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Hazards - Terrorism

Brevard Web Banner_Terrorism

Overview of the Hazard


The U.S Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) defines terrorism as the unlawful use of force and violence against persons or property to intimidate or coerce a government, the civilian population, or any segment thereof, in furtherance of political or social objectives. A terrorist incident could involve a wide variety of materials or actions, or combinations of materials and actions. These could range from uncomplicated incidents impacting relatively small areas, to highly complex incidents with very widespread physical or economic consequence. 


The FBI defines cyberterrorism as any “premeditated, politically motivated attack against computer systems, computer programs, and data which results in violence against non-combatant targets by sub-national groups or clandestine [hidden, illegal] agents.". A “cyberterrorist attack” could result in extensive disruption to computer networks, telecommunication systems or Internet services, and be intended to cause severe or widespread economic damage and/or physical impacts in the community. 


Terrorism/Cyberterrorism Quick Facts


Devastating acts such as the terrorist attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon have left many concerned about the possibility of future incidents in the United States and their potential impact. These attacks have raised uncertainty about what might happen next. Terrorism may involve devastating acts using weapons of mass destruction ranging from chemical agents, biological hazards, a radiological or nuclear device, and other explosives.

The primary objective of a terrorist is to create widespread fear. Nevertheless, there are things you can do to prepare for the unexpected and reduce the stress that you may feel now and later, should another emergency arise.

If You See Something, Say Something 

Realizing the important role that the American public plays in ensuring the safety and security of our nation, in July 2010, the Department of Homeland Security launched the “If You See Something, Say Something ™" public awareness campaign. The nationwide campaign is a simple is focused on raising the awareness of terrorism indicators or violent crime amongst the public and to emphasize the importance of reporting suspicious activity to the proper state and local law enforcement authorities. Effective because of its simplicity, “If You See Something, Say Something” is a grassroots approach to combating terrorism and works as a force multiplier by increasing the level of vigilance on the streets. As we go forward, the "If You See Something, Say Something" campaign will continue to expand partnerships, increase the availability of educational materials and outreach tools designed to help America's businesses, communities and citizens remain vigilant and play an active role in keeping the country safe. Homeland Security is a shared responsibility by us all and it is up to each of one of us to see ensure that responsibility is met. 

Cyberterrorism and Security Risks

Cyber security involves protecting that infrastructure by preventing, detecting, and responding to cyber incidents. Unlike physical threats that prompt immediate action, like stop, drop, and roll in the event of a fire, cyber threats are often difficult to identify and comprehend. 

Among these dangers are viruses erasing entire systems, intruders breaking into systems and altering files, intruders using your computer or device to attack others, or intruders stealing confidential information.

The spectrum of cyber risks is limitless; threats, some more serious and sophisticated than others, can have wide-ranging effects on the individual, community, organizational, and national level. 


Possible Impacts


Vulnerability of the county and its municipalities to the consequences of a terrorist attack on these facilities or systems is due to the potential for the following to occur:

  • Disruption to the ability to initiate and sustain emergency response operations
  • Increased safety risks to the community from the release of hazardous materials or dangerous substances
  • Disruption to the ability to maintain all types of governmental functions, including law and order, public safety, education, and similar critical operations
  • Threats to institutions serving large numbers of individuals with higher vulnerability to the health and safety consequences
  • Threats to the economic vitality of the community and its businesses
  • Damage or disruption to components of the transportation or utility infrastructure resulting in additional physical or economic consequences


  • Organized cybercrime, state-sponsored hackers, and cyber espionage can pose national security risks to our country.
  • Transportation, power, and other services may be disrupted by large scale cyber incidents. The extent of the disruption is highly uncertain as it will be determined by many unknown factors such as the target and size of the incident.
  • Vulnerability to data breach and loss increases if an organization’s network is compromised. Information about a company, its employees, and its customers can be at risk.
  • Individually-owned devices such as computers, tablets, mobile phones, and gaming systems that connect to the Internet are vulnerable to intrusion. Personal information may be at risk without proper security.


What Would You Do?

Terrorism Event


  • Know your Risk
  • Build a Kit
  • Make a Plan
  • Stay Informed

    Terrorism incidents are typically categorized in the following ways:




      According to, if a terrorism-related event occurs:
      • Remain calm and be patient.
      • Follow the advice of local emergency officials.
      • Stay informed. Listen to your radio or television for news and instructions.
      • Stay inside. Close and lock all windows and doors. Go to the middle of the building. If you suspect chemicals are involved, go higher in the building. If you suspect the incident is radiological or nuclear, remain on a lower-building level.
      • Be vigilant. If the incident occurs near you, look out for secondary hazards such as falling debris or additional attacks.
      • If the event occurs near you, check for injuries. Give first aid and get help for seriously injured people.
      • If the event occurs near your home while you are there, check for damage using a flashlight. Do not light matches or candles or turn on electrical switches.
      • Shut off any other damaged utilities.
      • Confine or secure your pets.
      • Call your family contact—do not use the telephone again unless it is a life-threatening emergency.
      • Check on your neighbors, especially those who are elderly or disabled.

