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Prof. Aaron Danis speaks about Thwarting Terrorist Use of the Internet at ANC

Prof. Aaron Danis speaking at Army Navy Club

On 26 March, IWP Professor Aaron Danis spoke to the IWP-supported Cyber Intelligence Club in Washington, D.C.  The event was held at the Army-Navy Club, and Professor Danis was the guest of IWP Chief Information Officer Dean Lane.  Professor Danis’ talk was titled “Thwarting Terrorist Use of the Internet: An ISIS Case Study.”

The talk took a high-level strategy approach to countering terrorist use and misuse of the Internet, in this case by ISIS from 2014-2018, when the group eventually was militarily defeated in Iraq.  ISIS successfully used the Internet to recruit 30-40 thousand foreign fighters to travel from around the world (including from the United States) to Iraq to fight for its evil cause.  It also raised funds and distributed a large volume of often gruesome propaganda.

Efforts by the United States and its allies were woefully insufficient at first but gained momentum during the Trump Administration’s renewed efforts to defeat ISIS with its allies under the Global Coalition to Defeat Daesh.

“There were basically three lines of effort to attack ISIS in cyberspace. First was to counter ISIS messaging on the Web and minimize its effectiveness on social media. Second was to kinetically kill/capture its cyber and media leaders and specialists on the battlefield in Iraq and Syria.  Finally, offensively attack ISIS on the Web, shut down its servers, and remove its propaganda content,” said Prof Danis.

Was the effort a success?  “By 2018, ISIS propaganda content dwindled on the web, and the number of foreign fighters slowed to a trickle.”

Future speakers include Prof. Glenn Corn, who will discuss “History of Russian SIGINT/CYBER Operations – Back to the Future” in June, and Dr. Christopher C. Harmon, who will discuss “Terrorists’ Use of the Range of Media” in July.

Cyber Intelligence Club members at the Army Navy Club
Cyber Intelligence Club members at the Army Navy Club