Library

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 onlinelibrary@voxpol.eu 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.

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TitleYearAuthorTypeLinks
Virtual Jihadist Media: Function, Legitimacy, and Radicalising Efficacy.
2007 Awan, A. Journal
Within the last 10 years, the internet has become the principal platform for the dissemination and mediation of the culture and ideology of jihadism. The exponential growth of jihadist fora, with their increasingly 'high-end' production values, sophisticated critiques of prevailing narratives and ostensive attempts at impartiality, do not occur in a vacuum. To a great extent they are reactive, their raison d'etre supplied by the mainstream media's perceived collusion with governmental (mis)information, or at least its uncritical acceptance. The jihadist media are far from alone in these critiques and there has been a growing convergence of interests with other non-mainstream and media outlets which are also challenging conventional modes of mediation. This article seeks to explore the functions of the new jihadist media, the ways in which it is granted legitimacy, and the compelling issue of radicalizing efficacy and recruitment.
Virtual Terrorism and the Internet E-Learning Options
2007 Cole, D.R. Article
E-learning on the Internet is constituted by the options that this global technology gives the user. This article explores these options in terms of the lifestyle choices and decisions that the learner will make about the virtual worlds, textual meanings and cultural groupings that they will find as they learn online. This is a non-linear process that complicates dualistic approaches to e-learning, such as those which propose real/virtual distinctions. It also sets up the notion of virtual terrorism, which is explained in terms of the political forces that have come about due to e-learning. This article uses the philosophy of Gilles Deleuze as a best fit in order to understand the ways in which the e-learning of the Internet options is apparent in contemporary society. Deleuze made a division between unconscious learning and apprenticeship learning, that makes sense in terms of the virtual and cultural worlds that inform the lifestyle choices on the Net. This is because the navigation of virtual worlds involves imaginative processes that are at the same time an education of the senses of the type that the apprentice will receive. Furthermore, in his work with Félix Guattari, he developed the notion of the plane of immanence, which is used to pinpoint the presence of virtual terrorism in e-learning practices.

Framing Online Communications Of Civil And Uncivil Groups In Post Conflict Northern Ireland
2007 Reilly, P. PhD Thesis
This thesis explores the ways in which civil and uncivil groups in Northern Ireland use the Internet to generate soft power. This research assesses whether the Internet creates a critical multiplier effect for marginal groups, such as terrorists and interface communities. A coding scheme, adapted from previous studies of political part websites, is used to determine whether these groups have realised the potential of the Internet as a tool for political mobilisation. The dissertation considers whether there are any qualitative differences between the online framing of terrorist-linked parties and the constitutional parties in the region.
Knowledge And Perceptions Of Cyberterrorism
2007 Van Hoogensty, A. J. MA Thesis
While the threat of terrorists utilizing the Internet to execute a cyberterrorist attack is of prominent concern there exist great misconceptions and factual errors in the media as to the nature of this threat (Conway, 2002; Embar-Seddon, 2002; Weimann, 2005). This thesis examined media exposure, knowledge of cyberterrorism, fear of terrorism and perceived seriousness of cyberterrorist events in a sample of college students. Generally, participants had little knowledge of cyberterrorism. Women were found to be more fearful of terrorism and cyberterrorism than men. A positive relation was found between media consumption and fear of terrorism among women. Finally, fear of terrorism was positively related to perceived seriousness of cyberterrorist events.
Risk Of Cyberterrorism To Naval Ships Inport Naval Station Everett a model based project utilizing SIAM
2007 Tester, R. R. A. MA Thesis
Based on numerous high level concerns that the cyber threat is expected to increase, as well as the already documented uses of cyber warfare, it is necessary to ensure our naval ships are hardened against such attacks. In doing so, an influence net model was designed to discover the likelihood of a successful cyber attack. However, first it was necessary to establish what the best mitigation tools are in defense of cyber attack methods. In order to do so, an expert opinion survey was designed and completed by individuals currently working in the field of network security. In combination with the expert opinion surveys and in looking at research and established security techniques it should become apparent whether or not ships are taking all the required steps to best secure themselves against an attack. Though the initial model was designed around a theoretical Naval Station Everett ship, with modification the model can be utilized for any naval asset throughout the United States and the risk for each particular U.S. asset can be evaluated. Additionally, this tool can also facilitate security funding as well as establishing a means of prioritizing the tools for protection if the network needs to be hastily re-established after an attack. Ultimately, the protection of a ship’s computer networks against cyber terrorist threats is fundamental in ensuring continued effective command and control and ultimately the security of this nation.
Users' Adoption Of Emergent Technologies: Towards an Acceptable Model for Safer Cyber-Assisted Olfactory Information Exchanges in Standard, Micro, and Nano Systems
2007 Hyacinthe, B. P. MA Thesis
The potential of terrorists and other enemies to use the Internet and/or other digital information technologies as transport vehicles of weapons of mass destruction (WMD) is becoming more evident. This threat may involve cyber-assisted biochemical transactions, which can be performed through olfactory information exchanges, to attack civilian and military targets anytime. In response, this research is the product of a four-year investigation wherein the researcher went through a rich archive of declassified U.S. military reports (covering biochemical warfare and techno-terrorism)and a selective list of patent applications revealing several concepts related to users’ adoption of emergent cyber-assisted olfaction and aroma-embedded information systems. And after a rigorous analysis of the findings, the researcher hypothesized that careless adoption of unsafe technologies could accelerate a cyber-WMD-nexus.

