Counter-Terrorism: Islamic Internet Resources

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March 30, 2006: There are more signs of increased Internet vulnerability to Islamic terrorists. First, there was the revelation that a British man, a Moslem immigrant, had been arrested for providing expert Internet services to al Qaeda and other Islamic terrorists. He called himself "Terrorist 007." His real name is Younis Tsouli, and he was arrested last October, as the result of capture of a suicide bomber in Bosnia..

There have been a few Internet savvy al Qaeda members and supporters in the past. Several were captured in the past four years. The 22 year old Younis Tsouli had been helping out al Qaeda for three years, stealing web resources (like hard drive space on servers he had broken into), and using the proceeds of web based theft to maintain al Qaeda's presence on the Internet. Tsouli, the child of North African immigrants to Britain, learned his skills courtesy of government efforts to spread Internet knowledge around, and give the children of immigrants better job prospects. Tsouli was particularly dangerous because he made an effort to pass on his skills to others. While Tsouli will likely be spending the rest of his life in prison, his Internet skills live on in the service of Internet terrorism.

But it get worse. In Russia, there recently appeared a website selling an easy to use hackers kit called WebAttacker. For $15, the buyer got an easy to use bit of software that enables the user to hack into, and take over, other people's computers. That makes it possible to carry out theft via the Internet, as well as provide parking spaces for files. For aspiring terrorists, this would include "how to" terrorist documents, and videos of terrorists killing people. This is all popular stuff for the terrorist wannbes, and is used to raise money, as well as for recruiting. There are currently several thousand pro-Islamic terrorist web sites out there. Not all of them have crossed the line into criminality, as Younis Tsouli did, and, taken together, they provide a good source of information for counter-intelligence organizations. Many of those "serviced" by these web sites are voyeurs, cheerleaders or just curious. But some seriously deadly people also use these sites, and to get the most of the Internet, they need people like Younis Tsouli, and products like WebAttacker.

 


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