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

Jihadism Online: A Study of How al-Qaida and Radical Islamist Groups Use the Internet for Terrorist Purposes
2006 Rogan, H. Report
The Internet is of major importance to the global jihadist movement today. It facilitates ideological cohesion and network-building within a geographically scattered movement, and all levels of the jihadist network are present on the Internet. The jihadist websites differ enormously in nature and are run relatively independently of each other. However, many sites are inter-related in the sense that they frequently redistribute and circulate the same material. This indicates that despite a large number of sites, the scope of new material that appears on these sites every day is not necessarily very large. Concerning the functions of the jihadist Internet, it fulfils different objectives, most importantly of communicative character. The much feared cyber terrorism, i.e. destructive attack on information systems, does not, so far, seem to be a main objective for the jihadist use of the Internet.
Cyberculture and the Endurance of White Power Activism
2006 Simi, P. and Futrell, R. Article
Drawing from ethnographic and documentary data, this article examines the character of the social spaces that white power movement (WPM) activists create on the Internet and the linkages to their real world activism. Specifically, we explain how white power activists use cyberspace as a free space to create and sustain movement culture and coordinate collective action. The WPM's cyberpresence intersects with and enhances their real world activities by offering multiple opportunities for access and coordination. Virtual contact with the WPM community offers members social support, companionship, and a sense of belonging to a community of Aryan believers. We argue that real and virtual spaces are not completely separate spheres but rather closely inter-twined. Consequently, virtual spaces provide an opportunity to parallel and extend the type of interaction present in real world free spaces that are so critical to nurturing and sustaining white power movement culture. Cyberspace is being used to connect all sorts of people, yet the character of those connections is unclear. Some observers argue that cyberspace is a new place of assembly where real world social communities can be established, sustained, or renewed as virtual communities. In The Virtual Community (1993), Howard Rheingold argues the Intemet introduced a new form of community that can help bring people together on-line around shared values and interests, and create ties of support that extend their real world collective interaction. Sherry Turkle (1995:267), a pioneer in studies of identity and interaction on the Intemet, claims that the virtual realm offers "a dramatic Please direct correspondence to Pete Simi,. We want to thank editors Dobratz and Waldner and the anonymous JPMS reviewers for their helpful suggestions on earlier drafts of this article.

Freedom And The War On Terror In The Digital Age
2006 Alvarez, J.G.E. MA Thesis
Advances in Computer Science continue to provide more tools, each time more efficient, to aid us in our everyday lives with everything from work to entertainment, from health to management of natural resources. Technology has made our lives better and continues to facilitate progress. But just as it can benefit us, it is only a tool. That tool itself is not ‘good’ or ‘evil’; it is only useful to achieve the ends of those who utilize it. And just as it has been used for benefit, there have been cases where its use had a detrimental impact on us. Given the benefits, who is to deny that a government can keep track of its citizens in the same way a business keeps track of all its assets? The discussion here will center on this question, where we suspect that, given technological advances, governments are tempted to achieve this goal. The purpose is to present some of the policies that governments in North America and Europe have proposed and/or adopted with respect to technology and national security, and point out flaws that could allow the undue erosion of privacy and free speech in the electronic world as a consequence. We reflect upon those measures that seem unjustified and unnecessary even in the face of terrorism and argue that none of them include adequate safeguards to minimize the risk of abuse. We hope the reader will realize that none of the measures discussed admit that technology can accommodate the protection of civil liberties as well as security. We also argue that at least in Canada’s case, not counting academia and civil rights groups, policies, and laws introduced as a consequence of the events of 9/11 seem to receive little attention from the public at large. Citizens would appear to be unaware of what is being done to mitigate the terrorist threat. Indeed, amidst such legislative actions, we may be getting used to living in a permanent state of war. We hope our conclusions give an insight into the current landscape of privacy protection in North America and, to some extent, Europe.
