Get Ready for the Next Wave of E-Jihad
The electronic jihadis are distributing malicious toolkits that make it so easy to attack web sites even a holy warrior can do it, with a slick admin program that uses virus-compromised ‘zombie’ computers: ‘Electronic Jihad’ App Offers Cyberterrorism For The Masses.
The “Electronic Jihad Program” is part of the long-term vision jihadi Web site Al-jinan.org has to use the Internet as a weapon, something that affects any organization that relies on the Web.
Electronic Jihad allows users to target specific IP addresses for attack in order to take any servers running at those IP addresses offline. The application even includes a Windows-like interface that lets users choose from a list of target Web sites provided via the Al-jinan site, select an attack speed (weak, medium, or strong), and the click on the “attack” button.
The concept of “electronic jihad” is a relatively recent strain of cyberterrorism interested in very specific network and economic disruption, Dorothy Denning, a professor in the Department of Defense Analysis at the Naval Postgraduate School, told InformationWeek. Its audience consists of malicious Islamic hackers aligned with Osama bin Laden, al-Qaida, and the extremist Islamic movement. “The attacks from jihadists are interested in taking Web sites down and disrupting economies that they don’t like,” she added. “It’s something to be taken seriously.”
U.S. businesses would be greatly impacted by any large-scale cyberattacks against either them or the country’s critical infrastructure because most of that infrastructure is run by companies in the private sector. The government and the U.S. business community “are one-in-the-same target,” Andrew Colarik, an information security consultant who holds a Ph.D. in information systems security from the University of Auckland, told InformationWeek. Even businesses that don’t run critical infrastructure elements could be affected because “there’s a cascading effect if you attack the infrastructure.”
The latest version of Electronic Jihad software, 2.0, is designed to quickly update its list of target sites and to work with different Internet connection speeds. The application is also described as being capable of using different proxies to override government Web site blocking technology, Abdul Hameed Bakier, an intelligence expert on counterterrorism, crisis management, and terrorist-hostage negotiations, wrote in a recent report for the Jamestown Foundation, a Washington, D.C., think tank established on Sept. 11, 2003, to study and analyze global terrorism. “In the past, different jihadi groups practiced cyberattacks on anti-Islamic websites, but they were never able to sustain a long, organized campaign,” Bakier wrote in the June 26 edition of Jamestown’s weekly Terrorism Focus publication. He noted that Al-jinan is not only operating continuously but is developing new techniques to enhance the technology and methods of promoting electronic jihad. “With the spreading use of the Internet in the Arab and Islamic world, the number of users engaged in some form of electronic jihad is likely to increase substantially,” he added.
In addition to supplying the online weapons for cyberattack, the Al-jinan site also serves as a forum for learning attack techniques as well as other information that can be used in electronic jihad efforts. One emphasis is on the need for jihadis to organize synchronized mass cyberattacks on Web sites that they believe are critical of Islam. Electronic Jihad users set up an account name and password, which lets the site register the number of hours the user spends attacking targets and post the names of those who scored the highest. One attacker spent the equivalent of 70 days attacking sites.