[ISN] Islamists seek to organize hackers' jihad in cyberspace

InfoSec News isn at c4i.org
Fri Aug 26 04:20:57 EDT 2005


By Shaun Waterman
August 26, 2005 

A Web forum for Muslim extremists is calling on its members to
organize an Islamist hackers' army to carry out Internet attacks
against the U.S. government.
The site has posted tips, software and links to other resources to
help would-be cyber-warriors.
The Jamestown Foundation, a District-based nonprofit with a history of
extensive ties to the CIA, said that it has monitored postings on a
new section of an extremist bulletin board called al-Farooq.
According to Jeffrey Poole, a researcher for the foundation, the forum
"represents a how-to manual for the disruption and/or destruction of
enemy electronic resources, including e-mail, Web sites and computer
The new section was set up two weeks ago, according to a briefing
written by Mr. Poole and distributed by the foundation, which added
that one member of the forum has called for the creation of an
Islamist organization, which he dubbed "Jaish al-Hacker al-Islami,"  
the Islamic Hacker's Army.
The would-be Islamist cyber-warrior, who calls himself "Achrafe,"  
pointed out that organization of large numbers of attackers is a key
force multiplier in some forms of Web warfare -- such as denial-of-
service attacks in which the target's servers are bombarded with so
many requests for information from other parts of the Internet that
they effectively are shut down.
The foundation described in detail a "hacker library" maintained on
the al-Farooq site, offering special software that can be used to
steal passwords; tools and tips on anonymous Web surfing; and programs
the site says can destroy or disable a target computer if installed on
Ron Gula, a former National Security Agency official who worked on
computer security issues, said that many of the hacking efforts made
by such groups are "amateurish" and "lost in the background noise" of
other hackers and Internet criminals.
"Between 1 and 5 percent of the Internet is infected [with viruses,
spyware, worms or other malicious software] at any one time,"  Mr.
Gula said.
So-called keystroke logs -- which record every letter typed into a
computer -- were among the programs offered for download on al-Farooq.  
The software can be used to learn passwords and log-in information.
Once the program is clandestinely installed on a computer, typically
via a virus or an unwitting download, the records of the key strokes
are transmitted to the hacker, giving him access to password-protected
computer systems.

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