Illicit Activities and Terrorism in Cyberspace: An Exploratory Study in the Southeast Asian Region

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Abstract

Cyberspace is an attractive medium for computer-savvy generation of terrorists due to its anonymity, psychological impact and also it’s potential to inflict massive damage. There have been numerous studies by researchers in Europe, the Middle East and North America in analyzing the illicit activities and terrorism in cyberspace. However, there are limited studies on similar cases in the Southeast Asian region. This paper presents an exploratory research on illicit activities and terrorism in cyberspace, focusing in the Southeast Asian region. We examined the Web 2.0 media by using an automated collection and analysis tool. Our findings indicate that the Web 2.0 media hosted in the Southeast Asian region supports illicit activities and terrorism in cyberspace such as the spreading of propaganda, recruitment, as well as planning and coordination. Although our findings are still at the preliminary stage, there is a great possibility that the virtual world evolves and plays a critical role in promoting illicit activities and terrorism in cyberspace. Future studies in this area can be conducted, which may lead to the development of better strategy and policy framework to counter cyber terrorism.