Mock terrorists decisions’ concerning use of the internet for target selection: a red-team approach

In this study we sought to identify which locations appear more, or less, attractive to a terrorist in planning an attack and to investigate what attributes of those locations influence preferences. A sample of undergraduate university students (N = 147) were given the role of terrorists, and provid...

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Bibliographic Details
Published in:Psychology, crime & law
Main Author: Romyn, David J. (Author)
Contributors: Kebbell, Mark R. (Author)
Format: Electronic Article
Language:English
Published: 2018
In:Psychology, crime & law
Year: 2018, Volume: 24, Issue: 6, Pages: 589-602
Online Access: Volltext (Resolving-System)
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Summary:In this study we sought to identify which locations appear more, or less, attractive to a terrorist in planning an attack and to investigate what attributes of those locations influence preferences. A sample of undergraduate university students (N = 147) were given the role of terrorists, and provided with five potential attack locations, including a pedestrian mall, a shopping center, a train station, a university and an airport. After using the Internet to learn about the target locations, participants placed the locations in rank-order from most to least preferred as targets and indicated why they had selected those targets. Results showed both a clear rank-order of target preferences: locations perceived as being more crowded were more preferred, while locations with a greater security presence were less preferred. Results also demonstrated a moderate positive correlation between the amount of online information viewed for a specific location and the preference for that location as a terrorist target, where participants who viewed more online content for a particular location were more likely to also prefer that location as a terrorist target. Findings from this study can potentially be used to reduce the likelihood of a terrorist attack occurring on specific locations, by altering the publicly available information on that location regarding the security and how crowded that location is.
ISSN:1477-2744
DOI:10.1080/1068316X.2017.1396332