Thus, the study conducted in support of this research sought to examine and explain the adoption of emergent cyber-assisted olfactory information technologies. Cyber-assisted olfaction is an emergent technology that involves the replication of the human sense of smell by computer systems. It can be manifested in the stimulation of human olfactory receptors by computer-emitted biochemical or aromatic particles. Certain olfaction-based biosensors, known as electronic noses, mimic the sense of smell to detect chemical plumes (aroma or warfare agents) in a variety of settings. Notably, the literature revealed an innovative dimension of multimodal, affective human-computer interactions involving scented emails, aroma therapy, and olfaction-based marketing. Unfortunately, the lack of security and safety persists at a potentially catastrophic cost, which is at the root of the researcher’s stated research problem below.

Largely supported by Everett Rogers’ innovation diffusion theory (IDT) and Fred Davis’ technology acceptation model (TAM), the researcher went beyond the “smell-o-vision” aphorism to offer a fertile ground for a new, comprehensive, and flexible framework to understand various aspects of cyber-assisted olfactory information systems, which may be usefully applied to a wide range of auxiliary information systems (i.e., standard, micro, and nano devices). In relation to national security and defense, the proposed Model for Safer Cyber-Assisted Olfaction (MSCAO) can be applied in subway systems, aircrafts, cruise ships, and various mixing/distribution systems (i.e., water systems and chemical plants) to automatically detect and neutralize a biological or chemical threat. Many military applications are also anticipated for emerging urban warfare and emergency rescue operations using devices such as miniature robots and nano air vehicles (NAVs).

Consistent with the aim of this investigation, the researcher used a mixedmethods approach that combined (1) the content analysis of a series of declassified military reports on airborne warfare agents with that of (2) a patent search on aroma embedded information systems to examine, with the help of a carefully designed survey instrument, the perceptions of potential adopters of the proposed MSCAO. Further, in order to collect data and obtain statistical evidence linked to the selected variables (perceived credibility, ease-of-use, and usefulness), the researcher surveyed a diverse group of students from a major Engineering School in southeastern United States, which offers degree programs in Mechanical, Electrical, Chemical and Biomedical Engineering. Based on the analysis performed, credibility, ease-of-use, and usefulness were found to be significant enough to be considered as positively influencing the acceptability of the MSCAO. In essence, the respondents expressed a significantly high level of need for harm-reduction and cyber security measures against potential threats and considered the MSCAO as meeting their need.

