Welcome to VOX-Pol’s Online Library, a research and teaching resource, which collects in one place a large volume of publications related to various aspects of violent online political extremism.

Our searchable database contains material in a variety of different formats including downloadable PDFs, videos, and audio files comprising e-books, book chapters, journal articles, research reports, policy documents and reports, and theses.

All open access material collected in the Library is easy to download. Where the publications are only accessible through subscription, the Library will take you to the publisher’s page from where you can access the material.

We will continue to add more material as it becomes available with the aim of making it the most comprehensive online Library in this field.

If you have any material you think belongs in the Library—whether your own or another authors—please contact us at and we will consider adding it to the Library. It is also our aim to make the Library a truly inclusive multilingual facility and we thus welcome contributions in all languages.


Full Listing

Cybercrimes against the Electricity Infrastructure: Exploring Hacker and Industry Perceptions
2012 Rege, A. PhD Thesis
The US electricity infrastructure uses Industrial Control Systems (ICS) to oversee its operations. These systems are connected online for better efficiency, making them susceptible to cyberattacks. Current research has extensively addressed ICS vulnerabilities that can be exploited by cybercriminals. Vulnerabilities, however, are only one of the many factors influencing offender decision-making in cyberattacks. Furthermore, numerous conceptions of threats, vulnerabilities, and consequences exist, which further complicate ICS security assessments. This exploratory study therefore has two main goals. First, it seeks to compare industry and hacker perceptions on electricity ICS threats, vulnerabilities, and consequences. Second, it seeks to identify a broader set of factors that influence offender decision-making in ICS cyberattacks.
Cyber-security In The European Region: Anticipatory Governance And Practices
2015 Munk, T. H. PhD Thesis
This thesis explores the nature of cyber security at the beginning of the 21st century. In the current security paradigm, security strategies based on anticipatory governance have become essential in the management of the constantly changing cyber security environment. Thus, this thesis aims to understand security strategies and governance introduced in the European region. The increased dependency on cyber space is visible in all public private sectors and governmental operations, as well as communications between groups and individuals. As a result, cyber attacks on public and private entities are increasing. This requires a security framework that is flexible and establishes different types of security cooperation to manage the widespread cyber risks. This is essential to the development of security strategies, governance forms, practices, and guidelines for enhancing resilience and preparedness towards cyber risks. Therefore, I am examining cyber security through the lenses of nodal governance and governmentality, which enables me to understand European cyber security strategies and governance forms developed by the Council of Europe, the European Union, and the North Atlantic Treaty Organization. To analyse existing strategies and governance forms, I have used two critical security schools, the Copenhagen School and the Paris School, which cover different aspects of the security agenda. The thesis develops a substantive analytical framework through two case studies, namely cyber security and cyber terrorism. The findings in this thesis identifies problem areas, such as the complexity of the nodal system, the legislative lacuna, reliance on different governance forms, transparency and accountability, and types of anticipatory governance and regulatory practices.
Three Essays on International Cyber Threats: Target Nation Characteristics, International Rivalry, and Asymmetric Information Exchange
2014 Mauslein, J. A. PhD Thesis
As the Internet is progressively integrated into industrial and defense-related networks around the globe, it is becoming increasing important to understand how state and sub-state groups can use Internet vulnerabilities as a conduit of attack. The current social science literature on cyber threats is largely dominated by descriptive, U.S.-centric research. While this scholarship is important, the findings are not generalizable and fail to address the global aspects of network vulnerabilities. As a result, this dissertation employs a unique dataset of cyber threats from around the world, spanning from 1990 to 2011. This dataset allows for three diverse empirical studies to be conducted. The first study investigates the political, social, and economic characteristics that increase the likelihood of a state being targeted for cyber threats. The results show that different state characteristics are likely to influence the forms of digital attack targeting. For example, states that experience increases in GDP per capita and military size are more likely to be targeted for cyber attacks. Inversely, states that experience increases in GDP per capita and those that are more democratic are less likely to be targeted for cyber terrorism. The second study investigates the role that international rivalries play in cyber threat targeting. The results suggest that states in rivalries may have more reason to strengthen their digital security, and rival actors may be cautious about employing serious, threatening forms of cyber activity against foes because of concerns about escalation. The final study, based upon the crisis bargaining theory, seeks to determine if cyber threat targeting decreases private information asymmetry and therefore decreases conflict participation. Empirical results show that the loss of digital information via cyber means may thus illicit a low intensity threat or militarized action by a target state, but it also simultaneously increases the likelihood that a bargain may be researched, preventing full scale war by reducing the amount of private information held between parties.
