Next Generation Counter-Terrorism: Identifying Iranian Hackers Via AI- Driven Social Media Monitoring

Oktober 27, 2020

Ever since the internet took off and became the best communication tool in human history, there were threat actors that wanted to use such a technology for some sort of personal gain or personal goal fulfillment. Over time malicious organizations became more accustomed to this new wave of communication and started creating their own communities online just as they do offline. A big chunk of their online footprint resides on the surface web but most of the activity takes place below the surface, within the cyberspace of the dark web. This is the place that is usually associated with cyber terrorism. When law enforcement or government authorities try to track down such malicious individuals, many problems arise with tracking issues being the main hurdle. It is situations like this that gave birth to WEBINT companies that specialize in information gathering and processing. Here is how they work:

Identifying and tracking using AI

Once threat actors are identified and their communication channels become clear, AI can completely take over the investigation and compile a very accurate report afterward. It acts upon keywords that serve as input. More accuracy in the input usually means better results at the other end but that doesn’t capture the whole magnitude of this operation. Artificial Intelligence is not only capable of understanding what threat actors are talking about and where that conversation is taking place. AI can now “listen in on the conversation”, identify human connections within a group or organization and completely reveal their future plans, if they left enough data online. In one specific situation, this software solution was able to identify 1,200 group members and identify their recruitment trail with one click and in just a few minutes. This is all thanks to data processing and information filtering.

Data monitoring and analysis

During online investigations, human-based teams usually have a hard time figuring out what part of that data is useful and what should be identified as noise. When threat actors leave an information trail online it is usually accompanied by irrelevant data that slows down such investigations and makes things a lot harder for investigators and law enforcement. Thanks to artificial intelligence this process is completely automated and autonomous. It is capable of understanding the tone of the conversation, the intention of shared data, and tracking anyone whom this data may concern. Once a network or organization is identified, only relevant data that links back to those threat actors are monitored and analyzed. This ensures maximum efficiency and lowers response times dramatically. What was once an exhausting process that may have taken years to complete can now be done with one simple click and in just a few minutes. Companies that focus on WEBINT usually have individuals with real-world experience in very high positions. This connection with the outside world and real threats that come with it helps program AI even better. Experience is key in recognizing vital and relevant data. Once AI understands and acknowledges that experience, it becomes even more efficient in this line of work.


It is becoming clear that artificial intelligence is playing a key role in cyber-terrorism prevention. Without it, many task forces would have a hard time tracking down cyber-terrorist groups and understanding their intention. AI-based crime prevention software can determine criminal intention before crimes are carried out. Cyber terrorism is the threat of the 21st century, but with the help of AI, it is now possible to understand when, where, and how acts of terrorism will be carried out. By possessing such data, crime prevention becomes a very realistic goal. At the end of the day, it is impossible to stay one step ahead if you have lost pace with technology.