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Psychology of Terrorism Essay

Terrorism can be defined as political violence in an asymmetrical conflict planned to bring about psychic fear and terror by the destruction of civilian targets and violent victimization. These acts are done with the main purpose of sending a message from an illicit underground organization. Terrorism is meant to exploit media so that to accomplish maximum attainable publicity which act as a magnifying force multiplier so as to influence the targeted audience with the purpose of  attaining short-term and midterm political goals as well as preferred long-term end states (Cooper, 2001).  There are many types of terrorism among which religiously-motivated terrorism, cyber terrorism, and suicide terrorism are the most common and each of which have got distinguishing factors such as psychological aspects, planned to induce emotional responses, including panic, helplessness, or fear in the intended victims.

According to Europe (2007), cyber terrorism is defined as the convergence of cyberspace and terrorism. It usually understood to entail unlawful threats of attack against politically motivated attack against information, computer programs, computer systems, and data by sub national clandestine agents or groups. This is done to coerce or intimidate a government as well as its people in advancement of social or political objectives. For an attack to qualify as cyber-terrorism, it should result in violence against property or persons, or at least make enough harm to bring forth fear. A bomb is used as the primary weapon for attacks in suicide terrorism. The attacker in the case of cyber-terrorism is mentally stable as they use sophisticated technologies to cause an attack against information, computer programs, computer systems, and data by sub national clandestine agents or groups (Borum, 2004).  

Pedahzur (2005) defines suicide terrorism as an attack that is meant to inflict widespread damage as well as kill others, in which the attacker intends or expects to die in the process of the attack. Unlike other types of terrorism such as cyber-terrorism, the attacker in suicide terrorism is usually mentally unstable and this can be determined by a research process that is referred to as psychological autopsy. The attackers in suicide terrorism possess weak personalities; demonstrate low self-esteem; and are socially marginalized as they are subject to concrete and rigid thinking (Borum, 2004). The primary weapon in cyber-terrorism is a computer that is connected to internet. Both cyber-terrorism and suicide terrorism bring about destruction of property and mass killings of people as well as causing fear and panic to the attacked population.

Suicide terrorism attackers are thought to be mentally unstable as they possess weak personalities; demonstrate low self-esteem; and are socially marginalized as they are subject to concrete and rigid thinking. Cyber-terrorism attackers are mentally stable as they use sophisticated technologies to cause an attack against information, computer programs, computer systems, and data by sub national clandestine agents or groups. A bomb is used as the primary weapon for attacks in suicide terrorism while the primary weapon in cyber-terrorism is a computer that is connected to internet. Both cyber-terrorism and suicide terrorism bring about destruction of property and mass killings of people as well as causing fear and panic to the attacked population.