within 10 minutes. After infecting hundreds of thousands of computers in Europe and North America the Goner worm traveled to Australia overnight and brought down government agencies, financial and manufacturing sites, and at least 25 MNCs. This virus arrives in an e-mail message with an invitation to download a screen saver. If then infects the computer and sends the virus to everyone in the computer’s address list. Whether perpetrated by pranksters or hackers out to do harm, these incidents how that tools for cyber terrorism can be developed to do considerable damage to a company an entire industry or a country’s infrastructure.

Because of mounting concern over the rush of attacks, business leaders and government officials addressed a Group of eight conference convened to discuss cyber crime, expressing an urgent need for cooperation among governments, industry, and users to combat the growing menace of cyber crime. As the Internet grows, it’s only a matter of time before every terrorist anarchist, thief, and prankster with a PC and a phone line will be waging a virtual war and inflicting real harm. The Internet is a potent tool for cyber crime and, unless systems are designed to safeguard it against these intrusions the costs to governments and industry will be enormous and may prevent the Internet from reaching its full potential.