Al-Qaeda and other Islamic terrorist groups are rethinking their strategy,” says Dr. Robyn Torok, senior lecturer for Macquarie University’s Centre of Policing, Intelligence and Counter Terrorism (PICT), Sydney. “Social media platforms, such as Facebook, now open the way for a new form of terrorism.”
Currently undertaking her second PhD, one of the key strategic shifts Dr. Torok has identified is the utilisation of the internet and social media technologies to facilitate radicalism, extremist ideals, and ultimately recruitment into global jihad.
‘My research also explores how methods employed on social media platforms encourage new recruits to commit acts of martyrdom in the West,’ says Dr. Torok.
While relatively new to the security industry, Dr. Torok is well credentialed—most notably she received the special honour of Valedictorian from A.M.D.C Melbourne (1991) and the prestigious Dean’s award for Academic Excellence in a master’s program at the University of South Queensland (2005).
‘I’ve always had an avid interest in the security industry, but the journey really started when I attended, presented, and chaired at the 21st World Congress of Political Science conference in Santiago, Chile, 2009.’
The conference addressed global discontent and dilemmas of change—a theme that quickly made Dr. Torok realise the importance and centrality of security issues in the global arena.
Not only was Dr. Torok interested in the implications of security globally, but that conference helped to see how she personally could make a difference.
‘From that point on I set my course to be involved in the security field,’ says Dr. Torok.
So in 2010, she began tutoring in terrorism studies at Sydney’s Macquarie University.
‘I saw the importance of security and terrorism studies and how they could help professionals within government and private sectors.’
Later this year Dr. Torok will be presenting a paper at the European Intelligence and Security Informatics Conference (EISIC) in Athens, Greece.
‘My paper deals with how psychiatric power can be used as an explanatory model for online radicalisation.’
In October, Dr. Torok will also be speaking at the Cyber Security for Government conference in Sydney. Her presentation will take an in-depth look at a real case study where a Western girl was recruited into the global jihad via Facebook.
‘I’ll discuss the recruit’s phases—from the online extreme environment, online recruitment, and online jihad training through to the online mentoring which eventually lead to an act of martyrdom,’ says Dr. Torok.
Expertise in the rapidly expanding online arena is highly sought after and Dr. Torok has spoken on many occasions about the threats facing the nation and how government departments can ensure their cyber-security measures up against future threats.
With national security foremost on her mind and realising her knowledge had a practical application Dr. Torok and business partner, Mr. Eric Flis, formed the DSAN Group.
Operating as a private cyber-intelligence company the DSAN Group gives actionable intelligence to government and private sector agencies in the interest of national, homeland, and corporate security—particularly in areas where social media platforms can present a serious threat…To read more subscribe to the magazine today!