In today's world large scale violence has become very common. Attacks such as the sarin gas released in Tokyo's subway by the group Aum Shinrikyo, the bombing of the federal building in Oklahoma City, and most recently the destruction of the Twin Towers in New York City on September 11th, have proven that terrorist attacks are getting bigger, and that the potential for a massive attack is certainly present. This potential for an attack combined with the ever-growing usage of computers around the world, and the new computer systems created daily make it is easy to see that there could be large attacks on any government by way of a computer. Jim Petroni of the California Specialized Training Institute in San Luis Obispo states that cyber-terrorism is ".like any crime. It's just a matter of time before someone puts together the mode, the opportunity and the motivation." ("New Security Threats", Feb 3, 1997) Now that it is easy to understand that an attack is very possible, it is necessary to define what exactly is a cyber-terrorist, and what types of things that cyber-terrorists do, and what exactly the government is doing in order to protect against an attack.
To start off doing this, let us first look at the FBI's working definition of cyber-terrorism. The FBI defines cyber-terrorism as "the premeditated politically motivated attack against information, computer systems, computer programs, and data which result in violence against noncombatant targets by sub-national groups or clandestine agents." ("Seminar On Cyberterrorism", Apr 16, 1998) This is a good definition of cyber-terrorism, but it cannot be fully understood unless the reader understands what constitutes an act of cyber-terrorism. A terrorist can use a computer in three ways that are seen as acts of cyber-terrorism. These are as a physical means of accomplishing a terrorist act, the storage of information the terrorist uses, and the actual target of some site of attack.