Information Warfare: Electronic Program of Jihad


November 9, 2007: After a decade of effort, Islamic terrorists are making slow progress in developing Cyber War weapons. The latest one to appear is a program users volunteer to install on their PC, turning it into a zombie. Such a PC can be controlled by a remote operator for all manner of Cyber War tools and weapons. But this "Electronic Program of Jihad" turned out to be poorly constructed, and not yet ready for prime time.

More web sites dedicated to online terrorism are showing up (and often getting shut down quickly by intelligence agency, vigilante hackers or inept operators). Some Islamic hacker organizations have even surfaced, but often prove to be a few people, or an individual. Few of these groups appear to have much staying power.

One aspect of all this that the Islamic hackers will not boast about, is the role of crime in the recent increase of terrorist hackers. Hacking has increasingly become a game for organized criminal gangs. That's because there are so many businesses are on the web, and network software is still full of flaws to be exploited. So criminal hackers can more easily run extortion and information theft operations. The Islamic terrorists have always used crime to raise money for their more lethal operations. With more online criminal opportunities, it's only natural for more Islamic terrorists to show up. At the moment, the Islamic hackers are only talking about online terrorism. Pulling it off is not as easy as it sounds. For example, the Zotob Internet worm was quickly traced back to two Moslem men, in Morocco and Turkey, who were arrested.

The two men, had created other worms earlier, were apparently not involved with Islamic terrorism, but with criminal scams. This shows that the Islamic radicals have access to the talent needed to attempt Internet terrorism. Crafting a worm or virus is not all that difficult, but releasing it into the wild, without getting caught, takes more skill. So the Islamic hackers will have to be confident in their abilities, if they expect to carry out online attacks, and not get caught.

The biggest problem Islamic terrorists have with creating a hacker force is the generally low education levels in those countries that are most enthusiastic about Islamic terrorism. Poorly educated, and just plain poor, Islamic radicals are not likely to acquire the skills needed.


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