Online Financing of Terrorism

What is online financing of terrorism?

Online financing of terrorism comprises the provision or acquisition of financial resources on the Internet with the aim that these are used in whole or in part to carry out terrorist offenses, or at least in the knowledge that the corresponding funds are (should) used for this purpose.


A comparable definition can be found in the EU anti-terrorism regulation Directive (EU) 2017/541 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 15 March 2017 on combating terrorism.

But what is typical for online financing of terrorism?                                          How can you recognize it?

Terrorist organizations and supporters may also use the Internet to finance acts of terrorism. The manner in which terrorists use the Internet to raise and collect funds and resources may be classified into four general categories: direct solicitation, e-commerce, the exploitation of online payment tools and through charitable organizations.[1]

  • Direct solicitation refers to the use of websites, chat groups, mass mailings and targeted communications to request donations from supporters.

  • E-Commerce: Websites may also be used as online stores, offering books, audio and video recordings and other items to sympathizers.

  • Online payment facilities offered through dedicated websites or communications platforms make it easy to transfer funds electronically between parties. The transfer of funds is often made by electronic wire transfer, credit card or alternate payment facilities available via services such as PayPal or Skype. Online payment facilities may also be exploited through fraudulent means such as identity theft, credit card theft, wire fraud, stock fraud, intellectual property crimes and auction fraud.[1]

    General advice on cybersecurity and tips for a safe internet experience see ➜ [Cybersecurity]

  • Charitable organizations: terrorist organizations have been known to establish shell corporations, disguised as philanthropic undertakings, to solicit online donations. These organizations may claim to support humanitarian goals while in fact donations are used to fund acts of terrorism. Several cases indicate that the end-use of donations collected through such means was not known to donors.[1]

Help with reporting and advice can be found here:

Particularly on social media platforms, information provided by users may be misappropriated and used for the benefit of criminal activity. --> [Safety and social media]


[1] United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (2012). The use of the Internet for terrorist purposes. In collaboration with the United Nations Counter-Terrorism Implementation Task Force. Retrieved from: