Hacking and distributed denial of service attacks against computer systems are acts of terrorism, a government terrorism watchdog said today.
In a review of the definition of terrorism published today, but dated March 2007, Lord Carlile said the Terrorism Act's inclusion of attempts "to interfere with or seriously disrupt an electronic system" remains justified.
Lord Carlile referred especially to computer systems that control power stations, water utilities and banking systems, collectively called the critical national infrastructure.
He said, "This has the potential to include internet service providers, financial exchanges' computer systems, controls of national power and water, etc.
"The huge damage to the economy of the nation, and the potential for injury as a result, are self-evident. This category too should be included in the definition. I have concluded that the provision remains justified."
In December 2007 the head of MI5, Jonathan Evans, wrote to 300 businesses that run critical national infrastructure systems to warn of the threat posed in particular by Chinese hackers.