Terrorism: Role of Technology in Contemporary Terrorism

It has been suggested that the role of technology is in the forefront of contemporary terrorism. Please discuss further just how this is possible and what possibilities open up to terrorists who choose to avail themselves of such technology. Please be specific in your identification of the types of technology as well as the aforementioned possibilities.

The role of technology is in the forefront of contemporary terrorism.  This notion is ostensible due to multifarious technological advances and innovations.  Possibilities for widespread destruction and continuous propaganda open up to terrorists who choose to avail themselves of such technology.

One of such technological advances is the Internet.  The Internet is widely used to spread propaganda and even garner new recruits for terrorist organizations through web sites and blogs.  Many times, computers and computer networks are compromised via the means of cyber terrorism to destroy and/or obtain information (White, 2006).  Another good reason to use cyber terrorism techniques is to obtain the necessary funding to support terrorist campaigns.  This can be done by hacking, scamming, phishing and other methods which will successfully penetrate its intended target (i.e. bank web sites and other financial institutions).  This would not be easily achieved fifteen or twenty years ago, but now it is, and it poses a definite threat.

Another technological disadvantage to the humanity was the introduction of the weapons of mass destruction in the mid twentieth century.  This innovation creates a high level threat to the world due to the inclination to cause massive destruction and life loss (White, 2006).  In recent days I have watched one of my favorite TV series: “24,” and an idea of a remotely detonated bomb was illustrated marvelously; remotely operated drones flying over San Francisco, California carried a “dirty bomb” which would explode over a densely populated area and cause massive life loss and life changing injuries.  An illustration, like this one, is not far-fetched and is easily achievable for the right price.

Further developments in technology have allowed for a torrent of communication.  Cell phones, email, satellite com links, television, Internet, and other channels of communication have allowed for terrorist organizations to plan and execute in a much more organized and rapid manner.  The use of cellular and satellite communications plays a vital role in the everyday life of a terrorist organization.   Intelligence is gathered and the “message of intent” is spread with a click of a mouse.  Suspicious meetings are arranged on Intranets with superb security features that can block even the most avid hackers.

Terrorists train in how to use technology, and use it in order to stay ahead of the agents who try to eliminate them.  Hence, terrorism may thrive within the present world and its technological marvels.  Massive effort needs to be initiated to counter this force as the propensity for a future attack is high as the technology behind them will get better and more ground-breaking with time.


Goldstein, D. (2007). Week 3: Religion and Modern Terrorism. Retrieved March 27, 2007, from Boston University, Vista Web site: http://vista.bu.edu/webct/
White, J.R. (2006). Terrorism and Homeland Security (5th ed). Belmont, CA: Thompson Wadsworth.

Article written by Radek Gadek

Radek holds a Master’s degree in Criminal Justice from Boston University. He is currently doing consulting work and runs this blog to provide relevant information on criminal justice degrees, colleges and related careers.

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