Lesson 6 Terrorism and Technology

Internet technology plays a significant role in people’s everyday lives, providing a more excellent sociability platform. Internet network technologies promote a hyper-social society bringing together large groups of like-minded individuals around the world. However, growing concerns that the rising internet and information revolution facilitates terrorism and extremism activities.

The internet provides similar platforms for extremists and terrorists as it does to the rest of the population. They can collaborate, communicate, and convince (Von Behr, Reding, Edwards, & Gribbon, 2013), making it easier and effective to execute terrorisms and extremism activities. The development of internet technology has translated into significant restructuring and reorganization of society’s functioning. Since terrorists and violent extremists form part of the community, the researchers widely accept that the internet contributes to radicalization. The Internet promotes radicalization in the sense that it brings together the world into a global village, enhancing connection and interaction with like-minded people worldwide 24/7 (Von Behr, Reding, Edwards, & Gribbon, 2013).

Terrorist and extremist groups can take advantage of the internet to advance many of their activities, including distributing information and propaganda to radicalized groups, fundraising, and operational planning. The extremists take advantage of the internet to spread misinformation, propaganda and false rumors targeting disaffected young people and enlist financial supporters and sympathizers. Extremists and terrorist-managed media companies develop audios and video broadcasts, and messages are promoted in chat rooms, video games, online forums, and websites (Wright, 2008). There are also cyber-attacks by extremist groups.  For instance, the mujahideen, a Muslim guerrilla group, has been creating an online warfare known as electronic jihad, which rely on the use of the internet to wage ideological and economic war against the western world. The warfare is aided by extremist hackers who use their websites to recruits volunteer members to engage in extrinsic attacks, facilitate communication, plan, and coordinate their cyber-attacks (Wright, 2008).

The rise of the internet and terrorism activities creates problems for law enforcement and intelligence officials trying to curb extremism and terrorism activities (Von Behr, Reding, Edwards, & Gribbon, 2013). However, the U.S. government is putting more effort to detect, dismantle, prevent, and defeat the threats of terrorism due to the rise in technology. In response to the growing threats of technology-aided terrorism from the domestic and foreign sources, the U.S. government has restructured its organization to combat contemporary threats through the establishment of the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) alongside the creation of policies to handle online radicalization. The DHS mainly focuses on threat prevention through risk management and analysis. The DHS conducts risk management on the specific missions and aggregate missions to facilitate informed development and utilization of limited protection, prevention, recovery, and response capabilities to the best effect of the DHS risk minimization writ large (Lexicon, 2008).

The DHS’s priority is to improve the country’s response to cyber threats and incidences, minimizing the potential damages any form of cyber-attack, extremism, and terrorism activities. The DHS has developed rapid information exchange, identification, and remediation to alleviate the damage resulting from malicious online/cyberspace activities. The government agencies are working in partnership with the industries, including communication and technologies, and formation sections to perform analysis, provide warnings of possible attacks and synchronize response efforts. There is no cybersecurity plan that can be resistant to intensive and intelligent attacks, and therefore information systems must operate when there are attacks and be resilient to restore full operations quickly. The DHS also facilitates cybersecurity training to ensure adequate personnel to detect, analyze, prevent, and defeat any form of cyber-attacks (Bush, 2003). There is, however, a concern that government efforts to combat extremism and terrorism sometimes infringe people’s civil liberty. For instance, the Patriot Act allows the court to issue a search warrant whenever a terrorist-related activity is detected or occurred (Congress 2001). To some extent, the processes result in arbitrary arrest and detention of civilians for further investigation, violating people’s freedom from arbitrary detention.

Internet network technologies promote a hyper-social society bringing together large groups of like-minded individuals around the world. Therefore, researchers link the increased use of internet technologies to promoting extremism and terrorism activities. Terrorists and extremists use social media to radicalize youths through propaganda and misinformation. U.S. government is putting more effect into detecting, dismantle, prevent, and defeat the threats of terrorism through the establishment of DHS.



Bush, G. W. (2003). The National Strategy to Secure Cyberspace, February 2003. General Security Issues, 73.

Congress, U. S. (2001). Uniting and Strengthening America by providing appropriate tools required to intercept and obstruct terrorism (USA PATRIOT ACT) act 2001. Public Law, 107-56.

Lexicon, D. R. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Risk Steering Committee. September 2008.

Von Behr, I., Reding, A., Edwards, C., & Gribbon, L. (2013). Radicalization in the digital era: The use of the internet in 15 cases of terrorism and extremism.

Wright, M. (2008). TECHNOLOGY & TERRORISM: How the Internet Facilitates Radicalization. Forensic Examiner, 17(4).