Cyber-Herding: Exploiting Islamic Extremists Use of the Internet
Moon, David B.
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The internet has many characteristics that support extremists' information operations, such as being able to reach large audiences. Yet the internet also has inherent weaknesses that can be exploited. One of these weaknesses is the ambiguous nature of the net. You trust that when you go to a website that it is legitimate. If it looks professional, you tend to believe that the site is real. However, criminals or terrorists could just as easily be running that website. The same is true when you chat with someone online. […]. Terrorist organizations also have an inherent weakness that can be exploited using the internet. This weakness is the decentralized nature of terrorist organizations. Many terrorist organizations that do not have state sponsorship organize and accomplish work utilizing social networks versus a hierarchy command structure. This only makes sense. Individuals engaged in criminal activities need to work with people they trust so they can accomplish their mission. In the physical world, social networks are very reliable. However, in the virtual world social networks can be exploited because personalities in the virtual world can be real or fictitious. In order to exploit these weaknesses, a cyber system that invisibly drives Islamic extremists from terrorist websites to covertly controlled websites can be developed. I will generically refer to this system as cyber-herding.
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