Locating cyberterrorism: How terrorism researchers use and view the cyber lexicon

Lee Jarvis, Stuart Macdonald

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This article reports on findings from a survey on the concept of cyberterrorism from researchers working in twenty-four countries across six continents. Our aim is to contribute to the definitional debate in this area by exploring the boundaries between cyberterrorism and potentially related terms. Focusing on two questions from our survey in particular, we ask: First, how does cyberterrorism relate to adjacent concepts such as hacktivism, cybercrime and cyberwar? And, second, how familiar, frequently used, and useful are these concepts amongst the global research community? Our findings include: First, high levels of familiarity with the terms cyberwarfare, information warfare and cybercrime. And, second, concerns over, and widespread avoidance of, other terms including cyber jihad and pure cyberterrorism. The article concludes by exploring the importance of these findings for definitional debates around cyberterrorism and terrorism more broadly, before outlining a number of suggestions for future research.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)52-65
Number of pages14
JournalPerspectives on Terrorism
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 2014


  • cyberterrorism
  • terrorism
  • terrorism studies
  • definition
  • cybercrime
  • cyberwar
  • hacktivism
  • survey

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