Perceived usefulness (67%) was identified as the principal determinant of the respondents’ intention to adopt the proposed model. Though less substantial than perceived usefulness, perceived ease-of-use (56%) appeared to have a greater influence on the MSCAO than perceived credibility (54%). In sum, extrapolating from the findings reported herein, the researcher concluded that potential users are more likely to accept an emergent technology that is useful, easy-to-use, and that offers credible harm-reduction measures.
Cyberterrorism: Cyber Prevention Vs Cyber Recovery
2007 DiBiasi, J. R. MA Thesis
The technological age has forced the U.S. to engage a new set of national security challenges. Several potential adversaries have cyberspace capabilities comparable to those of the U.S., and are constantly conducting surveillance, gathering technical information, and mapping critical nodes that could be exploited in future conflicts. How can the U.S. government best defend against future cyber attacks? Recent policy documents set out a strategy for securing all of cyberspace, which experts argue is impossible to implement, but also unnecessary. This thesis seeks to move the discussion beyond this stalemate by undertaking an analysis of the vulnerability of cyberspace to terrorist attacks. The first analysis examines the Code Red Worm and the Slammer Worm. These two worms were selected because they were highly destructive and spread faster than normal worms, making them well suited for assessing the existing security of computers and networks. The next analysis examines a staged cyber attack on critical infrastructure, entitled Attack Aurora. In the staged Aurora attack, researchers from the Department of Energy’s Idaho lab hacked into a replica of a power plant’s control system. This attack is the most recent staged attack and facilitates an analysis of vulnerabilities of critical infrastructures to cyberterrorism.
Islam, Jihad, and Terrorism in Post‐9/11 Arabic Discussion Boards
2007 Abdulla, R.A. Article
This study analyzed the contents of three of the most popular Arabic‐language online message boards regarding the attacks of September 11, 2001 on the United States. Although terrorists claimed that the attacks were committed in the name of Islam, those who posted messages on all three forums rejected this claim. More than 43% of the messages condemned the attacks as a criminal act of terrorism that contradicts the core teachings of Islam. Some 30% saw some justification behind the attacks, even if they felt sorry for the victims and their families. However, those participants viewed the attacks as a political, rather than a religious, issue.
Manipulating And Hiding Terrorist Content On The Internet: Legal And Tradecraft Issues
2008 Williams, J.F., Urgo, M. and Burns, T. Article
The global war on terror (“GWOT”) is being fought on many levels. In addition to traditional terror and counterterror activity, both sides are engaged in a public relations and propaganda war, employing the media, willingly and unwillingly, to support their positions. Hovering over these war campaigns are information technologies, which include the Internet. This article provides an introduction to various online content concealing practices that have been employed by those seeking to conceal or limit access to information on the Internet, including terrorist organizations. Further, there is a discussion on tracking and monitoring of website visitors. After reviewing open source information and websites, this article examines techniques and technologies that are easily available to terrorist organizations -- foreign and domestic -- whose structure can be obtained through Internet websites. The article then turns to a discussion of the legal issues posed by active and passive website monitoring techniques.
Role Of Intelligence In Countering Terrorism on the Internet: Revisiting 3/11
2008 Díaz, G. and Merlos, A. Article
In this paper we argue that understanding terrorism within the new cyber environment of the twenty-first century is paramount for the intelligence services in the dawn of the 21st century. We believe that the intelligence services will have to confront this new trend in terrorism tactics in years to come whether they are fully prepared or not. This new type of threat will be one of the principal questions for intelligence services in the 21st Century.
Systematic Analysis in Counterterrorism: Messages on an Islamist Internet- Forum
2008 Renfer, M.A. and Haas, H.S. Journal
The article describes a systematic approach used by the Swiss Intelligence Service (SAP). The procedure described is illustrated by the authentic case of messages among extremists going on the Website www.islamic-minbar.com, a case that was prosecuted and brought to verdict by the Attorney General of the Swiss Confederation.
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
How A Boy Becomes A Martyr: The Dangers of Web 2.0 Technology
2008 Lyons, J. and Nutt, S. Report
This report, by the Urban Warfare Analysis Centre, is a fictitious account of how a young person in America could become a suicide bomber for an Islamic extremist group. It is the fifth in a series of reports on Web 2.0 technology and future urban warfare. All references to people, groups, and products are intended for illustrative purposes only. As such, the authors do not suggest that any of the products or organizations listed condone or support extremist activities.
Online Terror and Hate: The First Decade
2008 Simon Wiesenthal Centre Report
