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Explanatory Case Study of the Authur Pendragon Cyber Threat: Socio-psychological and Communication Perspectives

Part of the Lecture Notes of the Institute for Computer Sciences, Social Informatics and Telecommunications Engineering book series (LNICST,volume 157)


Cyber(terrorism) threats posted via social media are capable of devastating, real-world effects, including miscommunication and rumors, panic, and financial loss. This manuscript details a case study of the cyber(terrorism) threat that occurred at The University of Alabama on September 21, 2014, referred to as the Authur Pendragon incident. The Authur Pendragon threat led to a week of fear, social media hyperactivity, and the propagation of rumors, all of which reached beyond The University of Alabama campus. A timeline of the event, which includes social media posts, official University responses, and mass media coverage, are presented followed by an analysis of the case from both a socio-psychological and communications perspective. Recommendations for managing cyber threats and rumor mongering are provided as well as future research suggestions.


  • Cyberterrorism
  • Cyber threat
  • Authur pendragon
  • Rumor mongering
  • Social attachment model
  • Affiliation

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  1. 1.

    There is no consensus on the definition of a cyberterrorist threat, and the authors are not arguing whether or not the case presented is a cyber threat vs. cyberterrorism threat. Therefore, the authors will use cyber (terrorism) threat to denote this distinction.


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Correspondence to Kathryn C. Seigfried-Spellar .

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Appendix 1: Visual Timeline of Cyber Threat and Communications

Appendix 2: Collection of Pendragon Threats and Related Texts

2.1 Section 1 Pendragon Threats

Image 1: Original Threat

Image 2: Second Threat

2.2 Section 2 Cell Phone Threats

Image 1: 1st Anonymous Cell Phone Threat

Image 2: 2nd Anonymous Cellphone threat

2.3 Section 3 University of Alabama Emails

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2.4 Section 4: Social Media Posts

Image 1: Crimson White First Tweet

Image 2: Texas A&M student tweet

Image 3: GroupMe social media screenshot post

Image 4: #Pray4bama Trending on twitter

Image 4 Cont

Image 5: Arthur Pendragon conspiracy theory on Yik Yak

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Seigfried-Spellar, K.C., Flores, B.M., Griffin, D.J. (2015). Explanatory Case Study of the Authur Pendragon Cyber Threat: Socio-psychological and Communication Perspectives. In: James, J., Breitinger, F. (eds) Digital Forensics and Cyber Crime. ICDF2C 2015. Lecture Notes of the Institute for Computer Sciences, Social Informatics and Telecommunications Engineering, vol 157. Springer, Cham.

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