Cyber terrorism: A homogenized taxonomy and definition

Jordan J Plotnek, Jill Slay
Computers & Security


Large-scale cyber attacks are increasing at an alarming rate around the world. These attacks are often being linked to the widely publicized and popularized threat of cyber terrorism. However, cyber terrorism is a relatively young field of research and the terminology, much like its parent term, ‘terrorism’, is still not adequately defined or congruently applied. This paper provides a comparative analysis of the definition of ‘cyber terrorism’ and proposes a new universally-applicable definition and taxonomy. The new definition is derived from detailed analyses of existing definitions in the publicly available literature, which includes all of the key commonalities identified in accordance with the newly proposed taxonomy (i.e. actor, motive, intent, means, effect, and target). This new approach to defining cyber terrorism provides a common understanding of the broader threat for policy standardization, global collaboration, and …

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