Tuesday, November 29, 2011

TPO: Terror Process Outsourcing

My concept of hacking was that it was usually a small-scale concept: an individual or a small team tries to break into what should be a secure site, with the purpose of pure personal profit (scamming credit cards, transferring money) or even just mischief and prank-playing. I've also heard of cyberterrorism, such as the hacking into a government's system and trying to bring it down. However, after reading this news article, which was later on reposted in international news services like The Guardian and tech blogs like Gizmodo, I was shocked.

According to the CIDG, they recently arrested four Filipinos here in Metro Manila who were supposedly paid by the same group behind the 2008 Mumbai terrorist attacks. They targeted AT&T, the American telecommunications provider, scamming over $2 million from its trunkline and diverting the money to their backers based in Saudi. While the veracity of this link is not yet established at this point, I still find the news disturbing, even if, on second thought, it is only logical coming from a criminal mind.

It's likely that people engaged in the evils of terrorism would resort to any means necessary to raise money in order to finance their heinous crimes. Call me naive and prejudiced, but I guess the idea of overweight Star Wars fanatics who still live with their parents (I'm not being stereotypical - I fit the criteria myself, but I'm not a computer genius) doesn't seem to be that likely to enter a hotel and start shooting people indiscriminately. But this is what the CIDG is suggesting - these people are purportedly all working for the same international terrorist organization. I guess the reason that terrorists try to keep the low-tech, jungles of Basilan/caves of Afghanistan stereotype is just so that people will continue to underestimate them, until they are able to strike when least expected.

It is scary that such organizations are not only well-organized, but have embraced technology as a means to perpetrate and perpetuate terror, and especially as a means of just raising money in order to do the same. Your terrorists are no longer those holed up in mountains or jungles, making bombs from scratch to blow up in suicide missions. They could be your next-door neighbor, the guy at the internet cafe beside you. And like any profit-oriented multinational corporation, they decide to cut costs by outsourcing their tech support to the Philippines. Given this expansion towards using technology in different countries as means of illegally raising funds, it is possible that coming terror attacks will be larger in scope and damage caused.

In this light, there should probably be stricter anti-cyber crime laws in the Philippines, and perhaps even multilateral treaties to allow prosecution of these international terrorists who have started to embrace technology as well.

Daniel Luis R. Convocar, Entry no. 1.

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