This book encompasses a set of lectures presented during the Advanced Training Course (ATC) Countering Isis Radicalisation in the Region of South-East Europe (CIRACRESEE), organized in the city of Ohrid, Republic of Macedonia between April 3–7, 2017 and officially supported by NATO – Emerging Security Challenges Division of Science for Peace and Security Program, G. 5257.
The CIRACRESEE ATC was set up and performed by the Joint Training Simulation & Analysis Center (JTSAC) of the Institute of Information and Communication Technologies, Bulgarian Academy of Sciences, Sofia, Republic of Bulgaria, as a NATO member nation, and locally hosted and supported by the Military Academy ‘Gen. Mihailo Apostolski’, University of Goce Delcev – Stip, Republic of Macedonia as a Partnership for Peace (PfP) nation.
JTSAC was officially founded in 2007, and today combines both research & educational efforts in a sustainable knowledge capacity throughout a proven expert team, supported by a valuable partner network. Being at the forefront of global digitalization, the center aims to provide appropriate strategies for coping with the modern security threats and challenges of socio-technological hybridization for the integrated security sector. Special attention is given to creative research and training in the fields of cyber security, crisis & emergency management, defense planning & assessment, future threat analysis, modeling and forecasting, psycho-physiological monitoring & stimulation of human factor response, distributed CAX in mixed cyber-physical realities. JTSAC has been distinguished with a number of awards and much appreciation for this work, which has already been ongoing for 10-years, as well as for numerous successfully concluded security studies, analyses, research and applied projects results funded by the Bulgarian government, EU, NATO, USA, UN and the non-governmental sector.
The main objective of the CIRACRESEE ATC five-day training program was to provide participants from the integrated security sector in the region (including representatives from Albania, Bulgaria, Bosnia Herzegovina, Croatia, Slovenia, Republic of Macedonia, Montenegro and Serbia) with information and knowledge about global trends with regard to the use by ISIS of cyberspace, as well as accentuating the importance of resulting social and technological challenges. In addition, in-depth analysis of how these trends are influencing the region of South-East Europe was performed.
The results aim to facilitate important regional cooperation among the participants from NATO and its Partner countries in South-East Europe; cooperation which is an essential component in building societal resilience to terrorist use of cyberspace and its negative technological implementations.
The course topic was addressed from strategic/political, legal and technical perspectives. Furthermore, participants were engaged in creating future regional policy proposals to counter ISIS use of cyber space by engaging political, strategic, legal and technical components.
This book presents thirteen chapters, selected from the academic lectures and practical case studies presented during the CIRACRESEE ATC, with the objective of providing readers with a comprehensive analytical outlook from socio-cultural, organizational and technological perspectives. Particular attention is given to the importance of successfully countering terrorism in the region of SEE using new cyberspace opportunities, and coping with emerging socio-technological security challenges. The team of authors includes well-known academics and security professionals with internationally proven expertise in their areas of work.
The course was opened by the former Minister of Defense, HE Mr. Zoran Jolevski, Republic of Macedonia, who welcomed the trainees and guests on behalf of the country and explained to participants and media representatives the huge importance of countering ISIS terrorism in the region of South-East Europe successfully and quickly, marking this as a serious problem that requires a joint effort if it is to be effective. He also noted the key role of NATO in integrating these security efforts sustainably. The course co-directors, Prof. Zlatogor Minchev (JTSAC Director and NATO Co-Director) & Prof. Mitko Bogdanoski (Military Academy ‘Gen. Mihailo Apostolski’ and PfP Nation Co-Director) appreciated Mr. Jolevski's positive message, and responded to his political line with scientific and analytical support. They also greeted the participants, and acquainted them with the objectives of the CIRACRESEE ATC and program.
