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Non-State Actors and Their Impact

Discuss About The Journal Of Cyber Warfare And Terrorism.

In the era of technology, Internet has become the most crucial medium for making the world a better place to live. With the use of Internet, the whole world is getting connected with each other and hence becoming capable of sharing capable information with the people anywhere in the world. The biggest contribution of Internet is the fact that it has enhanced the level of communication and management it available to all at the cheapest of price. With the benefits that internet gives to the people there are many demerits that also exist with it. Internet has not only empowered the state actors in doing their work in favour of the nation but it has also facilitated non-state actors to conduct their activities[1]. They are using internet for various kinds of activities without the notice of government hence it is becoming difficult for the nations to control these activities. This report discusses the ways in which the non-state actors take the use of Internet. It also highlights the ways in which governments can respond to these non-state actors.

In any country, there are various non-state actors that are present at any time. They have the role of destabilising the environment that exists within a country. It is also termed as the organisation or individual that has a significant political impact but the only problem is that they are generally not allied to any specific state or country[2]. The division of category of the non-sate actors is based on the structure, interests and impact of non-state actors varies widely.

In several types of non-state actors there are few which are considered to be violent. They are very dangerous for the security and safety of the nation. This is because of the fact that their major objective is to create tensions in the society. In the last decades or so it has been seen that these violent non-states actors have started to take use of internet so as to conduct their operations. Their functions differ from actor to actor. Some of the most common type of non-state actors and the way in which they use internet is presented below:

In many parts of the world, it has been seen that there are individuals or organisation who are demanding for separating themselves from a country[3]. The separatist in the Kashmir is demanding of another sovereign state. For this they are taking use of violence at times. The internet has helped them in various ways. Some of them are:

  • Spreading ideology: They are using internet and the modern day mediums like social media for spreading their ideology in the minds of innocent people. They take use of the social media post for encouraging people to support their objective.
  • Raising and transferring funds: They are also using internet mediums for raising funds from the individuals that are supporting their campaigns. Apart from this they are also taking internet as a medium using which they can transfer money to the people for supporting them in their violent activities.
  • Communication: They are also taking the use of internet mediums like the social networking sites so as to communicate between all their members[4]. This helps them in conducting their activities and making plans work.

Violent Non-State Actors and Their Usage of Internet

They are the most common violent non-state actors which may lie inside the country as well as may exist outside the nation boundaries[5]. The biggest example of it was ISIS which was present in various parts of the Middle East. They have also taken the use of internet for various types of purposes. Some of them are:

  • Spreading hatred: They are also taking the use of internet for spreading the hatred among the people. They generally take use of internet for posting such activities that supports extreme violence[6]. For example ISIS used it for spreading violence against the country like in the video where they were beheading the journalists and citizens of western countries. Before that Taliban was using internet for sending threats to many country.
  • Recruitments: It seems very odd that these terrorist groups recruit people but it is true in most of the cases. This is due to the fact that recruitments are generally done with the help of internet sites by spreading of ideology[7]. Recruitment does not mean that they pay for their selected people rather they motivate people for doing something that are called the act of tourism. The example of it can be seen in the examples of ISIS were many people from different parts of the world who aimed to join ISIS. This has also led to the attack like the Paris bomb blast.
  • Fund rising: They also try to raise funds using the internet sources. They take donations for their activities from the people sitting in other corners of the world. Various reports have raised the fact that the major source of the terrorists comes from outside the nation. Since dealing in cash is a bit difficult hence they use internet for this.
  • Communication: Researches shows that after the development of social media industry, it has been used by the terrorists so as to communicate with each other. This has benefitted them in making their plans successful as the execution becomes easier.
  • Hacking: They are also using internet for hacking the sites related to government. This has helped them in gathering of data regarding the activities in the state and hence makes their plans. They also hack the sites from spreading their messages which are basically in the form of threats. They not only use it for gathering the data but also use it for sharing the information among their mates.

They are also the big non state actors as their intension is also to sell their products irrespective of the fact that it destroys the health of the people taking it.  Since most of the drug addicts are from young age group hence they are destroying the health economics of the nation[8].  They are also utilising the internet sources for conducting their illegal actions.  Some of the uses of internet by them are illustrated below:

  • Their business: They take use of the internet for conducting their business. This also includes drug dealers selling their products using the internet channels[9]. For example taking orders and delivering it to the clients using internet mediums.  They also trap their preys on the internet sites and hence they take use of it for expanding their business.
  • Communication: They also take use of the internet mediums for their business purpose and generally communicate with their clients on these sites. By taking the help of social media they create a huge network of suppliers just under the nose of the administration. Communication helps in managing the demand and supply.

In recent years it was also seen that the Naxalites which were not using advanced technologies have also started to use internet mediums for achieving their objectives[10].  In various ways they have also been using it for achieving benefit. Some of their purposes for using internet mediums are:

  • Spreading ideology: They take use of the internet mediums for advertising their ideology that suggest fighting with the governments by taking the route of violence[11]. It is seen that people at very young age joins these groups and most of them are motivated at these sites only.
  • Recruiting people: Same as the case of terrorist they are also motivating the people to join their groups through the use of social media and other sites. They generally target people that are frustrated by the trade policies.
  • Spreading hatred: Naxalites also used internet for the medium of communication which is highly beneficial for the kind of activities they are conducting in any country.
  • Raising funds: This is the most common things that these non–state actors perform as they raise funds with the help of spreading their ideology.
  • Communication: They are also using best of internet mediums for having communications with their partners so as to execute their operations smoothly. Internet mediums help in strengthening their communication mechanism.

