The previous decade has been characterized by advancement in technology and spread of radical ideologies throughout many nations. Today, technology is not a retain of the developed countries. Even developing countries have get admission to to high technological equipment. Human beings are increasingly turning into dependent on the internet for a number of services. It has become common for authorities institutions to offer a couple of services via the internet. Technology has revolutionized political, monetary and social life of human beings. Radicalization has been promoted with the advancement in technology. There exists a hyperlink between advancement in technology and the unfold of radicalization. This essay attempt to explain how development in technology is promoting radicalization in the world today.
The challenge of online radicalization can arguably constitute cybercrime or contribute to cybercrime efforts using technology for recruiting member across the globe for terrorist attacks. Cybersecurity agencies located across the globe work around the clock preventing and mitigating such recruiting efforts using a variety of techniques, software, and hardware to pinpoint groups trying to recruit new members using the latest technology. As technology continues to evolve and creating new avenues for extremist groups to operate, the game plan for cybersecurity must also adapt accordingly. This paper will outline the latest software, applications, and websites that are being used by extremist groups around the world and how they manipulate it to their advantage. It will also consider how these efforts can be minimized and prevented by cybersecurity experts as well as the general online user. Anonymity plays a considerable part in the online presence of radical groups. Being able to know when you are becoming a target could mean the difference between preventing a future attack and becoming the next victim to online radicalization.
Technology has become a primary tool used by terrorist to promote propaganda (Jarvis, MacDonald, & Chen, 2015). Terrorists have been able to spread radical information from one region to another with ease in the process winning more members of the public to join terrorist movements. Unfounded information related to terrorism is propagated in the form of multimedia communications containing ideas or philosophies about terrorist activities. The internet has become a means through which practical instruction from experienced terrorism is passed to members of the public. Explanations on how to conduct or carry out radical activities are shared using the internet via social platforms such as Facebook (Wadhwa & Bhatia, 2016). People with extremist ideologies have also been using the internet to communicate with the public and justify their activities. Radical content in the form of pictures, videos, magazines, audio clips, and treatises are shared among members using the internet (Kshetri, 2015). It is not easy to differentiate legitimate content related to terrorism and propaganda. Sometimes the public accepts any information about radicalizations, which advances the interest of the radicals. The spread of information on any issues is not prohibited. International laws recognize the right to expression as fundamental in any society. Human beings therefore can share their opinions on issues without seeking public approval. Sometimes, what an individual promotes or shares online is not accepted as it supports extremist ideologies, which pose a threat to peace and stability of online users. Online users are cannot prevent spread of certain information despite the nature of the contents and its ability to compromise values of society. For example, it is not permitted to share sexual content online due to its ability to affect vulnerable groups such as children below specified age limits who use the internet. Communications by radical groups through the internet pose a security threat. Those who propagate such information have not been held accountable on many occasions that promotes the spread of extremist ideologies.
Online propaganda promotes violence in a community (Jones, 2016). Content related to violent shared online rapidly reaches a broader population compared when such material is shared using other means of communication. The internet has also reduced reliance on traditional means of communication such as magazines, newspapers, and journals, which could easily be controlled in the process limiting the spread of radical ideas (Scanlon & Bhatia, 2016). Conventional methods of communication also provided a means of validating information before it is disseminated to the public thus able to control radical opinions from reaching the target audience. The confrontational content was quickly modified to prevent it from spreading to readers something that does not exist in the modern society where technology is advanced. Technology has made it more manageable for a terrorist to develop and share content that stimulates the audience to take part in radical activities. People are encouraged to take up an active role in terrorism due to the option of being a virtual terrorist provided by technology.
Internet platforms are promoting radical rhetoric that encourages acts of violence. Some of the actions could be prevented if the internet never existed. Radical content formerly shared using physical media such as compact disc and digital video discs are nowadays shared via the internet. Radical movements have created websites, virtual messaging forums, and file sharing forums to promote distribution of extreme content (Omotoyinbo, 2014). The number of people accessing radical material is still growing. The ease of access to radical content complicates the fight against terrorism. The internet has created many loopholes that promote sharing of radical information while making it harder to control how many people will have access to the material.
