A John Jay College of Criminal Justice project on cyber-terrorism is one of 13 selected by the Department of Homeland Security as part of the National Counterterrorism Innovation, Technology, and Education (NCITE) Center, a new DHS Center of Excellence. The project will be housed at the University of Nebraska at Omaha.

John Jay College Criminal Justice Professor Joshua Freilich, along with Ph.D. candidate Emily Greene-Colozzi ’16, ‘22 and Master’s of Forensic Psychology student Karla Sosa ‘20 will work on the project, which will study and aggregate ideologically motivated cyberattacks.

“We are examining the social and developmental life histories of individuals committing ideologically motivated acts of cybercrime, or who harm virtual targets through the use of computer hacking and fraud, and targeted violence through online platforms,” said Professor Freilich, who has been working on the project over the past year with professors at Michigan State University. “Combined with research on the link between reporting of suspicious activity and pre-planning behavior, we hope to improve our cyber-listening abilities to prevent a potential ‘cyber-9/11.’”

The new NCITE project builds off an in-progress study funded by DHS through its center of excellence CAOE at Arizona State University. It will create a new, unique dataset – the Cyber-Extremist Crime Database (Cyber-ECDB) – which will track ideologically motivated cyberattacks against U.S. targets from 1998 to present.

Freilich, Greene-Colozzi, Sosa,and their MSU collaborators began compiling the data last year, using the same open source methods used to create both the U.S. Extremist Crime Database (ECDB), and the U.S. School Shooting Database (SSDB).

Consortium Members NCITE boasts a 63-person consortium across the U.S. and one international partner. In addition to John Jay, other experts are from Stanford University, King’s College London, University of Maine, Pennsylvania State University, George Washington University’s Program on Extremism, University of Central Florida, San Diego State University, Chapman University, Michigan State University, SUNY-Albany, University of Oklahoma, University of Nebraska-Lincoln, University of Nebraska Medical Campus, the National Security Research Institute and Research Triangle International.