After the 1980s there have been changes on a global scale that included post cold war developments. The changes in Eastern Europe and the Soviet Union coupled with the technological change on the nations of the East caused structural and perceptional changes that were needed to make them competitive in high technology; which included everything from military to the service sector. There was advance of science and technology in the context of world affairs, however lopsided development led to religious fundamentalism and also the terrorist ethos.
The world was for a long time in dread of nuclear weapons, but these too have taken a different dimension. Nations, even rogue nations with nuclear power are not the threat but a fanatic group that succeeds in hijacking a nuclear missile, for example, is. Though science and technology have been blamed for environmental disasters, the proliferation of technology is also a provision of a means of violence, and computing and information technology could well be the next weapon. Under such a condition, with the world depending more and more on the IT infrastructure, is cloud computing a possible victim of the terrorist? Secondly can a terrorist outfit carry on their operations unmolested using cloud computing? What would be the possible outcome of such a situation? Can the world cope with the threat? The threat is not idle as will be shown in the analysis.
2. Thesis Statement:
The thesis follows the line of thinking that terrorists will look for any medium of information exchange, communication and financial operations and control of their militia, the criteria being that there should not be a source that can tap into their activities. Especially since the mobile phone used widely for its communications by Bin Laden was his organizations undoing and his death, it is likely that the other terrorists would seek medium that is safe from the intelligence agencies and can remain undetected for long. The cloud computing and grid systems are exactly that.
Therefore the thesis statement - "Terror groups utilize technology to advances to plan, fundraise, recruit, and promote their ideology while offering a degree of anonymity. Cloud computing/technology (the Cloud) is the latest advancement terror groups will seek to employ in future." This is supported by the fact that terror outfits operates exactly on the same model as the military. Take the LTTE for example which even had their planes. Tactics and methods of the terrorists show that this hypothesis will be proved true in the future. The reason is that terrorists think like soldiers and believe in strategy and using resources based on the goals objectives, intentions, and the method of executing. Naturally the strategy and tactics will use the methods that are most practicable. The crude way that the terrorists have used to spread terror has been the use of "arson; bombs in vehicles; remote controlled explosions; 'Molotov cocktails'; biological and chemical materials disseminated offensively; grenades; gun attacks (hand and automatic); mortar attacks; attacks with rocket launchers; knife attacks; machete attacks; hijacking of vehicles and aircraft; and so on."
The use of mobile technology by the Al Qaeda was effective insofar as it resulted in the September attacks, and the organization was also exposed by their mobile use. The internet is being used by many organizations and many countries allow these groups to conduct affairs anonymously. Therefore as the technology improves the masterminds of these organizations also look to use these methods and technology as fast as possible and try to adapt faster than regular business. Especially the technology that is safe, secure and free from leaks. The cloud is just that. It is secure and encrypted and protected. The information revolution caused advances in the technology of communication and organization with the advent of cyberspace. With the modern methods of data processing especially online, there has come about the existence of a "virtual society" also called the global community wherein all the persons of the globe can access the resources of the net with little outlay. Therefore the community now is the force behind the business, government, military and international perceptions. It was observed far back in 1999 that "as cyber space evolves, the terrorists are becoming interested in this new medium"
There is scope for spreading ideology, gaining adherents, control of the cadres and passing of encrypted information. Therefore we cannot brush aside the possibility of cloud becoming their new haven. There is also historical evidence to prove this fact.
3. Historical (terror groups use of technology)
Taking terrorism as an organized crime it can be seen that terrorism is a result of an economic need or as seen in the case of Al-Qaeda as a religious fundamentalism. Such organizations receive shelter and funds domestically and the major source of funds are drug dealing and other criminal activities like kidnapping, extortion, money laundering, smuggling and even counterfeit currencies.
Organizations like OMshinrikyo in Japan or the Al Qaeda use religious grouping and use of religion to create terrorists or criminal outfits. That crimes against the U.S. especially would occur cannot be ruled out. This has been due to the hatred by the impoverished nations against the United States and other capitalist nations which translates to the fact that wealth is held in developed countries while all other places are impoverished. Such a notion of the wide spread misery in the undeveloped countries which is attributed to the actions of the Western nations seem to get wide support for the terrorists and in some places they also enjoy legitimacy.
The terrorist will exist in nations that are in antipathy to the U.S. Or the developed nations. So some community will always find support from governments that fund terrorists. The Department of the Treasury issued a 'Terrorist Assets Report,' in December 2004 and this report showed that the United States succeeded in blocking funds to the tune of ten million dollars.
So far, funding is achieved by smuggling and trafficking in drugs. The drug trafficking is a source that brings funds that then flowed into all the nations monetary system along with generally legitimate funds mostly by buying and dealing with real estate and also vehicles. The recent changes in technology have facilitated growth of a new type of global crime syndicates. The changes in technology and means of global banking have also given the criminal better avenues at operation. This can be exemplified by pointing to the rising cyber crimes, and use of sophisticated computers and machines in white collar crimes and the rising incidents of mobile phone and other gadget misuse. These would intensify and funds can be transferred in anonymity if the cloud is not policed or accountability created. Technology today is digital, and involves computers and other communication devices and involves audio, video and other facilities, and involve at present video conferencing, scanning and generally telemetries and other content delivery features.
Thus cloud computing will enhance these facilities and make the work of the terrorist easier with regard to communication and creating ill will to nations of their choice will thus become easy because of the wider reach and broad cast abilities that the technology can confer. There is a positive chance that the terrorist will succeed in adapting technology in their activities. Examples are that the Om Shinrikyo used Zarin, a gas that was sophisticated in manufacture and Al-Qaeda used planes and internet for coordination must not be forgotten. If cloud computing is to be, then there must be a possibility of policing it properly. This makes it necessary to bring about a global consensus on the use of the cloud and accountability. So why is the cloud computing different from the already existing systems and how does the system offer more anonymity? For that the cloud computing has to be examined in detail.
4. Cloud Computing
Cloud computing is simply the use of the network resources on the internet in such a way that the existing infrastructure is used by many from sites and data and processing is done via the internet without having any infrastructure installed at the premises. This means that not only data but any communication device, any software can be used based on the service provider and the cloud which consists of these borrowed resources spread across the globe can be used not only by businesses but by groups on the go. This makes the movement of people easier from place to place and they can access the data from anywhere. Thus fugitives, secret societies and the terror groups need not have specific place or infrastructure created but can be spread out across the globe and access the same information form anywhere.
This makes pinning them difficult and enlarges their reach. There are two parts in the concept of communication - they are the grid and cloud computing. The grid is the infrastructure or network that brings about the possibility of sharing resources and exchanging information, storing information and processing it, all on the grid. Thus…