Information disseminated by terrorists online covers multiples issues targeting various communities. The internet allows the creation of specific information to reach a particular target audience. The internet provides information directing people to or from acts of terrorism. Radical details on terrorism may be dedicated to actual or potential radicals. The information may intend to recruit new members to join the liberal movements or accept ideologies related to the extremist groups. The information is aimed at radicalizing the consumers to make them appreciate terrorism and take active roles in the movement activities (Neumann, 2013). The information shared is also used to plan and execute radical actions that can affect peace and stability of a community. Radicals also use the internet to solicit for funds to carry out their activities.
The internet plays a significant in enrollment of individuals with extreme opinions to join terrorist groups (Archetti, 2015). The internet is used to establish a relationship between extremist and people willing to join the movement. Many people with radical ideas are using the internet to solicit for support from people who appear to sympathize with the activities. Terrorists are increasingly using password-protected sites and internet restricted chat groups to recruit new members (Goldgeier & Suri, 2015). Before one is allowed to join the movement, they undergo a series of radicalization to ensure by the time of recruitment the finest out of all those who apply are considered. The sites also provide a means of inducting recruits to what the radical movements do and how the people can take part in the activities without the knowledge of security agencies. Technology has also been used to provide barriers to entry to online recruitment sites. Many sites prompt user to have passwords before being allowed access to the online sites that complicates initiatives by security agencies to track down terror-related activities and bring culprits to book.
Young people constitute the most significant percentage of internet users (Jones, 2016). Coincidentally this group is typically targeted for the furtherance of radical philosophies. Information that promotes radical ideologies dominated via the internet are packaged to be most appealing to the youth. It is common for radical content to be shared in the form of cartoons, famous music that resonate well with the target group and computer games. Advanced technology has made it easier to create customized content that appeals to youths and can be accessed from different places by the teenagers (Kramer, Starr, Wentz, & National Defense University , 2009). Technology has enabled terrorists to develop cartoon stories and narratives that promote violent behavior or gratifying those with radical ideologies. It is typical for radical content shared via the internet to praise those take part in extreme activities such as suicide attacks. Some online games favorite among the youths are specifically designed to recruit and train people how to become radicals in society. Most of the games promote the use of violence against a state, certain people in the community or religions. The games provide virtual success, which encourages the youth to continues taking part in the activities. The games are designed in local languages that resonate well with the youth.
Use of technology to incite acts of terrorism is on the rise due to development in technology. The internet provides a means of accessing potentially harmful information that promote acts of radicalization (Kshetri, 2015). Through the internet, radical groups can create, edit and allow innocent victims download material that supports extremist activities. It has been reported in many civilizations radical groups are resorting to the internet to distribute article that glorifies acts of terrorism in the process provoking the public to take part in the activities. It should be taken into account that propaganda and actual sharing of electronic material with radical ideas have different effects if a society but both contribute to the growth of terrorism. Some countries have enacted rules on how to deal with the two issues separately. In many countries, it has become common to prevent incitement to terrorism to protect security and promote public order by limiting freedom of expression (Archetti, 2015). Nevertheless, in this age of the internet, it has become challenging to restrict the freedom of speech. Technology facilitates expression of ideas while concealing the source. It has become common for people to create fake profiles on social media sites and use it to promote radical ideologies.
Online radicalization does not end when members are recruited to join the movements or incited to take part in extremist activities. Online radicalization goes on to indoctrinate members of the public with doctrines that promote radical ideologies (Jarvis, MacDonald, & Chen, 2015). Radicalization will involve keeping the members informed on what their colleagues are planning and how they go about militant activities.
Online radicalization requires the use of modern technological equipment such as computers. Those who facilitate the crime must have resources to go about their activities. They need to pay for utilities such as power consumed while using the electronic gadgets and the cost of maintenance of the facilities. The internet has become a suitable venue where they can solicit for funds and receive the payments. Today, there exist direct solicitation where radicalized groups seek monetary fund’s using websites, chat groups, mass mailings and communication to specific groups requesting for financial aid (Kshetri, 2015). Technology facilitates online payment or transfer of money. Funds can be transferred electronically using electronic wire transfer and credit cards. Furthermore, online payment system such as PayPal, and Skrill, which are have been made possible by advancement in technology, have been exploited by radical groups when soliciting for funds to finance their operations (Neumann, 2013).