Cyberterrorism: A Postmodern View Of Networks Of Terror And How Computer Security Experts And Law Enforcement Officials Fight Them
2006 Matusitz, J.A. PhD Thesis
The purpose of this study is to investigate how cyberterrorists create networks in order to engage in malicious activities against the Internet and computers. The purpose of the study is also to understand how computer security labs (i.e., in universities) and various agencies (that is, law enforcement agencies such as police departments and the FBI) create joint networks in their fight against cyberterrorists. This idea of analyzing the social networks of two opposing sides rests on the premise that it takes networks to fight networks. The ultimate goal is to show that, because of the postmodern nature of the Internet, the fight between networks of cyberterrorists and networks of computer security experts (and law enforcement officials) is a postmodern fight. Two theories are used in this study: social network theory and game theory. This study employed qualitative methodology and data were collected via in-depth conversational (face-to-face) interviewing. Twenty-seven computer security experts and law enforcement officials were interviewed. Overall, this study found that cyberterrorists tend not to work alone. Rather, they team up with others through social networks. It was also found that it takes networks to fight networks. As such, it is necessary for experts and officials to combine efforts, through networking, in order to combat, let alone understand, cyberterrorist networks. Of equal relevance is the fact that law enforcement agents and computer security experts do not always engage in battle with cyberterrorists. They sometimes try to interact with them in order to obtain more information about their networks (and vice versa). Finally, four themes were identified from the participants' accounts: (1) postmodern state of chaos, (2) social engineering, (3) know thy enemy, and (4) the enemy of my enemy is my friend.
The Hunt For The Paper Tiger: The Social Construction Of Cyberterrorism
2006 Thatcher, S. E. H. PhD Thesis
For two decades, there has been a high-profile debate on the issue of cyberterrorism. Politicians, law enforcement agents, the information security industry, other experts and the press have all made claims about the threats to and vulnerabilities in our society, who is responsible and what should be done. This is a UK study in the field of Information Systems based on interpretative philosophical assumptions. The framework for the study is provided by the concept of moral panic, propounded by Cohen (2002) and elaborated by Goode and Ben-Yehuda (1994) and Critcher (2003). Moral panic is used widely in the reference discipline of Sociology as a tool for investigating the social construction of social problems in cases where there is heightened public concern and intense media interest, closely followed by changes in legislation and social control mechanisms. This study employs moral panic as an heuristic device to assist in the investigation of the social mechanisms at work in the social construction of cyberterrorism The corpus of data for analysis comprised articles from the UK national press relevant to cyberterrorism. A grounded theory approach was used to analyse these articles in order to identify images, orientations, stereotypes and symbolisation and to examine
representational trends over time. Reflexivity in such a task is of the utmost importance, and the analytic process leading to an explanation of the social processes at work was deliberately divorced from the moral panic framework in order to guarantee rigour in the findings. The findings set out an explanation of how the concept of cyberterrorism has been constructed over two decades and compares this explanation with a framework provided by a model of moral panic. These findings are then linked to wider issues about national security, civil liberties and state control of information and communication technologies.
Ethical Principles in Social-Behavioural Research on Terrorism
2007 Bikson, T.K., Bluthenthal, R.N., Eden, R. and Gunn, P.P. Article
This RAND working paper documents the proceedings of a daylong workshop, "Ethical Principles in Social-Behavioral Research on Terrorism: Probing the Parameters." The workshop was convened to initiate a public discussion of the parameters that should guide the ethical conduct of social and behavioral research on terrorism that is frequently carried out in countries or among groups hostile to the United States. The workshop was organised into three sessions on the topics of "Deception and Concealment vs. Autonomy," "Maximizing Beneficence and Maintaining Justice," and "Ensuring Confidentiality." Each session included a main speaker followed by short presentations from an expert panel, a plenary discussion, and a wrap-up by the session chair. All proceedings were taped and transcribed. The transcriptions of the presentations by the speakers and panelists have been lightly edited to improve readability, as have the introductory and wrap-up comments by the workshop organisers. The transcriptions of the plenary discussions have been summarized to highlight the main points.
Network Technologies for Networked Terrorists: Assessing the Value of Information and Communication Technologies to Modern Terrorist Organizations
2007 Don, B.W., Frelinger, D.R., Gerwehr, S., Landree, E. and Jackson, B.A. Report
This report analyzes terrorist groups’ use of advanced information and communication technologies in efforts to plan, coordinate, and command their operations. It is one component of a larger study that examines terrorists’ use of technology, a critical arena in the war against terrorism. The goal of the investigation reported here is to identify which network technologies might be used to support the activities that terrorists must perform to conduct successful operations, understand terrorists’ decisions about when and under what conditions particular technologies will be used and determine the implications of these insights for efforts to combat terrorism.
The Virtual Sanctuary of Al-Qaeda and Terrorism in an Age of Globalisation
2007 Ranstrop, M. Chapter
Chapter in Johan Eriksson, Giampiero Giacomello, 'International Relations and Security in the
Digital Age' - The fusion of globalisation and terrorism in the 21 century created a new, adaptable and complex form of ‘networked’ asymmetric adversary. For al-Qaeda and its successor affiliates Internet has become not just a virtual sanctuary, where every dimension of the global jihad is taking place online. In many ways cyberspace has created a virtual university of jihad with advice available anytime to any militant. It was also more than a functional tool to enhance its communication, to promote its ideology, recruit, fundraise and even train. For al-Qaeda and its progeny, cyberspace constitutes a type of central nervous system as it remains critical to its viability in terms of structure and even more as a movement. Some have even argued that al- Qaeda has become the “first guerrilla movement in history to migrate from physical space to cyberspace.”
