Terrorism in Cyberspace


GPM510 terrorism in cyberspace

An 8 point post-graduate subject delivered by the Australian Graduate School of Policing and Security

Apply now


We offer this subject online, with an approximate workload of 8 – 10 hours per week.

We also offer an optional 3-day classroom-based intensive class in Canberra. The times and dates of these classes vary by session.

To find out more, please email terrorismstudies@csu.edu.au.

Publicity is the oxygen that sustains terrorist organisations. In a modern world with an increasingly swift news cycle, it is important to understand how terrorist organisations and individuals formulate propaganda, and exploit communication and information strategies to accrue attention to their cause, and achieve strategic effect. In this subject, you will explore terrorist communication and propaganda operations; strategies for recruitment; cyber terrorism, and its evolution; social media and terrorism, and its adaption by Islamic State. The dark web provides further opportunities for terrorists, and you will evaluate the challenges it poses for law enforcement and security professionals. Finally, you will assess the counter measures enacted by various security stakeholders and private industry.


Upon successful completion of this subject, students should:

  • be able to demonstrate advanced knowledge of Terrorist Communication and Propaganda strategies, including historical trends, contemporary strategies, and emerging developments, in order to make assessments
  • be able to critically evaluate Terrorist Communication and Propaganda strategies, concepts, and tools, to identify patterns and make assessments
  • be able to select and apply appropriate research methods, in conjunction with open source intelligence, to develop theories regarding terrorist communication operations
  • be able to objectively and professionally challenge established theories and contribute to current debate, in order to inform professional practice
  • be able to clearly communicate complex terrorist communication theory and practice to inform specialist and non-specialist audiences

Indicative assessment

  • Key insights and Takeaways – 10%
  • Propaganda Analysis – 30%
  • Strategic Communications Assessment – 60%


The set text for this course is:

Weimann, G. (2015). Terrorism in Cyberspace: The Next Generation, New York: Columbia University Press.
Ingram, H.J.; Whiteside, C. & Winter, C. (2020). The ISIS Reader: Milestone Text of the Islamic State Movement. London: Hurst & Co.
Harmon, C.C. & Bowdish, R.G. (2018). The Terrorist Argument: Modern Advocacy and Propaganda, Washington DC: Brookings Institution Press.

Note that all of these texts offer something different and come at the subject from a different perspective, but all are by well-regarded experts in their field. Various chapters from these texts will readings within the subject, and will subsequently be made available electronically.

reading list extract

  • Weimann, G. (2016) ‘Going Dark: Terrorism on the Dark Web,’ Studies in Conflict & Terrorism, 39(3), 195-206.
  • Klausen, J. (2015) ‘Tweeting the Jihad: Social Media Networks of Western Foreign Fighters in Syria
    and Iraq,’ Studies in Conflict & Terrorism, 38(1), 1-22.
  • Kenney, M. (2015). ‘Cyber-Terrorism in a Post-Stuxnet World,’ Orbis, 59(1), 111-128.
  • Gendron, A. (2016): ‘The Call to Jihad: Charismatic Preachers and the Internet,’ Studies in Conflict & Terrorism.
  • Seib, D. & Janbek, D. (2010). ‘Terrorists’ Online Strategies,’ in Global Terrorism and New Media: The Post-Al Qaeda Generation, Taylor & Francis, pp. 43-61.

subject availability

academic year 2023

Online MODE