Lone Wolves in Cyberspace

Gabriel Weimann

Abstract


Lone-wolf terrorism has been regarded as a serious threat to public safety in recent years. Moreover, the phenomenon appears to be increasing at an alarming rate. However, the gap between the perceived threat of lone-wolf terrorism, on the one hand, and the almost exclusive scholarly focus on group-based terrorism, on the other hand, indicates the need for more conceptual and empirical examinations of the lone-wolf terrorism. One perspective highlighted in this article is the use of online communication platforms. Lone-wolf terrorism has been regarded as a serious threat to public safety in recent years. After reviewing the role of these platforms for lone-wolf terrorists in general and for the “new” al-Qaeda, in particular, the paper concludes with proposed potential counter-terrorism measures applicable to this new arena.


Keywords


Lone-wolf, Communication, Internet, Social media, Open-Source Jihad, al-Qaeda

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Centre for the Study of Terrorism and Political Violence

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In 2010 the Centre for the Study of Terrorism and Political Violence launched the on-line Journal of Terrorism Research. The aim of this Journal is to provide a space for academics and counter-terrorism professionals to publish work focused on the study of terrorism. Given the interdisciplinary nature of the study of terrorism, high-quality submissions from all academic and professional backgrounds are encouraged. Students are also warmly encouraged to submit work for publication.