Is cyberterrorism a phantom menace?

Thursday, 13 November 2003, 11:29 AM EST

The comments came during a media roundtable session at the Gartner Symposium and IT Expo, which began today in Sydney, Australia. The director, Rich Mogull, told journalists that despite the incidence of high-profile digital attacks, cyberterrorism is a phenomenon that has never occurred.

"The goal of terrorism is to change society through the use of force or violence, resulting in fear," he explained. "I want to put this cyberterrorism thing to rest. It's a theory, it's not a fact."

Even though there were examples of attacks that have physical consequences--such as the case of Vitek Boden, sentenced to two years in prison for releasing up to 1 million liters of sewage into the river and coastal waters of the town of Maroochydore, in Queensland, Australia, in 2001--they could not be described as terrorist acts, Mogull explained. To a large extent, it comes down to motive, he said.

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