'Dark Web' searched for terrorism clues

Feb. 22, 2012 at 2:52 PM
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TUCSON, Feb. 22 (UPI) -- Mathematical tools and techniques can be used burrow deep into the Internet to uncover extremists discussing and plotting terrorist acts, U.S. researchers say.

Researchers involved in the "Dark Web Project," a program started partly in response to the 9/11 terrorist attacks, say they have developed algorithms that, along with Web trawling techniques and human expertise, can track the spread of dangerous ideas through certain rogue and jihadi Web forums, ScienceNews.org reported.

The Dark Web Project, at the University of Arizona, collects information from blogs, forums and other Web sites from hidden realms of the Internet below what is known as the publicly indexable Web.

Analyses of the "Dark Web" forums suggest that the longer participants are involved in such forums, the more violent their messages become, researchers said.

Using a mathematical model used by epidemiologists to describe the transmission of disease, researchers said they've determined the "infection" rate for becoming a suicide bomber is 2 in 10,000.

"Violence in social media is infections of the mind," Arizona researcher Hsinchun Chen told the annual meeting of the American Association for the Advancement of Science.

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