Terrorist exploits online payment options for their selfish gains. Radical groups can fraudulently access stolen credit and use to transact. The teams can also conceal their identity while using electronic means of payment. Cases of people wiring money to various online payments account have been on the rise which points to the fact radical groups are exploring the internet to promote their activities (Omotoyinbo, 2014). Moreover, monetary support given to charitable organization can be diverted to extremist groups. It has become common for revolutionary movements to set up philanthropic activities that enable them to solicit for money. The money is received online hence contributors to do not have an opportunity to interact with beneficiaries to ascertain their legitimacy.
The internet has become an alternative training ground for terrorism-related activities. Many online sites that provide practical guides of how to plan and execute radical operations have been created (Scanlon & Bhatia, 2016). An individual who accesses the sites can get instruction in the form of online manuals, audio and video clips with violent information to equip the target audience with particular knowledge and skills. Through the internet, many people have been able to learn how to create explosives, how and what to do before joining a militant group and how to plan and execute radical activities. The internet has facilitated the availability of available information is the various format and languages convenient to the target audience. Advancement in technology has made it possible to share methods of promoting extreme motives and examining situations before executing radical plans. For example, the Al-Qaida used to publish periodicals and distribute them using the internet (Jarvis, MacDonald, & Chen, 2015). The publication contained potential information extremist could use to train at home how to become conduct radical activities in the society. The editions provided a lot of information that persuaded readers to carry on with militant events as they were fighting a holy war. Renowned radicals used the platform to train new members on how they can launch attacks and evade prosecution. Information found on the internet is also being used to counter intelligence operations (Kramer, Starr, Wentz, & National Defense University , 2009). Many hacking activities have also be carried out with the aim of improving illicit communication. Encryptions tools and anonymizing techniques familiar with the modern technology are being used to conceal the identity of radicals while helping them advance their activities. The internet bridges distance thus building a sense of community among radical in various locations, with diverse backgrounds and experiences leading to creation of a deadly network that shares information, conducts training virtually and share knowledge on how to best advance radial philosophies.
The internet is increasingly becoming a valuable tool for planning radical activities. Remote communication facilitated by the internet and other modern technological devices make it easier for culprits to plan and execute their operations (Goldgeier & Suri, 2015). Remote connection from various individuals makes it more accessible for involved parties to carry out the activities with courage and evade law-enforcing agencies. The internet makes it possible to obtain information from distant persons, prepare an attack based the information and communicate feedback on how efficient the process was. The internet’s ability to bridge distance and the vast amount of information it can transmit within a short time promote terror-related activities. Radicals have been acquiring modern communication equipment that enables them to conceal identify when planning attacks. Extremists can create e-mail accounts with fake details, use the information to prepare for an attack and pull down the email before security agents detect the plan (Wadhwa & Bhatia, 2016). The minimal electronic trace left makes it hard to investigate the incident and know where instruction came from or whom the perpetrators were. Encryption tools and anonymizing software can easily be downloaded making it easier for culprits to go about their activities.
With advancement in technology, it has become more accessible to develop, disseminate and consume online content. Many organizations are using the internet to promote their activities while streamlining their interaction with the public. Terrorists are increasingly using information available online to plan attacks against other people or public and private institutions of interest. Internet search engines sometimes catalog and retrieve confidential information that promotes activities of radical groups. Additionally, terrorists are using latest mapping technologies to advance their selfish interests. They are now using online applications such as real-time closed-circuit television footage and mapping applications such as Google Earth, which were developed for legitimate purposes to advance their interests (Kshetri, 2015). The mapping applications available online provide high-resolution satellite images, maps, and information about terrains in the process enabling radical groups to plan and execute their ill motives with ease from remote locations. Social media has also become an integral part of people’s lives. It is common to find many people publishing a lot of information about themselves on favorite sites such Facebook, Twitter, Flickr and blogging platforms (Goldgeier & Suri, 2015). The unprecedented sensitive information on the internet is being exploited for selfish gains by radical movements. Social media users share confidential information related to himself, herself, or area where they live for social reasons but on many occasions, the information is misappropriated and used to advance criminal activities.
