In Volume 3, Issue 38 (October 3, 2006) of the Global Terrorism Analysis, published by the Jamestown Foundation, an article announcing the release of a hacking tool for Muslim groups was highlighted. The article is written by Abdul Hameed Bakier, an intelligence expert living in Jordan, who specialises in counter-terrorism and crisis management.
Below we provide our take on the news, a response from WUJS who released the GIYUS software a few months back and a copy of the original article for reference.
You can comment at our forums.
You may also want to see our section on Hackers and team evil who have attacked this site as well as many Israel sites from peace projects to car companies.
From my understanding of the tool offered, this is a DDOS (Distributed Denial of Service) attack. Each computer using the tool floods the server with data and under the heavy load the server crashers. More on DDOS and preventing it.
What's interesting about this tool however is that rather than take over vulnerable machines, the hackers are asking people to volunteer. The account of the machine attacking a server in this way can be traced. Normally this does little good as at best one can contact the computers administrator, inform them they've been hacked, and ask them to secure the machine. With this voluntary involvement people using the tool can be traced and reported to law enforcement. As their action was intentional they will be most likely be liable for prosecution, or at best monitoring by security services.
There is also an interesting comparison between GIYUS which was released by WUJS to support Israel and keeps people informed of news stories and encourages them to vote in online polls and send e-mails (productive engagement using free speech) and this sort of tool used by Islamists to silence critics, remove free speech and threaten those who don't conform to their will. Perhaps the use of "weapons" says something about the larger issue as well.
In response to this report Jonny Cline, the Executive Director of the World Union of Jewish Students, wrote to Zionism On The Web saying
The DDOS tool spoken about here is actually the very antithesis of the GIYUS initiative. The GIYUS approach is to encourage free speech and the exchange of ideology. It was obvious from the get go that all, pro just as much as against, would download the GIYUS tool and learn where and how to influence the balance of public opinion, but that is the beauty of true freedom of thought and ideology. To silence the opinion of the other is an act of cowardice, to encourage free exchange is an example of the power of free expression.
Andre Oboler, for ZionismOnTheWeb.org
by Abdul Hameed Bakier
The latest criticism of Islam being a violent religion, which was sparked by incendiary comments made by Pope Benedict XVI, has caused internet jihadis to launch a new website called Electronic Jihad, located at http://www.al-jinan.org. The purpose of the website is to help organize an electronic jihad against websites that insult Islam and Islamic sacred figures. The site has been well publicized on more established jihadi websites. Jihadi forums are posting quotes from the Quran in order to encourage and convince jihadis and regular Muslims of their duty to engage in electronic jihad and to attack anti-Islamic sites in order to shut them down. Furthermore, postings from August on the Electronic Jihad site already claim that they successfully shut down the Israeli website http://www.haganah.co.il. Thus, it seems that while street protests in response to Western criticism of Islam have died down in the Islamic world, the battle is still raging on the internet.
The way that the Electronic Jihad site works is by coordinating and organizing its users and followers. The website offers programs that those willing to engage in the electronic jihad need to download. Currently, there are two main programs that the website is offering. The first program is used for hacking attacks. The second program, when installed, places a toolbar on the user's computer that connects automatically to Electronic Jihad and acquires data containing the specific date, time and target site for the attack. When that time arrives, the user simply has to run the first hacking program, select the target site to be attacked and then allow the program to do the rest. The key to these attacks is that they must be done simultaneously by many different users so that they can overload the target site. The hacking program is called the Electronic Jihad Program 1.5 (Silver Edition). One individual in palestinianforum.net claims that the program was designed by a Saudi national.
The website also lists the results of previous electronic attacks, noting that it had hacked 14 anti-Islamic websites successfully, although it did not provide the addresses for these websites. The site also claims that one server hosting an anti-Islamic site acquiesced to their threats and suspended the site. The site owners remind Muslims of the harm done by anti-Islamic groups that have hacked into Islamic sites and turned many of them into pornographic websites. To convince indifferent Muslims of the importance of electronic jihad, the site has a link to a report on the al-Jazeera Forums site mentioning Electronic Jihad's achievements in shutting down anti-Islamic websites (http://www.aljazeeratalk.net/forum). The al-Jazeera report, however, does not identify the attackers as "jihadis," but rather as hackers and pirates.
On the Electronic Jihad website, the moderator of the website claims that the site organizers do not belong to any specific Islamic group or sect, instead pointing out that they are fighting on behalf of all Muslims, united under one flag to defend Islam. The website domain, however, is registered to an "Ahmad Adel" who has an Iraq mailing address, although it is not clear whether this is a false name and address. The site itself appears to be hosted by Saudi Arabian company IBTEKARAT.com, based in Saida. Software companies and programmers will, eventually, figure out ways to counter the hacking programs used by Electronic Jihad, but it will only hold off the determined jihadis temporarily until they devise other methods to attack sites that they believe offend Islam.