Terrorism Is Increasing in the Cyberspace: António Guterres

United Nations Secretary-General António Guterres. UN Photo/Jean-Marc Ferré (file)
United Nations Secretary-General António Guterres. UN Photo/Jean-Marc Ferré (file)

UN Secretary-General António Guterres said Thursday that terrorism and violent extremism undermine international peace and security. He was speaking at the United Nations High-Level Conference on Counter-Terrorism, in New York.

Today, he said, the front line against terrorism is increasingly in cyberspace. Terrorists are exploiting social media, encrypted communications and the dark web to spread propaganda, recruit new followers and coordinate attacks.

The military defeat of Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL/Da’esh) in Iraq and Syria last year means foreign terrorist fighters are on the move, returning home or relocating to other theatres of conflict.

While some may be disenchanted and ready to renounce violence, others remain determined, passing on expertise from the battlefield, recruiting new followers and carrying out attacks, Mr. Guterres said.

[ Also Visit: Global Terrorism Information Center ]

Homegrown terrorists are also testing the capacities of domestic security and intelligence agencies. There has been a shift towards less sophisticated attacks against softer targets that are more difficult to detect and prevent.

“So, as the threat from terrorism continues to evolve, we must adapt and learn lessons from what works and what does not. Our response needs to be as agile and multifaceted as the threat. The United Nations Global Counter-Terrorism Strategy and related resolutions provide a comprehensive framework,” Mr. Guterres said.

The review of the Strategy this month, under the auspices of the President of the General Assembly and the Permanent Representatives of Finland and Jordan, has given us an opportunity to consider where we need to refocus our efforts, he said. “The top priority is that we must work together,” he added.

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Rakesh Raman