The events that took place in the United States on September 11, 2001, had a profound impact worldwide and enhanced citizens’ fears about both terrorism and cyberterrorism. Within minutes, two passenger jets controlled by terrorists of the al-Qaeda network crashed into the twin towers of the World Trade Center in Manhattan and a third crashed into the Pentagon in Washington, D.C., causing one side of the five-sided structure to collapse. Shortly thereafter, a fourth jet crashed in a field about 120 kilometers southeast of Pittsburgh. The latter crash was diverted by passengers on the jet from its intended target: the U.S. Capitol.
Prior to this event, the media headlines in the United States tended to focus on crackers’ exploits—and incorrectly labeled the cybercriminal arm as “hackers.” Also, the FBI focused on the exploits of hackers and crackers alike, often seeing both camps as major criminals in society. After the September 11 event, media headlines in the United States and elsewhere—as well as the attention of the FBI—turned sharply toward terrorists and considerably away from hackers. This movement was visible in the anti-terrorist laws that were quickly passed in the United States following the September 11 event.
Schell, B.H., Dodge, J.L., with S.S. Moutsatsos. The Hacking of America: Who’s Doing It, Why, and How. Westport, CT: Quorum Books, 2002.