John Jay College Cyber-Terrorism Project Selected For New Homeland Security Center of Excellence

John Jay College Cyber-Terrorism Project Selected For New Homeland Security Center of Excellence

John Jay College Cyber-Terrorism Project Selected For New Homeland Security Center of Excellence

April 28, 2020 — 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 (see press release).

Goal “to prevent a potential ‘cyber-9/11.’”– Prof. Josh Freilich

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 all work on the project, which will study and aggregate ideologically motivated cyber-attacks.

“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 was has been working on this 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.’”

“Working with the Department of Homeland Security, Professor Freilich and his colleagues will transfer their expertise researching violence in the United States to cyberspace, where they will search for patterns and evidence to help locate future cyber-terror threats,” said John Jay College President Karol V. Mason. “This is a great example of how John Jay’s criminal justice experts adapt and evolve their research to help solve new problems.”

This 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 these 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.

About John Jay College of Criminal Justice  
An international leader in educating for justice, John Jay College of Criminal Justice of the City University of New York is a Hispanic Serving Institution and Minority Serving Institution offering a rich liberal arts and professional studies curriculum to 15,000 undergraduate and graduate students from more than 135 nations. John Jay is home to faculty and research centers at the forefront of advancing criminal and social justice reform. In teaching, scholarship and research, the College engages the theme of justice and explores fundamental human desires for fairness, equality and the rule of law. For more information, visit and follow us on Twitter @JohnJayCollege.