Title: Harvesting covert networks: a case study of the iMiner database

Authors: Nasrullah Memon, Uffe Kock Wiil, Reda Alhajj, Claus Atzenbeck, Nicholas Harkiolakis

Addresses: The Maersk Mc-Kinney Moller Institute, University of Southern Denmark, Campusvej 55, 5230 Odense M, Denmark. ' The Maersk Mc-Kinney Moller Institute, University of Southern Denmark, Campusvej 55, 5230 Odense M, Denmark. ' Department of Computer Science, University of Calgary, Calgary, Canada. ' Collaborative Technologies and Systems, Faculty of Media Engineering and Technology, German University in Cairo, Al Tagamoa Al Khames, New Cairo, Egypt. ' Hellenic American University, Athens, Greece

Abstract: Data collection of covert networks is an inherently difficult task because of the very nature of these networks. Researchers find it difficult to locate and access data relating to the structure and function of such networks in order to study this extreme social phenomenon. In addition, information collected by intelligence agencies and government organisations is inaccessible to researchers. To counter the information scarcity, we designed and built a database of terrorist-related data and information by harvesting such data from publicly available authenticated websites. The database was incorporated in the iMiner prototype tool, which makes use of investigative data mining techniques to analyse data. This paper will present the developed framework along with the form and structure of the terrorist data in the database. Selected cases will be referenced to highlight the effectiveness of the iMiner tool and its applicability to real-life situations.

Keywords: information harvesting; covert networks; iMiner; investigative data mining; social network analysis; terrorists; intelligence agencies; authenticated websites; data analysis; Global Terrorism Database; MIPT Terrorism Knowledge Base; RAND Worldwide Terrorism Incident Database; Terrorism Knowledge Portal; Al Qaeda; virtual organisations; web based organisations; online organisations; open source intelligence; web mining; world wide web; internet.

DOI: 10.1504/IJNVO.2011.037161

International Journal of Networking and Virtual Organisations, 2011 Vol.8 No.1/2, pp.52 - 74

Published online: 30 Nov 2010 *

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