Internet terror enters new phase, cyber expert

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The Australian Centre for Cyber Security (ACCS) at the University of New South Wales (UNSW) Canberra has tagged the recent cyberattack on the US Presidential election as a major escalation in internet terror directed at liberal democracies.

Internet terror has been described as the posting of leaked information in the internet to damage the political career and personal life of opponents.

Professor Greg Austin of ACCS at UNSW Canberra said a statement by Lisa Monaco of the Homeland Security and Counterterrorism on how “we are seeing a ‘revolution’ in cyber threats” must have been contributed by the publication through Wikileaks of 19,252 emails from the leadership of the US Democratic National Committee (DNC).

“By January 2014, it was already clear that states were prepared to use cyber espionage in novel ways to undermine the political legitimacy of their adversaries,” Austin said.

“At that time I called out the threat to liberal democracies, especially the United States, from that practice. After the attack on the DNC and its now revealed impact on the Democratic Party at a critical juncture in the political cycle, it seems all countries will need new responses.”

The White House has released a new Presidential Policy Directive (PPD) on responses to cyber incidents of national security significance.

“The new PPD, which calls for retaliatory action if appropriate, will be severely tested as the FBI conducts its investigation into the hack of the Democratic Party since Russia has been implicated by some in the attack,” Austin said.

“Regardless of the perpetrator, the use of cyber espionage to release the DNC data trove on the presidential campaign represents a new level of threat to international security by undermining legitimacy of key actors at the highest level of national and international politics.”

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