Countering Militant Islamist Radicalisation on the Internet: A User Driven Strategy to Recover the Web
2007 Ryan, J. Book
A strategy to counter violent radicalisation on the Internet must be user driven, empowering Internet users with “cultural intelligence”. Cultural intelligence is essentially shorthand for an understanding of the key pillars of, and vulnerabilities inherent in, militant Islamist rhetoric. What this report calls “Enabling Stakeholders”, such as schools, and religious and community organisations, can disseminate this knowledge, thereby empowering Internet users to choose whether and how to challenge the call to violence.
Mining Communities and Their Relationships in Blogs: A Study of Online Hate Groups
2007 Chau, M. and Xu, J. Article
Blogs, often treated as the equivalence of online personal diaries, have become one of the fastest growing types of Web-based media. Everyone is free to express their opinions and emotions very easily through blogs. In the blogosphere, many communities have emerged, which include hate groups and racists that are trying to share their ideology, express their views, or recruit new group members. It is important to analyse these virtual communities, defined based on membership and subscription linkages, in order to monitor for activities that are potentially harmful to society. While many Web mining and network analysis techniques have been used to analyze the content and structure of the Web sites of hate groups on the Internet, these techniques have not been applied to the study of hate groups in blogs. To address this issue, we have proposed a semi-automated approach in this research. The proposed approach consists of four modules, namely blog spider, information extraction, network analysis, and visualization. We applied this approach to identify and analyze a selected set of 28 anti-Blacks hate groups (820 bloggers) on Xanga, one of the most popular blog hosting sites. Our analysis results revealed some interesting demographical and topological characteristics in these groups, and identified at least two large communities on top of the smaller ones. The study also demonstrated the feasibility in applying the proposed approach in the study of hate groups and other related communities in blogs.
Virtual Disputes: The Use of the Internet for Terrorist Debates
2007 Weimann, G. Journal
Terrorists are using the Internet for various purposes. Most of the attempts to monitor and study terrorist presence on the Net focused on the practical and communicative uses of this channel by modern terrorists. Yet, not much attention has been paid to the use of the Net as a medium for terrorist debates and disputes. This descriptive article presents this less noticed facet of terrorism on the Net by providing examples of virtual debates among and within terrorist groups. The analysis of the online controversies, disputes, and debates may say a lot about the mindsets of terrorists, their motivations, their doubts and fears. In many ways, it allows the researcher to open a window to a world about which so little is known. It may also serve counterterrorism: by learning the inner cleavages and debates one can find practical ways to support the voices against terror, to broaden gaps within these dangerous communities, and to channel the discourse to nonviolent forms of action.
Gen E (Generation Extremist): The Significance of Youth Culture and New Media in Youth Extremism
2007 Lombard, K.J. Article
There are many computer programs that model the consequences to built infrastructure when subject to explosive blast loads; however, the majority of these do not account for the uncertainties associated with system response or blast loading. This paper describes new software - called "Blast-RF" (Blast Risks for Facades) - that incorporates existing blast-response software within an environment that considers threat/vulnerability uncertainties and variability via probability and structural reliability theory. This allows the prediction of likelihood and extent of damage and/or casualties; information which will be useful for risk mitigation considerations, emergency service's contingency and response planning, collateral damage estimation and post-blast forensic analysis.
Dschihadismus Im Internet
2007 Lohlker, Ü and Prucha, N. Journal
Dschihadismus als soziale Bewegung spiegelt sich auch im Internet wider. Diese Internetpräsenz ist im Wesentlichen arabischsprachig. Neben den eher theoretisch-ideologischen Webseiten gibt es auch ein breites Spektrum an Webpräsenzen, die sich mit technisch-praktischen Aspekten der dschihadis- tischen nicht-konventionellen Kriegsführung beschäftigen. Eine Analyse dieses Aspektes dschihadistischer Online-Aktivitäten ist erforderlich, um das Phänomen des Dschihadismus im Internet adäquat zu verstehen. Ein interessantes Mittel, ein solches Verständnis zu erreichen, ist die Erarbei- tung von flexiblen Begriffsrastern, die sich für die Forschung, die in diesem Artikel präsentiert wird, hauptsächlich auf Waffen, Explosivkörper und Konzepte des Guerillakrieges konzentrieren.
