Taking Hoaxes Seriously: Characteristics of Terrorism Hoaxes and their Perpetrators


What can existing literature and available data tell us about terrorism hoaxes (i.e. those incidents that are believed to be acts of serious terrorism, but do not actually involve any real risk of harm)?

Terrorist hoaxes do not result in death or harm to people or property, but they do impose costs on governments and their populations in terms of inducing fear and draining financial resources. Because the costs of falsely identifying a serious attack as benign may be high, emergency responders and security services must treat hoaxes as legitimate terrorist attacks until there are definitively uncovered as hoaxes. A deeper understanding of hoax activity is essential to developing a means of early differentiation between hoaxes and serious attacks.

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Research Area(s):

Security and Counterterrorism

TSAS WP16-03

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