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May 6, 2014 0

Moroccan Ghosts Hackers Deface Jewish Websites In U.S.

The Moroc­can Ghosts, a polit­i­cally moti­vated hacker group that tar­get­s the web­sites of Jew­ish insti­tu­tions in the United States, struck again last month when it defaced the web­sites of four Jew­ish insti­tu­tions belong­ing to the Union for Reform Judaism.moroccan-ghosts-hack-jewish-institutions-facebook ghosts

The hack­ers defaced the web­sites of Jew­ish insti­tu­tions in Col­orado, New Jer­sey, Mass­a­chu­setts and Geor­gia with an image of an indi­vid­ual wrapped in what appears to be a Pales­tin­ian flag and a state­ment say­ing, “When injus­tice becomes law … Resis­tance becomes a duty.”

A state­ment boast­ing about this lat­est cyber-attack on the Moroc­can Ghosts Face­book page read:  “Hack­ing 4 for­mal Zion­ist tem­ples in Amer­ica or in more accu­rate words [4] dirty places to con­spire and plot against Palestine.”

In response to the hack, ADL con­tacted Face­book to alert them to the page claim­ing respon­si­bil­ity for the hack and to urge them to inves­ti­gate the sit­u­a­tion. The Face­book page has sub­se­quently been removed.

In 2012, Moroc­can Ghosts defaced Jew­ish con­gre­ga­tional web­sites with their logo and an hour-long video deny­ing the Holocaust.

This lat­est cyber-attack is part of a larger trend of polit­i­cally moti­vated hack­ings tar­get­ing the web­sites of per­ceived sup­port­ers of Israel. ADL offers guid­ance to Jew­ish insti­tu­tions regard­ing online and dig­i­tal security.

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April 25, 2014 1

Revolution Muslim Leader Sentenced To 2.5 Years For Threatening Jews

Yousef al-Khattab, the co-founder and for­mer leader of Rev­o­lu­tion Mus­lim (RM) was sen­tenced today to 2.5 years in prison on charges of threat­en­ing Jews and Jew­ish institutions.yousef-al-khattab-revolution-muslim-sentenced-prison

RM, a fringe anti-Semitic Mus­lim orga­ni­za­tion that jus­ti­fied ter­ror­ist attacks and other forms of vio­lence for many years, was mostly active in New York until the end of 2010, after which it was shut down and began oper­at­ing as Islam Pol­icy.

Al-Khattab’s sen­tenc­ing makes him the last of RM’s lead­ers to be imprisoned.

Al-Khattab, a.k.a. Joseph Leonard Cohen, cofounded RM in 2007 with Younes Abdul­lah Muham­mad, and served as the group’s amir (leader) and “chief exec­u­tive offi­cer” until Decem­ber 2009, when he announced that he was mov­ing to Tetouan, Morocco.

Al-Khattab’s threats against the Jew­ish com­mu­nity on the RM site were both exten­sive and shock­ing. They included a video encour­ag­ing view­ers to seek out the lead­ers of Jew­ish Fed­er­a­tion chap­ters in the U.S. and “deal with them directly at their homes;” direc­tions to spe­cific Jew­ish facil­i­ties along­side a link to a man­ual for con­struct­ing and using explo­sive devices and a mes­sage encour­ag­ing read­ers to “make EVERY attempt to reach these peo­ple and teach them the mes­sage of Islam;” and a poem list­ing ways that Jews can be hurt includ­ing throw­ing “liq­uid drain cleaner in their faces” and burn­ing “their flam­ma­ble sukkos while they sleep.”

Although it is no longer active, the RM site con­tin­ues to influ­ence home­grown extrem­ists. Terry Lee Loewen, who attempted to bomb the Wichita Mid-Continent Air­port in Kansas in Decem­ber 2013, claimed to have been influ­enced by the site and allegedly had been send­ing money to the fam­ily of Younes Abdul­lah Muham­mad.

Addi­tional home­grown ter­ror­ists asso­ci­ated with the RM web­site, YouTube chan­nel and asso­ci­ated online forums have includ­ed Zachary Chesser, Samir KhanJose PimentelCar­los Eduardo Almonte, Mohamed Mah­mood Alessa, and Colleen LaRose (“Jihad Jane”).

ADL recently released a report explor­ing the influ­ence of online extrem­ism, includ­ing detailed infor­ma­tion on RM’s impact.

Yousef Al-Khattab was born in New York where he was raised as an obser­vant Jew. He later lived in Israel.  He claims that he con­verted to Islam fol­low­ing a series of online con­ver­sa­tions focus­ing on rejec­tion of Judaism and hatred of Jews.

Al-Khattab expressed remorse in court and claims to have denounced his past views, and reg­u­larly posts rejec­tions of them on Face­book and Twit­ter. This rep­re­sents a change from as recently as Feb­ru­ary 2012, when al-Khattab released a 20-minute video on YouTube express­ing his belief that he will be arrested and defend­ing the state­ments he has issued online over the years.

Today’s sen­tenc­ing fol­lows al-Khattab’s Octo­ber 31, 2013 guilty plea.

The other lead­ers of RM, You­nis Abdul­lah Muham­mad and Zachary Chesser, were sen­tenced to prison in 2012 and 2011 respectively.

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April 4, 2014 0

Online Terrorist Propaganda & The Boston Marathon Bombing Anniversary

boston-marathon-bombing-anniversary-inspire-online-terrorism

Com­mem­o­ra­tive graphic of Boston bomber Tamer­lan Tsar­naev in Inspire magazine

In the year since the Boston Marathon bomb­ing, which resulted in three deaths and over 260 injuries, ter­ror­ists groups that jus­tify and sanc­tion vio­lence have inten­si­fied their efforts to reach, recruit and moti­vate home­grown extrem­ists by adapt­ing their mes­sages to new technology.

Ter­ror­ist groups and their sup­port­ers are not only using social media and other Inter­net plat­forms to spread their mes­sages more quickly and effec­tively than ever before, but also to recruit adher­ents who live in the com­mu­ni­ties they seek to target.

A new ADL report, Home­grown Islamic Extrem­ism in 2013: The Per­ils of Online Recruit­ment & Self-Radicalization, explores the impact sophis­ti­cated ter­ror­ist pro­pa­ganda has had on a new gen­er­a­tion of home­grown extrem­ists. Face-to-face inter­ac­tion with ter­ror­ist oper­a­tives, the report con­cludes, is no longer a require­ment for radicalization.

Inspire mag­a­zine, for exam­ple, which is designed to engage and recruit sym­pa­thiz­ers in the U.S., has become a sta­ple of domes­tic ter­ror­ism, pro­vid­ing ide­o­log­i­cal jus­ti­fi­ca­tions encour­ag­ing attacks on U.S. soil as well as var­i­ous sug­gested meth­ods of attack. Inspire con­tained the very bomb-making instruc­tions that were used by the alleged Boston Bombers to con­struct their bombs in an arti­cle called “Make a Bomb in the Kitchen of Your Mom.”

The newest issue of Inspire, released last month, pro­vides detailed instruc­tions on how to build car bombs and includes sug­ges­ted loca­tions for where to plant them in var­i­ous U.S. cities. The author notes, “The Amer­i­can gov­ern­ment was unable to pro­tect its cit­i­zens from pres­sure cooker bombs in back­packs, I won­der if they are ready to stop car bombs!”

The ADL report also explores the other Amer­i­can cit­i­zens and per­ma­nent res­i­dents impli­cated in the U.S. on terror-related charges in 2013 and over the past five years, not­ing how many were directly influ­enced by ter­ror­ist pro­pa­ganda eas­ily acces­si­ble online.

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