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March 26, 2015 0

ISIS Cyber Unit Announces More Hacks

Hacker(s) iden­ti­fy­ing as “ISIS cyber army” claimed respon­si­bil­ity for hack­ing fifty-one Amer­i­can web­sites on March 24.

Screenshot of the defaced websites

Screen­shot of the defaced websites

Each of the hacked web­sites was defaced with the flag of the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS), a state­ment that the web­site was “Hacked by Islamic State [sic],” and an e-mail address for the ISIS cyber army, the unit believed to be behind the cyber activ­i­ties of ISIS. In the past, the ISIS cyber unit  claimed respon­si­bil­ity for involve­ment in a series of attacks against a num­ber of Israeli web­sites.

The recent ISIS cyber-attack tar­geted a vari­ety of web­sites, rang­ing from sim­ple online retail stores to forums to help preg­nant women—all web­sites per­ceived to be tech­ni­cally vulnerable.While the attack does not show a high level of tech­ni­cal capa­bil­i­ties by ISIS, it demon­strates their com­mit­ment to engag­ing directly in cyber warfare.

Tweet from ISIS Cyber Army: "...message to the dog of the Jews, #Obama"

Tweet from ISIS Cyber Army: “…mes­sage to the dog of the Jews, #Obama”

Accord­ing to a tweet by the ISIS_cyberarmy Twit­ter account , the recent cyber-attackwas a mes­sage to “the dog of the Jews, Obama.” ISIS and its sup­port­ers have reg­u­larly referred to Pres­i­dent Obama as a “mule of the Jews,” and the phrase “dog of the Jews” may be a vari­ant of this.

The ISIS_cyberarmy Twit­ter account, which appears to have been sus­pended as of March 25, was pre­vi­ously fol­lowed by more than a thou­sand ISIS supporters.The account pub­lished the urls of the hacked web­sites and linked to a state­ment on justpaste.it, a file-sharing web­site reg­u­larly used by ISIS and its sup­port­ers to post infor­ma­tion, which also included the list of hacked web­sites and the seal of what appears to be the ISIS cyber army. The state­ment on justpaste.it started with an Islamic prayer in Ara­bic and included the seal of the ISIS cyber army.

Record­ings show­ing the defaced web­sites were also posted on Aljyyosh (“the armies” in Ara­bic), an online forum for Arab hack­ers, which in the past has been a hub for anti-Israel and anti-Jewish hack­ers. The videos show the hacked web­sites defaced with ISIS flags and an e-mail address of the ISIS cyber army.

In the past, sev­eral promi­nent hacker groups launched cyber-attacks in sup­port of ISIS, but recently ISIS esca­lated its cyber activ­ity by claim­ing direct respon­si­bil­ity for hack­ing per­sonal infor­ma­tion of 100 Amer­i­can mil­i­tary per­son­nel and pub­lish­ing the infor­ma­tion on a “hit list.” These hack­ings are the lat­est exam­ple of what appears to be direct activ­ity by ISIS’s cyber unit.Earlier this year, social media accounts of the U.S. military’s Cen­tral Com­mand were hacked by a group that claimed to be act­ing in sup­port of ISIS.

This capa­bil­ity to engage in cyber-attacks may be a reflec­tion of ISIS’s calls for sup­port from indi­vid­u­als with var­i­ous skills, from media experts to doc­tors, to join and con­tribute to the group and its ter­ri­tory how­ever they can.

The tac­tic of hack­ing U.S. web­sites may also be related to ISIS’s calls for small-scale and lone-wolf attacks against the U.S. and its inter­ests. In the past, ISIS has recruited out­side hack­ers and hack­ing groups to under­take such cyber-attacks on its behalf.

Pro­mot­ing the hack­ings of Amer­i­can web­sites with anti-Semitic lan­guage demon­strates how ISIS’s anti-Semitic sen­ti­ment extends into its sub­di­vi­sions, includ­ing its cyber arm. Like other Islamic extrem­ist ter­ror groups, ISIS has been known to use anti-Semitism to appeal to fol­low­ers.

