The Internet and the WWW are critical to terrorist/global guerrilla communications. On the 8th of August, I will talk with Dr. Mark Last of Ben-Gurion University of the Negev in Israel. He and his team are working on a project to apply advanced data mining techniques to unearth terrorist activity on the Internet.
Dr. Last co-authored a paper, "Using Data Mining Techniques for Detecting Terror-Related Activities on the Web" (PDF) that provides detail on the approach. This proposed system works in conjunction with an ISP (with or without their permission) to determine potential terrorist activity. If applied to ISPs (and potentially Internet Cafes) across the Middle East, it might provide a means of detecting patterns of behavior that may be used to prevent attacks.
Here is Dr. Last's biography and a list of papers he has published.
Welcome to a series of conversations dedicated to a deeper understanding of next generation terrorism and what we can do to defend ourselves against it. Each conversation will be structured like NPR's On Point or The Connection.
Our first conversation is on "Analyzing Terrorist Networks" with Valdis Krebs. Valdis has done some amazing open source analysis of terrorist networks that leverages his talents as a social network analyst. I've used his work as part of my own analysis on Global Guerrillas.
Here's how it will work. Our guest will provide a brief overview of his/her work and we will spend some time talking together. I will then open up the show for audience questions. Audience questions can be asked by:
1) a text form in Microsoft's media player (it will show up automatically when you click to listen to the show). Just type in your question and hit submit. I will ask the question for you.
2) a we-call-you teleconference (the text form in Microsoft's media player provides you the option to ask your question live on the broadcast -- just put your phone number in the form and we will call you).
An archive copy of the conversation will be available for MP3 download.
Civility is key. Please leave your politics at the door (I will). The focus is on generating new ideas.
Recap of the live show.
It's critical that we understand how terrorist networks operate, grow, and evolve. John Robb talks with Valdis Krebs on how the terrorist network that attacked on 9/11 was organized and how we can use a similar network analysis to improve our ability to protect crtical infrastructure.
Network analysis is a hot topic. It is at the core of our ability to unwind terrorist networks and how we can protect our critical infrastructure from disruption. In the first half of the show, Valdis Krebs provides insight into how the 9/11 terrorist network was organized. He demonstrates how their networked architecture provided the group both extreme robustness (against discovery) and effectiveness (an ability to get the job done). Also explored: "adaptability through recombination", dynamic network analysis, and more.
In the second part of the show Valdis and John discuss how network analysis can improve the robustness of critical infrastructure. Valdis provides insight into different types of network vulnerabilities and what can be done about them (including those in Iraq, Russia, and Saudi Arabia). We conclude with a discussion of how we can create a network of our own to counter the networks of global guerrillas.