Originally Published In
Journal of Information Assurance & Cyber security
The use of the Internet by terrorists has greatly contributed to international terrorism. The Internet is a main strategic communication asset for terrorists who use online message boards and chat rooms to share information, coordinate attacks, spread propaganda, raise money, and recruit. The Internet gives terrorists a medium to legitimize, propagate, and intimidate citizens to their cause. Their strategies are based on careful analysis of human communications; thus, messages are adapted and carefully delivered to appeal to people who may need something to believe in. This study bridged the gap in knowledge by exploring, understanding, and explaining the perceptions of 10 American terrorist experts on how the use of the Internet by terrorists has shaped international terrorism. Findings of the study indicate that the use of the Internet by terrorists has shaped international terrorism, which resulted in major challenges for counterterrorism agencies in the United States and abroad due to the ability of terrorists to easily close, change, and create new websites or accounts. In addition, counterterrorism experts also have to deal with advanced encryption software and the anonymity of terrorist suspects. Terrorists are able to attract other like-minded individuals or sympathizers to their cause by using the Internet as the medium of communication. The research is significant in that it is directed at the U.S. intelligence community and international counterterrorism entities in order to make continuous improvements in the United States’ homeland security by recognizing terrorist Internet tactics so they can quickly and effectively respond to them. This requires collaboration among counterterrorism agencies and organizations in the U.S. as well as collaboration among member states.