It can be easily seen that almost all the non-state actors use internet these days and the most crucial utilisation of it is for the communication[12]. Almost all the actor’s groups take use of different functions of the internet so as to achieve their objectives.

There are various steps taken by the government in regard to use of internet for their personal benefit. Since it not possible for the government to pose restriction over the internet neither have the choice that they could ban the use of internet for the particular group. As internet these days are easily and cheaply available hence have become a very common mode of communication for all the non-state actors[13]. Along with problems that governments are facing all across the globe there are various steps that are also taken by them to respond to this record. Some of them are:

  • It is seen that at the time when the separatists are using violence governments generally cut-off the internet lines for a day or so. This helps in stopping of the rumours or the incidents that are happening[14]. Since social media is their prime way to communicate hence a stoppage comes in their activities.
  • Government also incepts the internet conversations that are going on in between the members of non-state actors groups so as to check what sort of plans they are making. This helps in staying ahead of their plans. This usually helps the government in the case of terrorist groups and hence finding them becomes easier. This also helps in spread of ideologies over the internet mediums.
  • The first thing that states do is to ban the sites that are spreading hatred or are spreading the news related to violence. It can be seen in the case when the ISIS militants were posting anything. States use to find the source and usually close them. This helps the state to reduce the number of people that could potentially view the subjects on these postings and get influenced.
  • With the help of the internet service providers, governments are having a close watch on the transactions that are made with the illegal routes. This helps in controlling the terror funding which is necessary in controlling their activities. Such collaborations is very beneficial in the case of controlling the activities of drug mafias.
  • Governments also collaborate with the social media firms for managing the terror activities that are carried through the use of social media pages. In many cases it has been seen that the police finds the actual person who is spreading terror with the help of social media sites[15]. This is true in the case of any non-state actors. The government censorship gets to impose when any non-state actors wants to destabilise the structure of the socio-political environment in the nation.
  • Governments have also strengthened the protection system of the governments so as to ensure that no hackers can breach the data for the purpose of acting against the state. It is seen that non-state actors in other countries usually attacks on the government sites of other nations. For reducing such types of attacks, governments usually make collaboration with the nation’s government so as to ensure that land of other nations must not be used for the terror activities in other nations. Cyber warfare has been most common these days.


From the above report a conclusion can be derived that internet has not only empowered the state actors to make their process easier rather it has also empowered the non-state actors to conduct their operations. Since there are large numbers of non-state actors present in any nations who are using internet for various types of purposes hence the government must have a restriction on their use of internet. It is seen that most common use of internet is to communicate within their group. Government all around the world is trying very hard to stop these activities by non-state actors so as to ensure that security of the nation will be maintained.


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Tereshchenko, Natalia. "US Foreign Policy Challenges Of Non-State Actors’ Cyber Terrorism Against Critical Infrastructure". International Journal Of Cyber Warfare And Terrorism 2, no. 4 (2012): 28-48. doi:10.4018/ijcwt.2012100103.

Delibasis, Dimitrios. "Cyberspace Warfare Attacks And Non State Actors". SSRN Electronic Journal, 2011. doi:10.2139/ssrn.1942283.

Ghosh, Pritam. "Cyber Attacks In The Post 9/11 Era: Perspectives On The Non-State Actors And Transnational Armed Conflicts". SSRN Electronic Journal, 2013. doi:10.2139/ssrn.2266712.

McReynolds, Phillip. "How To Think About Cyber Conflicts Involving Non-State Actors". Philosophy & Technology 28, no. 3 (2015): 427-448. doi:10.1007/s13347-015-0187-x.

Tsagourias, Nicholas. "Non-State Actors, Ungoverned Spaces And International Responsibility For Cyber Acts". Journal Of Conflict And Security Law 21, no. 3 (2016): 455-474. doi:10.1093/jcsl/krw020.

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Winterfeld, Steve, and Jason Andress. The Basics Of Cyber Warfare. [Place of publication not identified]: Syngress, 2012.

Surabhi, Medha. "Cyber Warfare And Cyber Terrorism". SSRN Electronic Journal, 2012. doi:10.2139/ssrn.2122633.

Kazi, Reshmi. "The Correlation Between Non-State Actors And Weapons Of Mass Destruction". Connections: The Quarterly Journal 10, no. 4 (2011): 1-10. doi:10.11610/connections.10.4.01.

Cornish, Paul. On Cyber Warfare. London, England: Royal Institute of International Affairs, 2010.

Ali, Zulfiqar. Cyber Warfare & National Security, 2010.

Mulvenon, James C, and Gregory J Rattray. Addressing Cyber Instability. Vienna, VA: Cyber Conflict Studies Association, civil-engineering.

Bussolati, Nicolò. "The Rise Of Non-State Actors In Cyberwarfare". Academia.Edu, 2018.

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