Information and Terrorism
Humanities & Social Sciences Interdisciplinary (67-302)
Carnegie Mellon University
Spring Semester, 2002

Randy S. Weinberg
Porter Hall 223G

Required Textbook: The Ultimate Terrorists by Jessica Stern


This overview course develops the theme that information and information technology are among the most important assets in the ongoing struggle against terrorism. To provide appropriate perspective, the course will cover the background of modern terrorism, analysis and possible responses to a range of threats, development of information assets and deployment of information technologies, information warfare and cyberterrorism. Students will conduct original research and presenting their findings.

Development of information assets, information warfare (offensive and defensive) and security of information assets are important themes in the new war on terrorism. However, these aspects do not exist in isolation. They are part of a larger picture and we will try to keep this in perspective. You will study a wide range of threats - biological, chemical, loose nukes, among others - and possible responses, highlighting the role of information assets. We will have a range of authoritative guest speakers to help us learn about some of these issues. You may find that there are more questions than there are good answers to the issues discussed during the course.

Course Requirements


In-Class Writing: 20%
Team Research Report: 65%
Class Participation: 15%

Attendance: You are expected to attend each class session, arriving on time and staying for the entire session. Penalty of one letter grade for missing any class session (or substantial portion thereof) without proper documentation of your personal situation. Note: Course hopping/shopping during the first weeks of class does not constitute a valid reason for missing class. Make-up of in-class writing assignments will not be allowed.


Tentative Course Outline

Date Topic Readings and Assignments

Jan. 14

Biological and Chemical Threats
Threats to infrastructure

Stern: Chapters 1-3

Terrorism Today
Trojan Horses of the Body

Jan. 21

The Practice of Terrorism


Stern: Chapters 4-6

Getting and Using the Weapons
Who are the Terrorists?
The Threat of Loose Nukes
Project Proposal Due
Jan. 28

Who are the Terrorists?
U.S. Policy in Host Countries

Stern: Chapters 7-8

The State as Terrorist
What Is To Be Done?

Feb. 4

Information Warfare - Offensive Operations


Cyber Attacks During the War on Terrorism: A Predictive Analysis by Michael A. Vatis

Information Terrorism: Can You Trust Your Toaster? (Winner of National Defense University's Sun Tzu Art of War Research Award in Information Warfare)

How We Lost The High-Tech War Of 2007 by Charles J. Dunlap

Feb. 11

Information Warfare - Defensive Operations

Many Say U.S. Planned for Terror but Failed to Take Action
December 30, 2001 By THE NEW YORK TIMES (Read all parts of the article)

Feb. 18

Survivability and Technical Challenges,
Export Control, Privacy,
other Social and Policy Issues

Too Much Of A Good Thing Neil Munro

"The Futility of Homeland Defense" by David Carr in The Atlantic Monthly, Jan 2002 (download via ProQuest Direct)

Biometric Identification by Jain, Hong, Pankanti. Communications of the ACM. Feb. 2000
"A Practical Guide to Biometric Security Technology" in IEEE IT Professional Jan/Feb 2001 via IEEE Xplore online

Feb. 25
Class Presentations


Recommended References


Computer Exports and National Security: New Tools for a New Century by James A. Lewis, et. al. The CSIS Press.

Cyber Threats and Information Security: Meeting the 21st Century Challenge by Arnaud de Borchgrave, et. al. The CSIS Press.

Information Warfare and Security by Dorothy Denning. Addison Wesley.

Fighting Terrorism by Benjamin Netanyahu. FSG.

Scourge: The Once and Future Threat of Smallpox by Jonathan Tucker. Atlantic Monthly Press.

Secrets and Lies: Digital Security in a Networked World by Bruce Schneier. John Wiley & Sons.

Security Architecture: Design, Deployment & Operations by Christopher M. King, Curtis E. Dalton, T. Ertem Osmanoglu. Osborne.

Germs by Judith Miller, Stephen Engelberg and William Broad. Simon & Schuster.

Technology and Security in the Twenty-First Century: US Military Export Control Reform. John J. Hamre, et. al. The CSIS Press.

To Prevail: An American Strategy for the Campaign Against Terrorism by Kurt M. Campbell and Michele Flournoy. The CSIS Press.

Toxic Terror: Assessing Terrorist Use of Chemical and Biological Weapons, edited by Jonathan B. Tucker. MIT Press.

Living Terrors: What America Needs to Know to Survive the Coming Bioterrorist Catastrophe by Michael T. Osterholm and John Schwartz. Delta Books.


The Atlantic Magazine Online (Flashbacks)
Coming To Grips With Jihad Atlantic articles from early 1990's until present
Articles in topical January 2002 issue available via Proquest Direct

The ANSER Institute for Homeland Security An incredibly rich resource on all facets of terrorist threats, responses, and research.

Biological and Chemical Terrorism: Strategic Plan for Preparedness and Response Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

Reports, Articles, and Presentations
Trends in Denial Of Service Attack Technology

Center for Nonproliferation Studies - Chemical and Biological Weapons Resources

Critical Infrastructure Assurance Office Top 20 computer security vulnerabilities

CyberTerrorism: Regional and Local Response (A Live Discussion: view/listen with RealPlayer or read transcript)

The Federation of American Scientists


General Accounting Office
Computer Security - Improvements Needed to Reduce Risk to Critical Federal Operations and Assets General Acconting Office
FAA Computer Security: Actions Needed to Address Critical Weaknesses General Accounting Office

The International Policy Institute for Counter-Terrorism
International Terrorism Attack Database International Policy Institute for Counter-Terrorism

Institute for Security Technology Studies at Dartmouth


National Infrastructure Protection Center

Rand Corporation Terrorism Books online, Articles, Links
Networks, Netwars, and the Fight for the Future by Ronfeldt and Arquilla

Terrorist Attacks - Maps and Database Washington Post

U.S. Dept of State International Information Programs