Global Response to Cyberterrorism and Cybercrime: A Matrix for International Coperation and Vulnerability Assessment
2005 Ozeren, S. PhD Thesis
Cyberterrorism and cybercrime present new challenges for law enforcement and policy makers. Due to its transnational nature, a real and sound response to such a threat requires international cooperation involving participation of all concerned parties in the international community. However, vulnerability emerges from increased reliance on technology, lack of legal measures, and lack of cooperation at the national and international level represents real obstacle toward effective response to these threats. In sum, lack of global consensus in terms of responding to cyberterrorism and cybercrime is the general problem. Terrorists and cyber criminals will exploit vulnerabilities, including technical, legal, political, and cultural. Such a broad range of vulnerabilities can be dealt with by comprehensive cooperation which requires efforts both at the national and international level. "Vulnerability-Comprehensive Cooperation-Freedom Scale" or "Ozeren Scale" identified variables that constructed the scale based on the expert opinions. Also, the study presented typology of cyberterrorism, which involves three general classifications of cyberterrorism; Disruptive and destructive information attacks, Facilitation of technology to support the ideology, and Communication, Fund raising, Recruitment, Propaganda (C-F-R-P). Such a typology is expected to help those who are in a position of decision-making and investigating activities as well as academicians in the area of terrorism. The matrix for international cooperation and vulnerability assessment is expected to be used as a model for global response to cyberterrorism and cybercrime.
A Critical Reflection On the Construction of the Cyberterrorist Threat in the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland
2018 Mott, G. PhD Thesis
Cyberterrorism has not occurred. Furthermore, the definitional parameters of cyberterrorism have not been conclusively defined by either policymakers or academia. However, in 2010 the threat posed by the terrorist application of cyber weaponry to target British critical national infrastructure became a ‘Tier One’ threat to the UK. This thesis is the first comprehensive mapping and analysis of the official British construction of the threat of cyberterrorism between 12th May 2010 and 24th June 2016. By using interpretive discourse analysis, this thesis identifies ‘strands’ from a comprehensive corpus of policy documents, statements and speeches from Ministers, MPs and Peers. This thesis examines how the threat of cyberterrorism was constructed in the UK, and what this securitisation has made possible. In addition, this thesis makes novel contributions to the Copenhagen School’s ‘securitisation theory’ framework. Accordingly: this thesis outlines the framework for a ‘tiered’, rather than monolithic audience; refines the ‘temporal’ and ‘spatial’ conditioning of a securitisation with reference to the unique characteristics of cyberterrorism; and lastly, details the way in which popular fiction can be ascribed agency in securitising moves to ‘fill in’ a lack of case studies of threat with gripping vicarious fictional narratives. It is identified that the 2010 British Coalition Government’s classification of cyberterrorism as a ‘Tier One’ threat created a central strand upon which a discursive securitisation was established. Despite the absence of a ‘cyberterrorist’ incident across the period under scrutiny, the securitisation did not recede. The threat posed by cyberterrorism was articulated partially within a ‘New Terrorism’ frame, and it was deemed by Ministers, MPs and Lords to be a threat that was likely to escalate in both severity and possibility over time. A notable finding is the positioning of the securitisation against a particular ‘cyberterrorist’ identity epitomised by social actors using cyberspace, rather than the tangible environments of cyberspace.
