U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS)

In Unit II, you learned about the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS), the Quadrennial Homeland Security Review (QHSR), and, specifically, Mission Four: Safeguard and Secure Cyberspace. This mission focuses on the importance of securing cyberspace in the public and private sectors. The DHS (2009) leads the effort for securing federal computer systems and networks. Today’s cyberspace is considered one of the top critical infrastructures and nodes needing attention globally. This mission focuses on three key goals that include analyzing and reducing cybersecurity threats and risks; communicating cyber threat warnings to all local, state, and federal agencies to include the private sector; and coordinating effective and efficient ways to respond to critical incidents on core computer systems, networks, and government software applications. This ensures that cybercrimes and terrorism are addressed while securing public and private cyber networks (DHS, 2009).

After reviewing Mission Four of the QHSR, do you believe that revisions are needed in order to counter future cyber-terrorist threats and attacks? Why, or why not? If enhancements are needed, what recommendations would you have as a future homeland security professional?


U.S. Department of Homeland Security. (2009). Safeguard and secure cyberspace. Retrieved from https://www.dhs.gov/safeguard-and-secure-cyberspace


                                           CLASSMATE’S POST

Absolutely, I definitely believe that there needs to be upgrades to Mission Four of the QHSR. As a matter of fact, there is no globally accepted definition of terrorism. We can probably generalize it as any action that causes harm to a noncombatant for political or financial gain.  

What I am saying that most of the cyber attacks that I and or we have seen are financially motivated or between nation states. I don’t think that these can be termed as cyber terrorism

In reality if we focus on the use of cyber-attacks by globally recognized terrorist organizations there have not been any significant events yet. I believe the more important issue is the use of the Internet to spread their propagandas and trying to recruit new members. Law enforcement agencies as tech companies have taken seriously and have removed most of the publicly available content.  

And then then there is the other issue is the use of encrypted communication technology by the terrorist to plan attacks. For me this is an issue which has not been solved yet. I ask how do we track dangerous terrorists but not a normal citizen?

It’s important to note that in future, assuming that terrorist organizations gain enough technically skilled members, we are looking at attacks which are more devasting than we have to face now. Perhaps let’s say If they decide to do a DDoS attack on a major bank of a country it can cause utter chaos. Furthermore, it might end up causing more damage than a single suicide bomber. So, the aim of the terrorists to raise fear in the minds of people can be achieved this way. They can hold critical infrastructures for ransom and use of money to fund their other activities. Also, they can attack hospital networks, traffic managements systems and gas/water pipelines to cause more fatality than any of the terrorist attacks yet. In reality, the most dangerous thing is that they need not even cross boundaries to do this. It’s even more difficult to track them and strike back.

In conclusion, right now DHS and the world needs to worry about criminals who are using cyber attacks for financial gain such as ransomware or fame among peers. There are some groups which want to make a statement such as shadow brokers and NSA. Perhaps, this might not be the case in the future.


Aspicio, * Arc. “Global Threats: How Can Homeland Security Improve International Cooperation?: Insights.” Arc Aspicio, Arc Aspicio, 13 June 2016, www.arcaspicio.com/insights/global-threats-how-can-homeland-security-improve-international-cooperation.

Fredrick, Paul. “An Opportunity for Real Reform at DHS.” The Heritage Foundation, www.heritage.org/homeland-security/commentary/opportunity-real-reform-dhs.

Alex Otieno

Author Since: January 17, 2021