Building an ontology for cyberterrorism

Namosha Veerasamy, Marthie Grobler, Basie Von Solms

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contributionpeer-review

9 Citations (Scopus)


Cyberterrorism and the use of the Internet for cyberterrorism is an emerging field. Often cyberterrorism activities overlap with traditional hacking and Information and Communication Technology (ICT) Infrastructure exploitation. As a result, the defining and differentiating characteristics of cyberterrorism can easily be misunderstood. The use of an ontology specifically developed for cyberterrorism, will provide a common framework to share conceptual models. By using an ontology, the internal and external environment of a field (in this case, cyberterrorism) can be captured together with the relationships between the environments. This paper proposes an ontology to identify whether a cyber event can be classified as a cyberterrorist attack or a support activity. The role of the cyberterrorism ontological model will be to provide a better structure and depiction of relationships, interactions and influencing factors by capturing the content and boundaries in the field of cyberterrorism. The ontology will be developed using a cyberterrorism framework covering influencing factors, together with a compiled network attack classification ontology. Classes will be drawn from research carried out on the use of ICT in the support of cyberterrorism. As defined in this research, a cyberterrorism attack consists of a high-level motivation that is religious, social or political. The individual/group can furthermore be classified as having a specific driving force depending of the level of extremism or revolutionary thinking. Thus, the ontology will take into consideration the motivating characteristics that play a significant role in contributing towards the definition of cyberterrorism. Overall, this paper promotes the understanding of the field of cyberterrorism and its relation to ICT manipulation, together with the use of the Internet to support terrorism in general. Ontologies enable a common view on a specific domain to generate knowledge that can be shared and reused. Ontologies can further be populated with specific dynamic instances of information and therefore can be used to generate real-world scenarios. In this paper, the proposed ontological model will form a knowledge base for the field of cyberterrorism and will provide instances that aim to convey realistic cyberterrorism situations and support examples.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publication11th European Conference on Information Warfare and Security 2012, ECIW 2012
Number of pages10
Publication statusPublished - 2012
Event11th European Conference on Information Warfare and Security 2012, ECIW 2012 - Laval, France
Duration: 5 Jul 20126 Jul 2012

Publication series

Name11th European Conference on Information Warfare and Security 2012, ECIW 2012


Conference11th European Conference on Information Warfare and Security 2012, ECIW 2012


  • Anti-forensics
  • ICT
  • Internet
  • Propaganda
  • Social-networking
  • Terrorism

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Information Systems
  • Safety, Risk, Reliability and Quality


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