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Taking on the Taliban Online

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Unread 04.27.12, 04:28 PM
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Taking on the Taliban Online

On 04.27.12 12:00 PM posted by James Carafano

Somebody hacked a Taliban website. Big surprise. Actually, no surprise.

No surprise that the Taliban and other terrorists groups are online. When the issues of terrorism and the Internet are joined in one conversation, most people talk about the threat of cyberterrorism. But the reality is that terrorists mostly use the Web just like the rest of us—to get things done.

Terrorists use the Internet for recruiting, propaganda, fundraising, planning, and coordinating. Some have even used it to do reconnaissance for terrorist attack. The terrorists who attacked Mumbai in 2008 reportedly used Google Earth to scout their targets.

Also no surprise that the Taliban got hacked. The terrorists are also like the rest of us: Once they are online, they are targets that can be hacked. At least 50 terrorist plots aimed at the U.S. since 9/11 have been thwarted. More of these plots were uncovered by good guys figuring out what bad guys were doing online.

The lesson of this latest embarrassment for the Taliban is that the Internet is neutral. No party can count on a decisive and unassailable advantage across the cyber universe.

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