CSR, Issue 5: Networks

New issue of CREST Security Review: Networks – why they are important and how to study them

In this issue of CREST Security Review (CSR) we show how studying networks not only gives us an insight into human behaviour, but also helps us understand weak points in terrorist activities or vulnerabilities in our own defences.

Networks matter. We learn how to connect with people around us through family networks, travel to work on transport networks, spend our pay through financial networks, often with people in our social networks.

Studying networks not only gives us an insight into our human behaviour. It also helps us understand weak points in critical networks, be it food or energy supply, or in the way a company is run. When focused on security threats, examining networks can highlight weak points in terrorist activities or vulnerabilities in our own defences.

Understanding weak points in networks can be useful in both offensive and defensive applications.

The fifth issue of CSR, ‘Networks’ highlights how studying networks can help us understand security threats and how understanding weak points in networks can be useful in both offensive and defensive applications. It is available to download, read and share for free here.

Inside this issue:

  • Adam Joinson & Brittany Davidson outline why we should study networks, and how doing so can provide critical insights for security practitioners.
  • Thilo Gross discusses in depth how epidemics spread on networks.
  • Martin Everett presents an analysis of covert networks, based on the Provisional IRA.
  • Dorothy Carter and Cynthia Maupin highlight the security implications of leadership networks.
  • Mia Bloom shows us how Islamic State use the messaging service, Telegram.
  • Jeroen de Jong demonstrates how we can predict the impact of ‘bad apples’ on team performance.
  • Rosalind Searle and Charis Rice look at how trust within large organisations can be maintained, even at times of upheaval.
  • Find out what all those network diagrams mean in the ‘Bluffers Guide To Networks’ infographic.

In each issue of CREST Security Review, we also feature articles outside of our special focus. In this issue we look at research on community reporting of potential terrorist threats. Building on an earlier study in Australia by Michele Grossman, she and Paul Thomas have been funded by CREST to replicate the study in the UK. Their article presents some early findings on how people feel about reporting on their friends or family members.

We also feature an introduction to the far-right landscape by Benjamin Lee, which we’ve also created a guide on, you can download the CREST Guidehere.

About CREST Security Review

CREST Security Review is a quarterly magazine produced by the Centre for Research and Evidence on Security Threats (CREST).

It provides a gateway to the very best knowledge and expertise on understanding, mitigating and countering security threats, providing research-based answers to real-world problems.

Each issue includes articles focused on a particular topic; past issues have addressed information elicitation, cyber security, the transmission of ideas, beliefs and values and what happens after Islamic State. You can read all the issues free here


CREST is funded by the UK’s security and intelligence agencies to identify and produce social science that enhances their understanding of security threats and capacity to counter them.

CREST also receives funding from its six founding partners (the universities of Bath, Birmingham, Cranfield, Lancaster, Portsmouth and West of England).

Its funding is administered by the Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC Award ES/N009614/1), one of seven UK Research Councils, which direct taxpayers’ money towards academic research and training.

The ESRC ensures the academic independence and rigour of CREST’s work.

You can read and download this issue for free at www.crestresearch.ac.uk./csr/

As with all our resources, CSR is available under a Creative Commons BY-NC-SA 4.0 licence. For more information on how can you use our content please read our copyright page.