Skip to comments.The Jihad Online
Posted on 07/30/2002 10:50:05 AM PDT by DaveCooper
Mouse clicking your way to martyrdom.
Are you an Islamicist with a computer and some spare time? Do you want to contribute to the jihad against the Crusaders but cant quite make the commitment to fly into buildings or strap on a bomb? Do you solemnly swear to use your talents only to destroy the Jews with God as your witness? Then you are just the kind of person being sought to join the Arab Electronic Jihad Team (AEJT), a recently announced terrorist initiative preparing to bring the Web to its knees. The AEJT seeks to bring down all Web sites in the U.S. and Israel, all Web servers, and all Web sites that members agree on destroying. The leader of the team has chosen not to erect a Web site of his own, so that nobody can attack it and thus remain the invisible hand that defeats the enemy without it knowing where these attacks are coming from. He appeals especially for members who are advanced in the art of hacking to teach us some methods they see as useful. The wily and elusive cyberterrorist whose day job seems to be running a car dealership in Syria asks prospective members to send him an E-mail to sign up. Im guessing he will be contacted by those advanced in the art of hacking, but maybe not in the way he expects.
The cyberterror threat is real, and involves activities far more dangerous than simply hacking Web sites. The Critical Infrastructure Protection Board (CIPB), which was established last October to coordinate public and private infrastructure-security programs, reports that browsers from the Mideast are probing American electric, water, and energy systems, and seem especially interested in gaining access to nuclear-power plants. Defensive measures are complicated by the lack of standard network architecture, which increases the probability of terrorists finding an exploitable seam. The CIPB has rated al Qaedas current cyber-capabilities as fairly low, though a recent message from bin Laden spokesman Abu Leith al-Libi, posted on the Canadian-based anti-American site, jihadunspun.com, announced the extension of the war to include new attacks on the enemys weak infrastructure.
Many movements use the Web as a means of organizing, recruiting and spreading information, for good purposes or ill. The pioneering Zapatista National Liberation Front has had an extensive Web presence since 1996, and the Falun Gong movement is infuriating the Chinese leadership by reaching out directly to the people in a manner the Communist state is powerless to stop. It is worth remembering that the Internet was originally conceptualized as a means of establishing and maintaining command and control during nuclear conflict or some other major disruption, so al Qaeda and its sympathizers are using the system in the manner it was intended. In one of his videos last fall, Osama bin Laden made light of the idea that the videotapes themselves were his means of transmitting operational orders, given the availability of secure communications via E-mail, FTP, and the Web. PGP-encrypted E-mails and files are difficult to break, and the terrorists also make use of the technique of steganography, in which information is hidden inside digital images. (It makes you wonder when you stumble across a site like aljihad-online.net, which contains pictures of young Arab men with no explanation why they are there.)
Of course, once information is posted to the Web, anyone can gain access to it, and Web sites are some of the best sources of intelligence for those who track insurgent groups. Almuhajiroun.com is a good place for al Qaeda information in English, as is Azzam.com, which covers most fronts in the global jihad. The Chechens are particularly Web-savvy, and numerous sites offer views of their war against Russia. One of the best us Kavkaz.org, and especially noteworthy is their video archive, which features a variety of images of war, some of which are not for the faint hearted. An extensive guide to online terror groups can be found here, and the Justice Department maintains an edited online version of the al Qaeda training manual, which is definitely worth a look.
There are of course hundreds of Web sites with either direct or indirect links to the radical Islamicists, but lately many of them have been disappearing. The terrorists have charged that the CIA or FBI or some other government organ is behind the demise of their sites, and perhaps so there is a war on after all. However, there has also been a great deal of nongovernment activity on the cyber-front. Whenever a new terrorist-linked Web site appears, its address is listed in bulletin boards frequented by the hacker community, usually with a note appended such as Have fun or ;-) no surprise if the site goes down shortly thereafter. The terrorists should understand that Americans invented these systems, we know how they work from the BIOS up, and we have the smartest, best-educated, most imaginative geek population in the history of the world. The war on terror has given hackers a socially acceptable target on which to wreak havoc with no questions asked. Why risk jail time proving you can break into a corporate headquarters when you can zap the bad guys and maybe get a medal?
A case in point: Anyone who tries to find the official al Qaeda Web site Alneda (the Call) via its most recent IP address 184.108.40.206 is greeted by a screen proclaiming Hacked, tracked, and NOW owned by the U.S.A. This is one of the several initiatives pursued by Jon David, an adult-content Webmaster who has made it his mission to frustrate the online jihadists. The porno patriot uses sophisticated software to seize Web domains when they move between hosts (which they invariably do when providers find out what is on their servers), and he has licensed or assumed control of Alneda.com, Alneda.net, Al-Qaeda.com, and nukeafghanistan.com, among scores of others. In the case of Alneda, David hijacked the domain name, put up a mirror of the original site as it appeared in June, then logged hits to the decoy site for five days using tracking software. Once the terrorists caught on that this was not their resurrected Alneda, word got out but not before over 20,000 hits per day were tracked and the information turned over to the authorities. The actual Alneda site (in Arabic) can now be accessed at IP address 220.127.116.11 hopefully not for long.