The internet has become the new battleground replacing physical battlefields that existed years ago. The internet is being used to promote attacks and acts of violence, which never existed several years ago. The internet is being used to cause havoc, fear, and panic in a different part of the world (Jarvis, MacDonald, & Chen, 2015). In many civilizations, issuing threats even without executing the threat amount to criminal activity. The internet is now becoming a tool for communicating with potential victims before launching the attacks and coordinate physical acts related to radicalization. Through the internet, it becomes difficult to monitor extremists’ activities being planned. It also facilitates obscuring the identity of suspects.
Computers are progressively being exploited to provide means of launching radical assaults on unsuspecting members of the public. Cyberattacks target to disrupt the proper functioning of technology by disrupting computer systems, servers and all underlying infrastructure (Scanlon & Bhatia, 2016). It is common for radicals to use hacking methods, advanced persistent threat methods, computer viruses, malware and plodding to access computer systems with malicious intent.
Despite the advancement in technology providing numerous opportunities for radical to further their activities, it has also provided opportunities to prevent the spread of revolutionary ideas. The internet facilitates the collection of intelligence that is critical in preventing or countering radical ideologies in a community (Kshetri, 2015). Law enforcing agencies are relying on technology to collect evidence to prosecute person takings part in militant activities. A lot of information regarding radicals and their unlawful activities is collected online where the culprits conduct their operations. Security agencies use the internet to learn more about a group before launching an attack. Terrorist websites, chat room, and other internet-enabled communications when carefully analyzed provide crucial information that allows prosecution of radicals (Neumann, 2013). Law enforcing agencies are developing sophisticated equipment to help tap into radicals’ network and counter their online activities.
Social media sites are also providing opportunities to present opposing viewpoints or take part in constructive debates, which can discourage potential radical not to engage in violent activities (Goldgeier & Suri, 2015). Counter-narratives with strong factual foundations are conveyer online in the form of images, video or online publications, which spread too many people with, ease discouraging them from seeking alternative problem-solving methods instead of resorting to radicalization to seek justice. Social media sites are being used for strategic communication that counters radical propaganda. Since many people are using social media sites on a daily, chances of disseminated information to counter extremist propaganda are very high.
The internet is being used to conduct surveillance and collect information relating to suspect before planning how they can be arrested. Online users should be educated on how to use technology for promotion of peace and security responsibly. Social media users should be discouraged from exposing too much information about themselves to the public (Jones, 2016). The move will help limit the amount of information radicals have relating to various members of the society. They should instead use the internet to promote awareness, understanding, and tolerance among multiple members of the community. The internet can be used to counsel radical and advise them on the need to do away with their extreme ideologies and seek alternative solutions to their problems.
From the above discussion it evident that the rapid evolution of technology has promoted radicalization. The internet has presented new opportunities, which are being exploited by terrorist for selfish motives. Radicalization activities are not done online enabling many people to take part as opposed to how the case would be in the absence of the internet. The internet today is being used to promote propaganda that helps radicalization thrive. The internet is also used to recruit people to join radical movements. Social media sites are being used to disseminate information on how to join the groups making many people able to enter the campaigns. The internet is also used to train new radical on how to plan and execute attacks. Furthermore, the web facilitates planning and execution of attacks. It has helped radicals prepare and perform assaults from remote areas. Despite promoting radicalization activities, the internet can be used to suppress radicalization activities. The internet is being used to collect intelligence related to radical that can lead to their prosecution. Social media discussions counter propaganda spread by radicals and provide facts to issues limiting the number of people willing to join the movement. Various agencies are using the internet to create strategic communication and collaboration strategies on how to counter radicalization promptly. The public needs to be educated on responsible use of the internet to prevent them being vulnerable to radical activities.
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