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March 25, 2015 0

A Wave of Ugly Rhetoric Targeting Muslim Immigrants

In the last few months, some anti-immigrant activists as well as some anti-Muslim blog­gers writ­ing about Mus­lim immi­gra­tion have ratch­eted up their anti-Muslim rhetoric. Even more dis­turb­ing, some national and local polit­i­cal fig­ures have joined the ranks of those who pro­claim that Mus­lims are unable to assim­i­late into Amer­i­can cul­ture. They have declared that Mus­lims are invad­ing the coun­try with the intent to take it over.

Anti-Muslim protest in Texas

Anti-Muslim protest in Texas

This kind of anti-immigrant rhetoric is not new. The same kind of sen­ti­ment has also been directed at Latino immi­grants, par­tic­u­larly Mex­i­cans. For exam­ple, anti-immigrant extrem­ists have long pro­moted the Atzlan con­spir­acy the­ory that claims that Mex­i­can immi­grants are plan­ning on tak­ing over the South­west­ern part of the United States. Today’s focus is increas­ingly on Mus­lim immi­gra­tion, which is seen as far more insidious.

Anti-immigrant activists are using the atroc­i­ties com­mit­ted by ISIS (Islamic State of Iraq and Syria) and Mus­lim extrem­ists to gen­er­ate fear about all Mus­lims, includ­ing Amer­i­can cit­i­zens. Anti-immigrant blog­gers such as Colorado-based Frosty Wooldridge (until recently a board mem­ber of the Fed­er­a­tion for Amer­i­can Immi­gra­tion Reform) and California-based Brenda Walker use vir­u­lent anti-Muslim rhetoric to demo­nize Muslims.

To read more see: A Wave of Ugly Rhetoric Tar­get­ing Mus­lim Immigrants

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March 23, 2015 1

New FBI Hate Crime Training Manual Published

This week the FBI pub­lished an updated hate crime train­ing man­ual. The excel­lent new guide is the sin­gle most impor­tant, most inclu­sive hate crime train­ing resource avail­able for law enforce­ment officials

DOJ sealThis ver­sion of the Bureau’s Hate Crime Data Col­lec­tion Guide­lines and Train­ing Man­ual  includes new def­i­n­i­tions, train­ing sce­nar­ios, and a spe­cial con­sid­er­a­tions sec­tion to help police offi­cials effec­tively iden­tify and report the new cat­e­gories of crime man­dated for col­lec­tion for 2015 – includ­ing hate crimes directed at Arabs, Sikhs and Hin­dus. The first edi­tion of the man­ual, pub­lished in early 2013, included guid­ance on how to define and iden­tify gen­der and gen­der iden­tity hate crimes, based on require­ments set forth in the Matthew Shep­ard and James Byrd, Jr. Hate Crimes Pre­ven­tion Act(HCPA).

The FBI has been track­ing and doc­u­ment­ing hate crimes reported from fed­eral, state, and local law enforce­ment offi­cials since 1991 under the Hate Crime Sta­tis­tics Act of 1990 (HCSA). The Bureau’s annual HCSA reports pro­vide the best sin­gle national snap­shot of bias-motivated crim­i­nal activ­ity in the United States. The Act has also proven to be a pow­er­ful mech­a­nism to con­front vio­lent big­otry, increas­ing pub­lic aware­ness of the prob­lem and spark­ing improve­ments in the local response of the crim­i­nal jus­tice sys­tem to hate vio­lence – since in order to effec­tively report hate crimes, police offi­cials must be trained to iden­tify and respond to them.

Although the newest data from the 2013 Hate Crime Sta­tis­tics Act report showed hate crimes have been declin­ing, the num­bers are still dis­turbingly high.  The addi­tion of anti-Arab, anti-Sikh, and anti-Hindu hate crimes for 2015 demon­strates the Bureau’s com­mit­ment to pre­vent­ing and coun­ter­act­ing these crimes.  After the tragic mur­der of six Sikh wor­ship­pers in Oak Creek, Wis­con­sin in 2012, col­lect­ing data on Arab, Sikh, and Hindu vic­tims of hate crimes became even more urgent. This updated FBI hate crime train­ing man­ual is a cru­cial step in the work to address these crimes.

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