Tweeting Islamophobia: Islamophobic Hate Speech Amongst Followers Of UK Political Parties On Twitter
2019 Vidgen, B. PhD Thesis
The aim of this thesis is to enhance our understanding of the nature and dynamics of Islamophobic hate speech amongst followers of UK political parties on Twitter. I study four parties from across the political spectrum: the BNP, UKIP, the Conservatives and Labour. I make three main contributions. First, I define Islamophobia in terms of negativity and generality, thus making a robust, theoretically-informed contribution to the study of a deeply contested concept. This argument informs the second contribution,
which is methodological: I create a multi-class supervised machine learning classifier for Islamophobic hate speech. This distinguishes between weak and strong varieties and can be applied robustly and at scale. My third contribution is theoretical. Drawing together my substantive findings, I argue that Islamophobic tweeting amongst followers of UK parties can be characterised as a wind system which contains Islamophobic hurricanes. This analogy captures the complex, heterogeneous dynamics underpinning Islamophobia on Twitter, and highlights its devastating effects. I also show that Islamist terrorist attacks drive Islamophobia, and that this affects followers of all four parties studied here. I use this finding to extend the theory of cumulative extremism beyond extremist groups to include individuals with mainstream affiliations. These contributions feed into ongoing academic, policymaking and activist discussions about Islamophobic hate speech in both social media and UK politics.
Hard(Wired) For Terror: Unraveling the Mediatized Roots and Routes of Radicalization
2019 Frissen, T. PhD Thesis
(Hard)Wired for Terror is divided into two parts. In the first part, (the ‘Roots’ ) we provide a historical, semantic analysis of the concepts of radicalism, extremism and terrorism, and how they are interconnected. Furthermore, a comprehensive overview is presented of the state of the art in which the current radicalization and terrorism research is rooted. We challenge insights from individual-psychological and collective-sociological research and bind them together on a social-communicative dimension. By means of a theoretical blend of Social Movement Theory, Mediatization, and Socio-Epidemiology, we propose a new cyclic model of mediatized terrorism and radicalization. In the second part (the ‘Routes’ ), we present the results of five original empirical studies. Both message-centered and audience-centered analyses were conducted. On the basis of a detailed content analysis, we uncover the moral psychological and theological underpinnings of the ISIS’s worldview. Additionally, survey data of Belgian young adults reveal the ‘effects’ of different forms of Salafi-Jihadist communication artefacts (from beheading videos to terrorist attacks). Ultimately, the dissertation suggests a few policy recommendations with the aim to prevent radicalization and terrorism.
The Kids Are Alt-Right: The Intellectual Origins of the Alt-Right
2019 Jones, A.W. PhD Thesis
The electoral success and increased media presence of the Far-Right ideology known as the Alternative Right has catapulted the once marginal fringe movement into popular political discourse. The term Alternative Right is used in contrast to Alt-Right, which is a specific subsection of the broader Alt-Right who are associated with Richard Spencer. This dissertation examines the theories that make up the Alternative Right by addressing the question: How have the divergent political theory traditions of the Alternative Right coalesced into a new reactionary political ideology?The first half of the dissertation defines the Alternative Right and the historical context for the movement. The dissertation defines the Alternative Right by its axioms of the right to difference, the primacy of cultural metapolitics and hierarchical individualism. The second half examines the four major intellectual influences of the Alternative Right: The Techno-libertarians know as the Grey Tribe, NeoReactionary Thought, the European New Right and the American White Nationalists. The dissertation concludes that the divergent political theory of the Alternative Right is unified based on its shared reactionary values, its break from American liberal-conservativism and a consistent focus on the literature of radicalization and critique. The goal of the Alternative Right is a rebirth of racial/gendered consciousness and a new American/European renaissance.
