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 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.
Psychology, Crime and Law
This publication has been entered into Griffith Research Online as an Advanced Online Version.
Psychology not elsewhere classified