This is a name given to the type of attack that causes the security professionals with the greatest challenge.
It’s a paradoxical name as wolves generally act in packs. The lone wolf will have only loose connection to identifiable organisations or persons who pose security threats, he might have been influenced by ideas, individuals or self-generated delusions.
The lone wolf follows no particular pattern in particular though it has been suggested after some study that many suffer from mental and social disorders.
They come from the general population and do not belong to a particular social and racial group.
The lone wolf does not belong to a command structure, he decides and he plans and he carries out the act.
Their motives can be staggeringly varied political, religious, seeking fame or playing out a fantastical delusion based on all of the conceivable motives.
Lone wolf can be a white supremacist, Jihadi or just an angry young man!
This as can be understood very difficult to detect and responded to in a timely manner in fact luck can be the biggest factor in detecting such individuals, that leaves responding which can only be based on speed , efficiency and dedicated units in the right place and the right time ,here is the element of luck again!
The terrorist groups have not be slow in utilising the lone wolf and very carefully do not connect directly and concentrate on using social media to agitate ,call out for acts or radicalise and praise.
They have had a head start on use of psychological techniques in order to motivate individuals to commit extreme acts of violence on others and on themselves.
They have also manage to create a lone wolf mentality in small groups, where small group will act in complete independence and randomness with almost no tangible association or connection with an identifiable organisation, this is different from the small cell system of old where at least one person in the cell had a veiled connection to an organisation and targets and timing and logistics would be sourced or directed and a leader or a commander could be identified upon examination.
The mass trolling for data and intelligence across all communication networks social and other wise by governments and their agencies is an attempt basically to get Lucky!