The course's keynote address by Alan Brill, Senior Managing Director at Kroll Associates, Inc., USA, appears in the first chapter of the book. The content gives a broad overview of what has been happening and why the danger of terrorist misuse of cyberspace is not only possible, but virtually certain. The lecture also outlines the mediating role of the evolution of crypto currencies in this process. A final discussion on the necessity of establishing the cyber security plans and forces of member nations and allies for the effective protection of multiple critical infrastructure facilities, and of assure the successful countering of the new security challenges, and of cyber terrorism in particular, forms part of the conclusion of the chapter.
The second chapter, from Prof. Velizar Shalamanov, until recently NCIA Demand Managing Director of the JTSAC team, gives an outline of the NATO evolutionary approach to cyber defense for the successful countering of modern terrorism. A proposal for using this as a reference implementation model in the development of national capabilities and cooperation for the successful fighting of cyber-terrorism in South-East Europe is further presented. Some allied benefits from the application of innovations in the working format of the military, government, academia and industry, with joint experimentation and training for the effective countering of terrorism in the cyber domain, are also discussed.
The third chapter, prepared by Prof. Predrag Pale, University of Zagreb, Croatia, describes cyber and modern terrorism interactions, noting a threefold role for cyberspace: facilitator, instrument and target. Some options and tools for the State countering of terrorism using technologies, information space and human capacity before, during and after the activity are presented, as well as an argument of some legal aspects of the problem. A concluding discussion covers successful modern counter-terrorism measures, and citizens' rights and freedoms.
The fourth chapter by Prof. Zlatogor Minchev, JTSAC Director and CIRACRESEE ATC, NATO Co-Director, outlines the methodology for addressing the proactive analysis of hybridized emerging digital society threats and the challenges of phenomena such as cyber terrorism, criminal activities in cyberspace, social engineering and other negative socio-technological tendencies. The solution is to attempt to generalize the input of CIRACRESEE ATC participants, both expert and empirical, implementing future foresight of morphological & system-of-systems analyses. A concluding machine validation of probabilistic results is finally implemented. Some key findings, priorities and perspectives, in the context of securing South-East Europe region specifics and achieving a successful countering of terrorism globally in the new digital age are discussed at the end of the chapter.
The fifth chapter, from Prof. Mitko Bogdanoski, ATC PfP nation Co-Director, Military Academy ‘Gen. Mihailo Apostolski’, Republic of Macedonia, provides a study on the nexus of possibilities for potential targets of attack offered to terrorists by cyberspace. The study also discusses the proper understanding of terms like ‘terrorist use of cyberspace’, ‘cyber attacks’ and ‘cyber terrorism’. Furthermore, it covers the aspect of ‘cyber terrorism’, as one of the future potential threats against national and global security, also noting the potential for attacks on critical infrastructure.
Brig. Gen. Prof. Metodi Hadji-Janev, Military Academy ‘Gen. Mihailo Apostolski’ eminent expert & Republic of Macedonia and until recently a Defense Attaché in the USA, now adjutant to the country President, is the author of the sixth chapter, which addresses the reality of the threats posed by those radical Islamic extremists affiliated with terrorist organizations. A practical exploration of how these individuals and groups use/abuse cyberspace to extend their agenda is also given. Some recommendations that South-East European governments need to consider as to whether they are prepared to protect their societies and Euro-Atlantic values are finally discussed.
In the seventh chapter Dr. Zeynep Ünsal, security researcher from CSRC-Global, Turkey, describes the situation of radicalism as ‘politically motivated violence’, and examines the Balkan region, while also offering an explanation of the role of terrorism, radicalism, Islamic history and the Salafist/Wahhabi movements. Some concluding remarks on countering rising radicalism as an element of terrorism with regard to individuals/groups from the area are also included.
