The web, it is often said, inherently benefits the insurgent. Thus it's no surprise that it's becoming the medium of choice for terrorists and violent extremist groups around the world. Tracing "terror 2.0" from the November 2008 attacks in Mumbai—arguably the first networked terrorist attack—up through the Times Square bomber, who was radicalized after watching online videos from Muslim cleric Anwar Al-Awlaki and others, this presentation will examine how terrorists are using the same tools we're developing for spreading information and social networking in the West for their own nefarious purposes—even sometimes live online to coordinate unfolding attacks. Learn how al Qaeda, the Iraq insurgency, Lashkar-e-Taiba, the Taliban, and even Russian organized crime is running scams, coordinating attacks, recruiting followers, raising money, and living their lives online alongside regular web users. For instance, the Taliban's website was, for a long period, hosted on a server in Houston, Texas, and al Qaeda's primary webmaster—who helped pass around online bomb-making guides, radical videos, downloadable extremist sermons, and hostage videos—turned out to be a 22-year-old geek in West London.
Garrett M. Graff, the editor of The Washingtonian magazine, is widely recognized as a leading expert on technology and politics. In addition to covering politics at the magazine, he teaches graduate-level internet theory and social media at Georgetown University. His first book, The First Campaign: Globalization, the Web, and the Race for the White House, laid out the impact of technology on the 2008 presidential race. Previously, Graff—a veteran of Howard Dean’s presidential campaign and the Vermont governor’s first webmaster—was the founder of mediaBistro.com’s FishbowlDC blog and the first blogger accredited to cover a White House press briefing. He’s a frequent speaker to audiences ranging from Harvard Business School to the Defense Department and Google.
His second book, The Threat Matrix: The FBI at War in the Age of Global Terror, examining the FBI’s global growth amidst the rise of terrorism, will be published in March 2011.
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