      Evacuation During a Terror Attack
      • Shelter in place, unless local authorities ask you to leave your home.
      • If local authorities ask you to evacuate, you should heed the advice immediately. Listen to your radio or television and follow the instructions of local emergency officials and keep these simple tips in mind:
      • Wear long-sleeved shirts, long pants and sturdy shoes so you can be protected as much as possible.
      • Take your disaster supplies kit.
      • Take your pets with you; do not leave them behind.
      • Lock your home.
      • Use travel routes specified by local authorities—don't use shortcuts because certain areas may be impassable or dangerous.
      • Stay away from downed power lines.




      According to the, after a terrorism incident, here are some actions you can take:

      • Listen to a local radio or television station for news and follow the instructions of emergency service personnel.
      • Listen to public announcements to find out if local tap water is safe for drinking, cooking, cleaning, or bathing. Until the water is safe, use bottled water or boil or disinfect water.If a "boil water" advisory is in effect, do not drink tap water or use it to brush your teeth unless water has come to a rolling boil for at least 1 minute or is treated with unscented household chlorine bleach. To treat water, add 1/4 teaspoon (approximately 1.5 mL) bleach to 1 gallon of cloudy water or 1/8 teaspoon (approximately 0.75 mL) bleach to 1 gallon of clear water. Stir well and let it stand for 30 minutes before you use it.
      • Prevent Electrical Injuries. Do not touch fallen electrical wires. They may be live and could hurt or kill you.
      • Reduce mosquito bites. Consider avoiding outdoor activities during the evening and early morning, which are peak biting times for many mosquitoes. Use an insect repellent with DEET or Picaridin.
      • Stay away from wild or stray animals. Stray dogs may be hurt or afraid and may bite. Call local authorities to handle animals.Get rid of dead animals according to local guidelines.
      • Drive Safely




      What Would You Do?

      Cyberterrorism Event

      According to, here are some suggested tips to protect yourself and your family during a possible cyberterrorism event:


      • You can increase your chances of avoiding cyber risks by setting up the proper controls.
        • Only connect to the Internet over secure, password- protected networks.
        • Do not click on links or pop-ups, open attachments, or respond to emails from strangers.
        • Always enter a URL by hand instead of following links if you are unsure of the sender.
        • Do not respond to online requests for Personally Identifiable Information (PII); most organizations – banks, universities, companies, etc. – do not ask for your personal information over the Internet.
        • Limit who you are sharing information with by reviewing the privacy settings on your social media accounts.
        • Trust your gut; if you think an offer is too good to be true, then it probably is.
        • Password protect all devices that connect to the Internet and user accounts.
        • Do not use the same password twice; choose a password that means something to you and you only; change your passwords on a regular basis.
        • If you see something suspicious, report it to the proper authorities.
        • Check to make sure the software on all of your systems is up-to-date.
        • Run a scan to make sure your system is not infected or acting suspiciously.
        • If you find a problem, disconnect your device from the Internet and perform a full system restore.




        At Home
        • Disconnect your device (computer, gaming system, tablet, etc.) from the Internet. By removing the Internet connection, you prevent an attacker or virus from being able to access your computer and perform tasks such as locating personal data, manipulating or deleting files, or using your device to attack others.
        • If you have anti-virus software installed on your computer, update the virus definitions (if possible), and perform a manual scan of your entire system.
        • Install all of the appropriate patches to fix known vulnerabilities.
          At Work
          • If you have access to an IT department, contact them immediately. The sooner they can investigate and clean your computer, the less damage to your computer and other computers on the network.
          • If you believe you might have revealed sensitive information about your organization, report it to the appropriate people within the organization, including network administrators. They can be alert for any suspicious or unusual activity.



          According to,  here are some recommended actions you can take to protect yourself and your family after a possible cyberterrorism event:
          • File a report with the local police so there is an official record of the incident.
          • Report online crime or fraud to your local United States Secret Service (USSS) Electronic Crimes Task Force or the Internet Crime Complaint Center.
          • Report identity theft to the Federal Trade Commission.
          • If your personal information was compromised, consider other information that may be at risk. Depending what information was stolen, you may need to contact other agencies; for example, if someone has gained access to your Social Security number, contact the Social Security Administration. You should also contact the Department of Motor Vehicles if your driver's license or car registration has been stolen.