The Internet’s unprecedented global reach and scope combined with the difficulty in monitoring and tracing communications make the Internet a prime tool for extremists and terrorists. The Simon Wiesenthal Center has been monitoring these developments for nearly two decades through our Digital Terrorism and Hate Project. Our findings reveal that as the Internet has grown, the escalation of extremist sites has kept pace in number and in technological sophistication.
Stormfront is Like a Second Home to Me: On Virtual Community Formation by Right-Wing Extremists
2008 De Kostera, W. and Houtman, D. Journal
Although the subject of extreme right virtual community formation is often discussed, an online ‘sense of community’ among right-wing extremists has not been systematically analysed. It is argued that to study this phenomenon and to understand its backgrounds and function, the offline and online experiences and actions of those involved need to be taken into account. For this purpose, qualitative data has been collected on the web forum ‘Stormfront’, supplemented by extensive online interviews with eleven of its members. It is demonstrated that those experiencing stigmatization in offline social life regard the forum as a virtual community that functions as an online refuge, whereas those who – because of special circumstances – do not experience offline stigmatization do not display an online sense of community. It is concluded that offline stigmatization underlies virtual community formation by Dutch right-wing extremists. Because this mechanism may have broader significance, additional hypotheses for future research are formulated.
Radicals Online: The Hungarian Street Protests of 2006 and the Internet
2008 Mátay, M. and Kaposi, I. Chapter
Chapter in book, 'Finding the Right Place on the Map', Jakubowicz & Miklos Sükösd (eds.). The chapter looks at the role of the Internet in the street protests in Hungary in 2006 and examines how the protests played out online. Content analysis of extreme right-wing online media (major websites, news portals, mailing lists, discussion forums and online media in the period between 17 September and 4 November 2006)
Identity in Transition: Connecting Online and Offline Internet Practices of Moroccan-Dutch Muslim Youth
2008 de Koning, M. Article
The Internet has become the principal platform for the dissemination and mediation of the ideology of Islamic movements, ranging from purist (non-violent) to politically engaged movements to Jihadi networks. Certainly in intelligence and security circles the Internet is considered the single most important venue for the radicalization of Muslim youth. On the other hand the Internet is seen as a means for people to transcend ethnic and religious divisions that are pervasive in other spheres of life. In this paper the author argues that both premises seem to result from a lack of understanding of the relationship between online and offline realities and still more from the difficulty of ascertaining the extent to which websites influence wider audiences and users. In order to understand the reception of Internet messages the local context and the way global narratives are appropriated in the local context, should be taken into account. My argument will be based on my empirical study of the practices of Muslim youth with regard to the Internet; I will explore how they act simultaneously as performers and observers in these virtual spaces.
Studies into Violent Radicalisation: The Beliefs, Ideologies, and Narratives
2008 The Change Institute Report
This study explores the beliefs, narratives and ideologies that lead to violent radicalism underpinned by an abusive interpretation of Islam, with a view to understanding of the causes and remedies for violent radicalisation. The research was conducted through analysis and empirical data collection through 145 stakeholder and primary fieldwork interviews in four Member States; Denmark, France, Germany and the UK. The interview sample was intended to capture the diversity of the Muslim ‘field’ in each country as far as possible
Jihadi Video and Auto-Radicalisation: Evidence From an Exploratory YouTube Study
2008 Conway, M. and McInerney, L. Article
Large amounts of jihadi video content on YouTube along with the vast array of relational data that can be gathered opens up innovative avenues for exploration of the support base for political violence. This exploratory study analyses the online supporters of jihad-promoting video content on YouTube, focusing on those posting and commenting upon martyr-promoting material from Iraq. Findings suggest that a majority are under 35 years of age and resident outside the region of the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) with the largest percentage of supporters located in the United States. Evidence to support the potential for online radicalisation is presented. Findings relating to newly formed virtual relationships involving a YouTube user with no apparent prior links to jihadists are discussed.
Media, Fear and the Hyperreal: the Construction of Cyberterrorism as the Ultimate Threat to Critical Infrastructures
2008 Conway, M. Article
Analysis of the construction of the cyberterrorist threat, with the core argument that US media outlets have been significant contributors not just to the dissemination, but to the actual discursive construction of the contemporary cyberterrorist threat and, further, that it is their emphasis on the (imagined) fatal connectivity between virtual networks and physical infrastructures that makes the concept of cyberterror so powerful.