|The man known as Mohammed Emwazi, "Jihadi John"|
The horror of beheading reminds us of the extreme measures used by terrorists to create fear. But the perfect storm of problems can be caused by manipulating the money supply, power systems and government agencies by those with the sophistication with computers that can analyze and develop programs that are especially clever and difficult to detect.
Security analysts say that cyberwarfare is the greatest form of terrorism threatening the United States. In fact they warn of the potential of a cyber "Pearl Harbor," a surprise attack that could create widespread harm that could confuse, frighten and likely kill and injure thousands. Leon Panetta, former Secretary of Defense, warned in 2012 of the risks from cyberwarfare, but many analysts believed at the time it was principally theoretical. However, recent comments from experts tell us it is now more than hypothetical and the possibility of a serious, surprise attack is real.
An attack of large proportions on the US power grid could cause massive casualties, security analysts tell us. And there are not enough specialists in computer systems with the sophistication to stop any possible threat, which is of special concern to officials who are working hard to recruit students and professionals into the security business.
Tara Maller is a former military analyst for the CIA and a research fellow with the National Security Studies program at the New America foundation had this to say about the potential of a major cyber attack.
"The capability is out there to launch a large-scale cyberattack resulting in loss of life or property damage, and potential targets are in some sense infinite, because everything is connected to computers in one way or the other. But I do I think it is very likely another country would launch a cyber attack of this type on the U.S. right now? No, because I think there is some level of cyber deterrence that exists between states."
Experts also tell us that a "cyber" Pearl Harbor could literally launch a world war.
Concerns about cyber terrorism is not new. In fact during the Reagan administration the President signed the Computer Security Act of 1987 that was passed to protect federal agencies' computer data.
But since 9/11 those concerns have increased with the bombings and attacks on property and civilians by terrorists in different countries around the world. This has served to heighten worries about cyber terrorism and the potential dangers that might come from a surprise attack.
This month President Barack Obama announced the creation of a new Cybersecurity Agency that will be tasked with developing new and stronger methods of countering the potential of cyberattacks.