Al Qaeda has publicly denounced Jon Davids efforts, and stated that they will backfire by proliferating sites and endearing jihad to the people. Other Islamicists have charged that shutting down the Web sites is a nail in the coffin of the much vaunted and cherished American ideal of free speech. Somehow, I doubt it, especially when the speech in question calls for the murder of four million Americans. And you have to appreciate the irony of a pornographer being their bete- (or net-) noir these are the guys who would stone a woman to death for showing a little too much ankle under her burka. Given the relentless pressure on its Web assets al Qaeda seems to be giving up on maintaining sites and relying instead on posting to discussion groups or using E-mail lists. Maybe a terrorist version of The Corner is in the future, or a personal blog page, perhaps osamabinladen.com. The domain is registered to some fellow in Karachi, Pakistan...hmm, you dont suppose?
James S. Robbins is a national-security analyst & NRO contributor.
And you have to appreciate the irony of a pornographer being their bete- (or net-) noir these are the guys who would stone a woman to death for showing a little too much ankle under her burka.
God I love it!
I wonder if Donahue does this in his spare time?
On a related subject: The Washington Post today had a big story on the tardiness of our own FBI in exploiting a potential windfall of the co-option of the Aneda.com site by a Maryland man... who never got any aggressive or decisive response out of the FBI. Anyone get any leads on this type of stuff maybe should be turning it over to the CIA or maybe the NSA. This is the kind of thing that would be right up their alley, at least from a technical standpoint.
This claim has been repeated a lot, but is there actually any evidence that they have used steganography? (Yes, it makes sense that they might do so, but, in the absence of any evidence, it's inaccurate for reporters to say outright that terrorists are using steganography.)
Jihadunspun.com - Clearly Canadian
Azzam.com - appears dead now, maybe they are getting ready to move again. Was in Pennsylvania at Burst.net but it got TOS'd out, then they moved to the basement of the Elektrindo Building in Jakarta, Indonesia. (where the update rate is real slow). Conservative reporter Jeremey Reynalds and myself will take credit for that coup.
HAMAS http://www.palestine-info.cc is also in Pennsylvania at Burst.net -- That company is getting real tired of being known as the prefered ISP of terrorists (it's bad for the publicity) but they apparently have no choice in the matter. The same people that were forcing Burst.net to keep Azzam online are back forcing them to keep HAMAS online.
Hamas offers five languages and the English Hamas site has bounced from North Carolina to Sweden to to England in the past three weeks. If you are interested I can tell you how we did it.
Kavkaz.org - The Chechen Mujahideen are hosted in Washington D.C. and broadcasting with fiber optic link to the internet. At $1000/month for the bandwidth alone they've obviously got a lot left over to make a polished professional website. Could it be the American taxpayer? Weren't we giving piles of money to the Jehadis in Afghanistan and Chechnya to fight the Russians just a few short years ago. Funny how these Washington beaurocracies just keep going.
There they go again! The "moderate" "American" muslims professing the depth of their concern for American values, like free speech. Then why does the "moderates'" favorite organ, CAiR, go out of its way to flood anyone who DARES to criticize islam with hundreds of obscene and death-threat-containing e-mails, to try to get them fired from their jobs, or charge them with "hate crimes"?
These "moderates" should just SAVE THEIR BREATH!!!! We KNOW that they want only to DESTROY free speech, especially if it involves any criticism of islam. Or if it involves telling the TRUTH about islam, such as the fact that islam wants to conquer the world!!!!
Not so long ago, CAiR classified telling this truth as "hate speech" and a "falsehood". Well, if that's true, they should prove it--give us back Kosovo, Bosnia,and Constantinople, and keep their hands off of Israel!!!! I'm not holding my breath for THAT to happen any time soon!!!
Here's the English version of that site: Dear visitor, we hope that this website will help you enhance your knowledge of our Republic, its remarkable history, it will introduce you to the uniqoe centuries-old experience in peaceful coexistence of numerous brotherly peoples of Daghestan, and open before you the heart of this Land of Mountains, Masters and Poets. We wish you peace, happiness and prosperity.
Looks like the worthy Russian hackers--perhaps the same ones who helped us out during the NATO/muslim war against Yugoslavia--are in on the cyber-hunt aginst the terrorists!!!! The worthy Serbian hackers will be next!!!!
I just clicked on it again and got the offical site of the Mujahideen. I wish I could have seen the faces of the system administrators at Cogent Communications, 1015 31st Street NW, Washington, DC when they saw that Kavkaz.com had it's domain hijacked again! As you might imagine, it's happened dozens of times in the past few years. That's one of the reasons the Mujahideen have moved to Washington D.C. -- so they can be very well protected by industrial strength web security.
Unfortunately these websites can not be permanently hacked out of existence. The only solution is to apply direct pressure on the ISP to enforce a take-down. Note Azzam.com is still offline after several weeks. They have to send their news/propaganda our via email to the Jehadi sites such as the Muslim Student Association's: oureffort2001.com