Dr. Aleksandar Nacev, until recently Director of the Directorate for Security of Classified Information, Republic of Macedonia & Dr. Dimitar Bogatinov and a leading ICT security expert and young researcher from the Military Academy ‘Gen. Mihailo Apostolski’ have authored the next two chapters in the book. Chapter eight delivers a comprehensive overview of recent methods which employ the internet and social media used for recruitment purposes by ISIS terrorist groups, noting some examples and nuances concerning their motivation and resultant rapid radicalization. The authors also state the importance of properly and comprehensively understanding ISIS in order to counter further successful terrorist activities by implementing a ‘whole of society’ approach. In the ninth chapter the authors' team also gives a brief technological review of the recent evolution and implementation of key Artificial Intelligence (AI) techniques in modern complex cyber defense. They express the belief that AI is expected to guarantee the successful and intelligent countering of terrorist activities via cyberspace, placing the accent on the current and future critical infrastructure protection of ICT components in the new cyber world.
The tenth chapter is by Joe Whittaker, a young PhD candidate and researcher from Swansea University, UK, and explores the role of online radicalization, with attention for the internet, and modern social media in particular. The author provides both a literature review of the problem and an empirical analysis with real case studies. Additionally, a discussion on the current driving vs facilitating role of the internet for terrorism, extremism and online radicalization is presented, following social understanding and influence from a Western perspective.
In the eleventh chapter, Dr. Ivica Simonovski, financial expert from Cyber Security, Corporate Security and Crisis Management Initiative, Republic of Macedonia, notes the importance of controlling and protecting the international financial system, which has a key role in the economics of global terrorism. An overview of different terrorist funding schemes, criminal activities, threats and attack vectors via cyberspace with an active human-in-the loop role towards the critical infrastructure of the financial sector is outlined. The conclusion emphasizes the importance of public-private partnership and sustainable support for countering the financial funding sources for terrorist activities.
The twelfth chapter in the book is from Dr. Elisa Canzani, a young researcher from IABG, Germany. The study aims to provide some insights on the use of modeling and simulation as an approach for supporting the better understanding of decision-makers of the complex interrelationship between terrorism and cyber space, and explores different cyber-risk scenarios. The overall aim is to stimulate multidisciplinary research that will bridge practice and theory in a sufficiently complex synergy. At the end of the chapter, some further developmental ideas are also discussed from the perspective of future success in comprehensively facing the challenges of modern terrorism in the new cyber age.
In chapter thirteen, Karl Schelps, Managing Director and Senior Consultant at Enfina – Security, s.r.o., Czech Republic focuses on the ‘Segregation of Duties’ and ‘Know your Customer’ techniques as risk-based measures to counter terrorism, providing a comprehensive anti-money-laundering approach from a financial perspective. Concluding remarks cover digital verification of recipient's identities and the necessity for the sharing of information, and transaction and registration data, by the international community in the context of the successful countering of global terrorism funding.
Several key findings, priorities and perspectives for the future expectations of the South-East Europe security landscape can be extracted from CIRACRESEE ATC participant feedback:
– The upcoming technological trends will mostly support the prevention and early warning of future terrorist activities in the region, giving a mostly positive nuance to the new digital progress.
– The role of third -party players will remain uncertain as regards recruitment and radicalization of new terrorist members, using different social, economic, religious and technological motivation approaches.
– Multi-stakeholder integrated security sector cooperation at both a national and international level could generate a reasonable environment for successful and resilient strategies for coping with new and upcoming hybrid phenomena.
– A common and harmonized strategic and legal framework should be established in order to produce a sustainable base for information, knowledge and experience exchange, taking into account cultural, demographic, economic and religious regional peculiarities.
Apart from these generalized outlines, it must inevitably also be noted that no single nation, culture or religion can achieve peace and security at home while ignoring the modern terrorist threats posed to others globally. Thus, the significant importance of the regional cooperation of NATO allies for the successful meeting of these new security challenges cannot be overstated.
We hope that training activities such as the CIRACRESEE ATC held in Ohrid, Republic of Macedonia, and other similar collaborative projects, will assist in the multinational effort to fight the threat of global terrorism, while at the same time establishing a knowledgeable and resilient network capacity in the field.
Prof. Zlatogor Minchev
CIRACRESEE ATC NATO Co-Director
Prof. Mitko Bogdanoski
CIRACRESEE ATC PfP Co-Director