Terrorism Weapons

Terrorism Weapons

Characteristics of Terrorist Attacks: Weapons of Terrorism

Introduction to Terrorism Weapons

Bombing historically has been the most common terrorist tactic. Terrorists have often relied on bombs because they provide a dramatic, yet fairly easy and often risk-free, means of drawing attention to themselves and their cause. Few skills are required to manufacture a crude bomb, surreptitiously plant it, and then be miles away when it explodes. Bombings generally do not require the same planning, organization, and knowledge required for more sophisticated operations, such as kidnapping, assassination, and assaults against well-defended targets.

Not surprisingly, the frequency of various types of terrorist attacks decreases in direct proportion to the complexity or sophistication required. Armed attacks historically rank as the second most-common terrorist tactic, followed by more complex operations such as assassination of heads of state or other well-protected people, kidnapping, hostage taking, and hijacking.” (1)


In his book “Cyberthreats and International Law” (Eleven International Publishing, 2012), Georg Kerschischnig wrote:

“There are many ways to attack computerized and networked systems, including electromagnetic and kinetic ones, but what this book refers to as “cyberweapons” are only
cyberspace-borne tools and techniques that interfere with a system’s normal functioning.
Hence, neither kinetic nor electronic warfare will be further discussed here. Tools that
might be used as cyberweapons can be summarized under the term “malware” , which is
developed at higher rate than legitimate software is. Some – including U.S. president
Obama in a speech on cybersecurity in May 2009 – referto malicious programs as“weapons
of mass disruption” , which is one, but certainly not the only scope of cyberweapons (Cf. Berry Ken, International Commission on Nuclear Non?proliferation and Disarmament, New Weapons

The following list is by far not exhaustive, but rather provides a very general overview over
the most prominent malware and exploitation techniques. What all below-mentioned
tools and techniques have in common is that they can be employed to compromise the
targeted system and to gain a varying degree of control over it, which may range from
cyberexploitation to cyberattack. Of course, there are risk-mitigating factors as good
antivirus software and a well-tuned firewall. But even the best cybersecurity software can
be circumvented, and is likely to be useless against zero-day exploits. Furthermore,
imprudent end-user behavior plays an aggravating role in this regard.”


  • Viruses and Worms
  • Backdoors: Trojans and Rootkits
  • Botnets

Other Techniques:

  • DoS Attacks
  • Infiltration
  • Social Engineering
  • Probing, Sniffing, and Mapping
  • Anonymization Techniques


Notes and References

See Also

  • Terrorism Firearms
  • Terrorism
  • Terrorism Attacks
  • Terrorism Organization
  • Terrorism Targets
  • Terrorism Bombs
  • Fight Against Terrorism
  • Terrorism Future
  • Biological Weapons
  • Terrorism Impact
  • Early Terrorism
  • Terrorism Definition