UK counter terrorism forces are gearing up for an expected increase in Al Qaeda-led ‘cyber jihad' and lone terrorist attacks in the future, as the tools and information needed to carry out such attacks become increasingly widespread online, according to a new report.
The Home Office Counter Terrorism Strategy said that, although there has been "no evidence of systematic cyber terrorism" as yet, there has been related terrorist activity since the first recorded incident in 2010.
"The so-called 'here you have' virus, responsibility for which was claimed by the Tariq bin Ziyad Brigades for Electronic Jihad, was relatively unsophisticated but a likely indicator of a future trend," the report revealed.
"Since the death of Osama bin Laden, Al Qaeda has explicitly called not only for acts of lone or individual terrorism but for 'cyber jihad'."
The internet has been one of the primary conduits by which lone terrorists receive guidance on how to achieve their aims, and the threat will grow as the "tools and techniques needed for cyber attack become more widely available and the success of criminal cyber operations becomes more widely known", the report added.
The report authors admitted that UK counter terrorism agencies need to increase their understanding of how terrorists use the internet, and that international co-operation is vital.
"Law enforcement action to remove terrorist material hosted in the UK
has been effective, but we know that the same content can simply relocate to foreign servers where it is immune from UK legislation," the report said.
"Our most important single relationship is with the US which is by far the biggest provider of internet hosting services in the world."
Priority will also be given to educating the public on how the internet can be made a "more hostile environment" for terrorists.
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