Reality bytes: cyber-terrorism and terrorist use of the Internet

Conway, M.  Trinity College Dublin (University of Dublin) (Ireland). ProQuest Dissertations Publishing, 2006. U221922.

Abstract (summary)

This study illustrates how terrorist use of the Net is an everyday 'reality' and one that ought to attract far more attention than it has yet received.  The study places a particular emphasis on terrorist Web sites as the vehicles for terrorist publicity and propaganda, but also seeks to balance claims about the power of 'small media', such as the Internet, against the continued dominance of the traditional mass media (i.e. 'big media'). The aim is to clarify what is meant by cyberterrorism by investigating both academic and media portrayals of the term in conjunction with an in-depth treatment of the problem of definition.  This is followed by a description and analysis of the mass-media's role in the origins of the current cyber-angst.  The spotlight is then shifted from the much-hyped cyberterrorism to an analysis of the internet as a soft power tool employed by terrorists with increasing success. The latter is achieved by the provision of a description and analysis of the five major terrorist uses of the Net (information provision, fundraising, networking, recruitment, and information gathering), with the alleged terrorist use of steganography for secure communication purposes receiving in-depth treatment.  The English-language Web sites of ten terrorist groups are the object of both a content analysis and close reading in order to determine these sites' functioning and effectiveness, and to draw out their discursive structuring and framing mechanisms respectively. A determination of audience impact is also attempted here.  Finally, the Lebanese Shi'a group Hizbollah has instituted a particularly effective cyber-strategy and so this group's Web sites are the subject of a detailed case study. In terms of conclusions: on the micro level, this text shows that the cyberterrorist threat has been over hyped and that we ought to be more concerned instead with the way in which terrorists are currently using the Internet, particularly for the purposes of information dissemination.  On the macro level, the text illustrates the way in which the Internet is contributing to the reshaping of international relations.

Indexing (details)

Political science
0615: Political science
Identifier / keyword
(UMI)AAIU221922; Social sciences
Reality bytes: cyber-terrorism and terrorist use of the Internet
Conway, M.
Number of pages
Degree date
School code
DAI-C 70/45, Dissertation Abstracts International
Place of publication
Ann Arbor
Country of publication
United States
Trinity College Dublin (University of Dublin) (Ireland)
University location
Source type
Dissertation or Thesis
Document type
Dissertation/thesis number
ProQuest document ID
Database copyright ProQuest LLC; ProQuest does not claim copyright in the individual underlying works.
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