Financing Terrorism

A Q&A with Tom Kellermann on how terrorists are using the Internet for money laundering, fundraising, and identify theft

4 min read

If your credit card number has been stolen recently, that may not be the work of a petty criminal. It could be a terrorist cell, according to cybersecurity consultant Tom Kellermann. Increasingly, Kellermann says, terrorist groups and organized crime syndicates are resorting to cybercrime to finance their activities. From 1999 to 2005, Kellermann was a member of the Treasury Security Team at the World Bank, where he advised central banks on monitoring illicit online activity. He’s currently vice president of security awareness at Core Security Technologies, in Boston. Robert N. Charette, IEEE Spectrum contributing editor, spoke with Kellermann in August.

SPECTRUM: Can you tell us how terrorists and others are using the Internet to coordinate activities, to learn, or to recruit?

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Why the Internet Needs the InterPlanetary File System

Peer-to-peer file sharing would make the Internet far more efficient

12 min read
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Carl De Torres
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When the COVID-19 pandemic erupted in early 2020, the world made an unprecedented shift to remote work. As a precaution, some Internet providers scaled back service levels temporarily, although that probably wasn’t necessary for countries in Asia, Europe, and North America, which were generally able to cope with the surge in demand caused by people teleworking (and binge-watching Netflix). That’s because most of their networks were overprovisioned, with more capacity than they usually need. But in countries without the same level of investment in network infrastructure, the picture was less rosy: Internet service providers (ISPs) in South Africa and Venezuela, for instance, reported significant strain.

But is overprovisioning the only way to ensure resilience? We don’t think so. To understand the alternative approach we’re championing, though, you first need to recall how the Internet works.

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