What Experts Say
In his book Islamic State: The Digital Caliphate, author and expert Middle East journalist Abdel-Bari Atwan, the man who also interviewed Osama Bin Laden in 1996, describes ISIS as having a "Cyber Caliphate Division that successfully attacked the US government’s Central Command”.
Robert Hannigan, Britain’s GCHQ Director, commented in 2015: “determined hackers can get in. They can cause damage. Can the business or public service keep going?”[i].
Later in June 2016 Hannigan referred to ISIS and rogue states, warning: “Terrorists and rogue states are gaining the capability to bring a major city to a standstill with the click of a button”[ii].
Ian West, who heads up NATO’s cyber-security services says: “The threat landscape is vast, from malware and hacktivists to organised criminals and state-sponsored attacks. Things that we thought impossible can be done.”[iii]
West’s 200-strong team covers operations for about 100,000 people at 34 NATO sites. “Our intrusion detection systems find around 200m suspicious events each day”[iv] says West. The unit confirmed five very serious cyber attacks per week during 2014. Cyber terrorism is now treated in military and political circles as seriously as conventional attacks with bombs and tanks.