Countering Cyber Terrorism through Internet Media
ABSTRACT: Terrorists use a variety of messages, as well as a variety of communications media, to sway impressionable people to their viewpoint. The internet is a very effective emerging medium by which terrorists can spread their ideology. The internet allows propaganda to be disseminated in the form of blog posts, open forums, and multimedia content such as videos. Although the communication models used in propaganda are well-studied, measures of effectiveness relating to the internet have yet to be fully explored. IST proposes an innovative tool for Measuring Online Use of Social Exchanges for Terrorist Recruiting and Action Propaganda (MOUSETRAP). MOUSETRAP integrates Middle Eastern cultural and communication models into social interaction analysis for measuring the effectiveness of terrorist recruiting and propaganda dissemination. The social network metrics are tailored for extracting a social network structure from the activity on a blog or forum, and analyzes how the dynamics of this structure aid in propaganda dissemination. The metrics are calculated with respect to a given social context or propaganda content, such as religious doctrine, fear, or culture warfare, thus being able to integrate easily into culturally-specific communication models. BENEFIT: There are a broad range of uses for the underlying MOUSETRAP capabilities, spanning several user communities in the DoD, Intelligence Community, and other government and non-government organizations. Each user community will have unique requirements, fortunately our proven approach to systems engineering ensures adaptability. In order to ensure success, Team IST will initially focus on delivering MOUSETRAP to the US DoD PSYOP/MISO community. Preliminary discussions with DoD personnel and research into existing and planned systems show that a system which helps analysts to identify and understand hidden messages and communication models present in terrorist webspace, and the mechanisms by which propaganda spreads online in specific cultures is instrumental in achieving PSYOP/MISO strategic, operational, and tactical objectives, MOUSETRAP will fill this gap.
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