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Internet the new frontier in war on terror

Date: September 06, 2004
Source: Pretoria News
By: Graeme Hosken

The Internet is being used as one of the world's biggest instruments of mass destruction and South Africa is not immune.

This, says Israeli University Internet terror expert, Professor Gabriel Weimann, comes as thousands of terror organisations are beginning to recruit, plan and order attacks from throughout the world, including South Africa.

Speaking at a conference on cyberterrorism at Unisa, Weimann said the Internet was a terrorist organisation's most powerful tool. "These organisations which used to use the Internet for fundraising and propaganda are now turning to it for recruitment, training and psychological warfare."

Weimann, speaking on a report highlighting the uses of the Internet by some of the world's 4 300 terrorist organisations, said it was increasingly being used because of its easy access, its few controls and regulations, anonymity of communication, fast flow of information, the fact that it was inexpensive and its ability to shape coverage in the traditional mass media.

He said all of this was evident in the Iraq war where terror organisations had posted video recordings of hostage executions on the Internet.

"This helps to boost their organisation by creating panic and outrage in the home countries of those they have killed," he said.

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