Cyberterrorism: Evolution from Physical to Digital

Abstract: The FBI defines cyberterrorism as a “premeditated, politically motivated attack against information, computer systems, computer programs and data which results in violence against non-combatant targets by subnational groups or clandestine agents.” Although a typical terrorist attack involves destruction and even death in the physical world, is the U.S. and our allies prepared for these attacks to crossover into the digital realm? This presentation outlines how cyberterrorism is categorized, highlights international cyberterrorism groups, walks through examples of attack vectors, and identifies best practices for preventing and mitigating cyberterrorism attacks.

Bio: Mackenzie Monarko has been an FBI Special Agent for 13 years. She has been assigned to three Field Offices to include Albuquerque, Philadelphia and Pittsburgh and has worked a variety of federal violations including gangs and narcotics, organized crime, criminal cyber matters and most recently international terrorism. She also spent time assigned to FBI Headquarters Cyber Division where her primary role was liaison with the financial and retail sectors regarding cyber-crime impacting those areas. As such, SA Monarko started multiple initiatives to address private industries’ concerns about key cyber threats and worked with FBI Field Offices to initiate investigations into these matters, which led to arrests of high-level cyber actors. Currently, SA Monarko is spearheading a new Cyberterrorism-Private Sector initiative for the FBI Pittsburgh Division which entails educating companies about cyberterrorism and how such activity may present itself across an organization’s network.