Computer Crime Research Center


Hackers vs terrorists: online anti-jihad

Date: July 31, 2005
Source: Sun online
By: Pete Bell

The Web has become the latest frontline in the war against terror.

With the world wide web increasingly used as the main instrument of propaganda and communication for extreme religious groups like al-Qaeda, MI5 and patriotic hackers have formed an unlikely alliance to close down their sites.

Prime Minister Tony Blair announced this morning the Government would be looking at options to tackle the problem.

Alarmingly, experts believe al-Qaeda’s master hacker is running the terrorist group’s central communications hub from the UK.

Impressionable youngsters are targeted through the web by sinister fringe organisations posing as religious groups, as terror organisations recruit gullible young men by bombarding them with lies about western Governments and hysterical calls to Jihad.

Neil Doyle - an expert in terrorists' use of the internet and author of the book Terror Tracker - believes since the July 7 bombings, MI5 have changed their tactics in the cyber-war.

An MI5 unit monitors suspect websites constantly and Mr Doyle believes that since the first London bombings, rather than simply watching the sites and harvesting them for intelligence, agents are actively working to get the sites closed down.

And he says patriotic hackers are joining in to help.

Talking exclusively to the Sun Online, he said: "Al-Qaeda has pioneered the use of the Internet and it has a high number of computer specialists among its ranks. They are able to use a wide variety of methods to mask where they are operating.

"They are continually innovating and adapting to stay one step ahead of their pursuers.

"But they occasionally make mistakes. It's my understanding that the person considered to be al-Qaeda's master hacker is operating out of London right now.

"Britain is al-Qaeda's central communications hub and much of its online activities are co-ordinated from here.

"There are signs that the British security services are now pushing hard to close off their communications channels. Most of the best-known UK jihad sites went off the air on July 7 and that has now spread to the Middle East."

He added: "MI5 is known to have a team of computer specialists who are devoted to monitoring these kinds of sites.

"The policy in the past seems to have been to let these sites continue to operate and sit back and soak-up the intelligence. It looks like that's now been abandoned and they've gone on the offensive.

"We also see civilian hackers who have mounted something of an online anti-jihad.

"The role of patriotic hackers in taking down extremists websites is clouded in deep secrecy, as it is illegal. The FBI has put out a statement in the past warning them to stop or face prosecution.

"The simple rule of thumb is that if a site has gone down quickly, maybe within minutes or hours after first being identified, it's likely to be hackers. Hosting companies and the authorities are usually slow to react and often nothing can be done, unless there's been a clear breach of the law.

"If it's a borderline freedom of speech issue, then it's likely that there will be little that the authorities can do and the hosting company is likely side with its customer.

"Cyber-terrorism and physical terrorism go hand in hand. The bombers need secure communications and funding and the internet provides both of these things.
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2005-09-02 00:05:06 - Your blog is very interesint Anelia
2005-08-19 02:40:49 - War is bad. Oliver Twist
2005-08-01 18:36:42 - Poor Nieve person, Look they are only... IriEmON
2005-07-31 12:05:49 - can I say something like negative to your... G
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