Algerian soldiers stand guard at the Tiguentourine gas complex, in In Amenas, about 1,600 kilometres southeast of the capital on January 31, 2013. - Algerian authorities organised a visit to the Tiguentourine gas plant in In Amenas for more than 120 foreign journalists, two weeks after a group of militants took hostage hundreds of workers from the gas complex.

A growing threat imperils entire regions.

Cyber Terrorism and Energy Security

October 2018, Number 08.04

“Imagine being a member of a terrorist organization and wanting to create chaos and fear, but keep your anonymity. A sophisticated cyber weapon and a large power outage would definitely serve the purpose. But, in fact, that scenario doesn’t have to be imagined — it already happened. The website SecurityWeek reported in December 2017 the discovery of a malware variant specifically designed to attack industrial safety systems; it was apparently used to cause an operational outage at a critical infrastructure facility in the Middle East. A state-sponsored actor is suspected of being responsible. Fortunately, SecurityWeek reported, operators safely shut down the plant before any damage could be done.

Despite various doomsday scenarios or popular cyber war theories, if you ask people to define cyber terrorism you can expect various answers. There is neither a consensus nor an international agreement that explains and defines cyber terrorism. In fact, the roots of the concept of cyber terrorism and “electronic Pearl Harbor” theories can be traced to the early 1990s and the boom in internet use with the emergence of the “information society.” Despite the gloomy predictions and disaster scenarios, no devastating attack has been recorded...”

Excerpt from Ayhan Gücüyener, “Cyber Terrorism and Energy Security,” per Concordiam: Journal of European Security Defense Issues 8, No. 4, 2018: 58-61.

Ayhan Gücüyener is a research fellow at the NATO Energy Security Centre of Excellence.

This article reflects the views of the author and are not necessarily the official policy of the United States, Germany, or any other governments.