Terrorist Use of the Internet and the Challenges of Governing Cyberspace
2007 Conway, M. Chapter
Chapter: "Terrorism, the Internet, and international relations: the governance conundrum", in: Dunn Cavelty, Myriam and Mauer, Victor and Krishna-Hensel, Sai Felicia, (eds.) Power and Security in the Information Age: Investigating the Role of the State in Cyberspace.
Terrorism & Internet Governance: Core Issues
2007 Conway, M. Article
Both global governance and the sub-set of issues that may be termed 'internet governance' are vast and complex issue areas. The difficulties of trying to 'legislate' at the global level – efforts that must encompass the economic, cultural, developmental, legal, and political concerns of diverse states and other stakeholders – are further complicated by the technological conundrums encountered in cyberspace. The unleashing of the so-called ‘Global War on Terrorism’ (GWOT) complicates things yet further. Today, both sub-state and non-state actors are said to be harnessing – or preparing to harness – the power of the internet to harass and attack their foes. Clearly, international terrorism had already been a significant security issue prior to 11 September 2001 (hereafter '9/11') and the emergence of the internet in the decade before. Together, however, the events of 9/11 and advancements in ICTs have added new dimensions to the problem. In newspapers and magazines, in film and on television, and in research and analysis, 'cyber-terrorism' has become a buzzword. Since the events of 9/11, the question on everybody's lips appears to be 'is cyber-terrorism next?' It is generally agreed that the potential for a 'digital 9/11' in the near future is not great. This does not mean that IR scholars may continue to ignore the transformative powers of the internet.
Cyberterrorism: Hype and Reality
2007 Conway, M. Chapter
Chapter "Cyberterrorism: hype and reality" in book: Armistead, Leigh, (ed.) Information warfare: separating hype from reality
Terrorism and New Media: the Cyber-Battlespace
2007 Conway, M. Chapter
Chapter, "Terrorism and new media: the cyber-battlespace", in book: Forest, James F., (ed.) Countering terrorism and insurgency in the 21st Century.
Terrorism and the Making of the ‘New Middle East’: New Media Strategies of Hizbollah and al Qaeda
2007 Conway, M. Chapter
Chapter, "Terrorism and the making of the 'New Middle East'", in book: Seib, Philip, (ed.) New media and the new Middle East
Iraqi Insurgent Media: The War of Images and Ideas
2007 Kimmage, D. and Ridolfo, K. Report
Sunni insurgents in Iraq and their supporters and sympathizer worldwide are pursuing a massive and far-reaching media campaign that includes daily press releases, weekly and monthly magazines, video clips, full-length films, and even television channels. Iraqi Insurgent Media: The War of Images and Ideas casts light on this crucial yet understudied factor in the battle to shape perceptions in Iraq and the Arab world. The report surveys the products, producers, and delivery channels of the Sunni insurgency’s media network; examines their message; and gauges their impact.
Analyzing Terror Campaigns on the Internet: Technical Sophistication, Content Richness, and Web Interactivity
2007 Qin, J., Zhou, Y., Reid, E., Lai, G. and Chen, H. Journal
Terrorists and extremists are increasingly utilizing Internet technology to enhance their ability to influence the outside world. Due to the lack of multi-lingual and multimedia terrorist/extremist collections and advanced analytical methodologies, our empirical understanding of their Internet usage is still very limited. To address this research gap, we explore an integrated approach for identifying and collecting terrorist/extremist Web contents. We also propose a Dark Web Attribute System (DWAS) to enable quantitative Dark Web content analysis from three perspectives: technical sophistication, content richness, and Web interactivity. Using the proposed methodology, we identified and examined the Internet usage of major Middle Eastern terrorist/extremist groups. More than 200,000 multimedia Web documents were collected from 86 Middle Eastern multi-lingual terrorist/extremist Web sites. In our comparison of terrorist/extremist Web sites to US government Web sites, we found that terrorists/extremist groups exhibited similar levels of Web knowledge as US government agencies. Moreover, terrorists/extremists had a strong emphasis on multimedia usage and their Web sites employed significantly more sophisticated multimedia technologies than government Web sites. We also found that the terrorists/extremist groups are as effective as the US government agencies in terms of supporting communications and interaction using Web technologies. Advanced Internet-based communication tools such as online forums and chat rooms are used much more frequently in terrorist/extremist Web sites than government Web sites. Based on our case study results, we believe that the DWAS is an effective tool to analyse the technical sophistication of terrorist/extremist groups' Internet usage and could contribute to an evidence-based understanding of the applications of Web technologies in the global terrorism phenomena.