Personal Statement from James Watkins to Committee on Homeland Security 8chan Inquiry
2019 Watkins, J. Statement
Chairman Thompson and Members of the Committee: Today, James Watkins appears for a congressional deposition addressing your Committee’s concern over social media companies’ efforts to address online extremist content. We have prepared this statement in an effort to assist the Committee in understanding how careful and responsible a platform 8chan is. While Mr. Watkins is empathetic to the victims of mass shootings in America, 8chan has never tolerated illegal speech and has a consistent track record of working with law enforcement agencies when appropriate. After the current disruption of service, 8chan has taken steps to improve its ability to identify illegal content and to act more quickly in doing so. To these ends, it hopes to be of continued assistance to law enforcement officers in times of need. Mindful of tragedies America has faced, Mr. Watkins also believes in the exceptional promise of the First Amendment. 8chan is the only platform featuring a full commitment to free speech—a one-of-a-kind discussion board where anonymous users shared tactics about French democracy protests, how to circumvent censorship in repressive countries, and the best way to beat a classic video game. In this hodgepodge of chaotic discussion, down-home recipes are traded, sorrows lifted, and a small minority of users post hateful and ignorant items. As Justice Hugo Black once noted, the “First Amendment provides the only kind of security system that can preserve a free government – one that leaves the way wide open for people to favor, discuss, advocate, or incite causes and doctrines however obnoxious and antagonistic such views may be to the rest of us.” It is with this in mind that Mr. Watkins is proud to host the only platform compatible with the First Amendment.
Thornton Statement Nottingham University Terrorism Arrests
2008 Thornton, R. Letter
Comments made by Dr Rod Thornton, Lecturer, School of Politics and International Relations, University of Nottingham on the events surrounding, and the repercussions of , the terrorism arrests at Nottingham University in May 2008
Dear Mr. Zuckerberg
2018 Ní Aoláin F. Letter
A letter to Mr. Zuckerberg from the UN Rapporteur on the definition of terrorism.
Hidden Resilience And Adaptive Dynamics Of The Global Online Hate Ecology
2019 Johnson, N. F., Leahy, R., Johnson Restrepo, N., Velasquez, N., Zheng, M., Manrique, P., Devkota, P. and Wuchty, S. Letter
Online hate and extremist narratives have been linked to abhorrent real-world events, including a current surge in hate crimes and an alarming increase in youth suicides that result from social media vitriol; inciting mass shootings such as the 2019 attack in Christchurch, stabbings and bombings; recruitment of extremists, including entrapment and sex-trafficking of girls as fighter brides; threats against public figures, including the 2019 verbal attack against an anti-Brexit politician, and hybrid (racist–anti-women–anti-immigrant) hate threats against a US member of the British royal family; and renewed anti-western hate in the 2019 post-ISIS landscape associated with support for Osama Bin Laden’s son and Al Qaeda. Social media platforms seem to be losing the battle against online hate and urgently need new insights. Here we show that the key to understanding the resilience of online hate lies in its global network-of-network dynamics. Interconnected hate clusters form global ‘hate highways’ that—assisted by collective online adaptations—cross social media platforms, sometimes using ‘back doors’ even after being banned, as well as jumping between countries, continents and languages. Our mathematical model predicts that policing within a single platform (such as Facebook) can make matters worse, and will eventually generate global ‘dark pools’ in which online hate will flourish. We observe the current hate network rapidly rewiring and self-repairing at the micro level when attacked, in a way that mimics the formation of covalent bonds in chemistry. This understanding enables us to propose a policy matrix that can help to defeat online hate, classified by the preferred (or legally allowed) granularity of the intervention and top-down versus bottom-up nature. We provide quantitative assessments for the effects of each intervention. This policy matrix also offers a tool for tackling a broader class of illicit online behaviours such as financial fraud.
Open letter on behalf of civil society groups regarding the proposal for a Regulation on Terrorist Content Online
2020 Civil Liberties Union for Europe Letter
The undersigned human rights and digital rights organizations call on the participants of the trialogue meeting on the Proposal for a Regulation of the European Parliament and of Council on preventing/addressing the dissemination of terrorist content online to comply with the Charter of Fundamental Rights and discuss further amendments that fully respect freedom of expression, freedom of information and personal data protection of internet users.