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January 13, 2015 0

New ISIS Threat Campaign Capitalizes on Paris Attacks

Image from Twitter campaign

Image from Twit­ter campaign

The Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) has launched a new cam­paign on Twit­ter call­ing for addi­tional home­grown attacks in West­ern coun­tries in the after­math of the attacks in Paris last week that killed 17.

The cam­paign, adver­tised with the hash­tag #Fight­forHim was espe­cially promi­nent on Twit­ter on Sun­day, when both offi­cial ISIS accounts and mul­ti­ple sup­porter accounts Tweeted images fea­tur­ing mes­sages to Mus­lims “liv­ing in the West” and quotes by Anwar al-Awlaki advo­cat­ing “the duty of killing those who insult our Prophet Muhammad.”

Awlaki was an Amer­i­can pro­pa­gan­dist for Al Qaeda in the Ara­bian Penin­sula. He was killed in a drone strike in 2011 but his writ­ings and say­ings con­tinue to be a moti­va­tional force for extrem­ists, includ­ing the Kouachi broth­ers, who are believed to have been two of the three indi­vid­u­als who attacked the Char­lie Hebdo offices last week, and Amedy Coulibaly, believed to be one of the two indi­vid­u­als behind last week’s hostage inci­dent in a kosher gro­cery store in Paris.

At the same time, ISIS sup­port­ers are also con­tin­u­ing a cam­paign of hack­ing Jew­ish insti­tu­tional web­sites and, increas­ingly, sites that are affil­i­ated with gov­ern­ments, mil­i­tary insti­tu­tions, and other orga­ni­za­tions, replac­ing the orig­i­nal text on the site with anti-Semitic and pro-terrorist mes­sages. Mon­day after­noon, ISIS sup­port­ers claimed respon­si­bil­ity for hack­ing the social media accounts affil­i­ated with U.S. Cen­tral Com­mand.

One of the Tweets from the #Fight­forHim cam­paign fea­tures a red ban­ner image with the quote, “You are a Mus­lim? Liv­ing in the West? Being a city wolf is your task! For you are the only ones to do so! You are already ’cit­i­zens’, and no doubt you are the suit­able ones to be cho­sen for such a task. You are shar­ing the same land with them! The same busses and trains, the same neighborhoods!”

Sev­eral Tweets also fea­tured what appeared to be pages ready for inser­tion into an English-language pro­pa­ganda mag­a­zine that quoted Anwar al-Awlaki nar­rat­ing a story about a “Jew­ish leader and…very elo­quent poet” who wrote poems that spoke out against Muham­mad, after which he was killed. In the story, Muham­mad stated, “I am the Prophet of mercy and I am the prophet of war” and “he has harmed us and he has defamed us with his poetry, and none of you (Jews) would do this except we would deal with him with the sword!”

Image from Twitter campaign showing Anwar al-Awlaki

Image from Twit­ter cam­paign show­ing Anwar al-Awlaki

The three pages that make up this story are titled Char­lie, ref­er­enc­ing the mag­a­zine. In its sub­ject mat­ter, the story also can be read as sup­port­ing attacks on Jews more broadly.

These images and oth­ers were Tweeted directly from mul­ti­ple indi­vid­ual Twit­ter accounts. This may indi­cate that they were part of a coor­di­nated cam­paign run through the Dawn of Glad Tid­ings app, a Twit­ter appli­ca­tion that allows ISIS to Tweet directly onto users’ pages, thus rapidly and widely dis­sem­i­nat­ing pro­pa­ganda and enabling effec­tive hash­tag cam­paigns. Some of the images were Tweeted from between 80 and 100 accounts in minutes.

The cam­paign was sup­ple­mented by an essay writ­ten by an ISIS sup­porter that urged attacks in West­ern coun­tries and pro­vided sug­ges­tions for car­ry­ing them out.

The essay cites Inspire mag­a­zine, Anwar al-Awlaki, Osama bin Laden and ISIS as sources for inspi­ra­tion and lists mul­ti­ple cities, states, and coun­tries that can be attacked, includ­ing mul­ti­ple loca­tions in the U.S.

“Until life in Nor­way, Florida, Mon­treal, Fin­land, Lis­bon, Lux­em­bourg and Can­berra becomes…a land that burns, a sky that rains rock­ets, and cities through which wolves walk, the lions of jihad, and where breaths are con­ceal (sic) until they taste our sever­ity” it states. The essay later threat­ens addi­tional attacks includ­ing San Fran­cisco, Bel­gium, Lon­don, Madrid, Syd­ney, Rus­sia, Boston, Dal­las, Vir­ginia and Ams­ter­dam with explo­sive devices, booby traps and poison.

This essay was picked up and cir­cu­lated by offi­cial ISIS media out­lets fol­low­ing its post­ing on Justpate.it, an online pub­lish­ing site reg­u­larly used by ter­ror­ist sup­port­ers to quickly and anony­mously post text and images online.

Although the #fight­forHim hash­tag is new, calls by ter­ror­ist groups for home­grown attacks have a lengthy his­tory. In the past year, ISIS, Al Qaeda, AQAP and Al Shabaab have all called for such attacks. In the wake of the attacks in France, addi­tional groups includ­ing the Pak­istani Tal­iban, Al Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb and Al Moura­bitoun have also called for copy­cat attacks.

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March 14, 2014 1

Hackers Target Israel On Holocaust Remembrance Day

A hacker group known as Anony­mous Arab has announced plans to ini­ti­ate a cyber-attack against Israel on Holo­caust Remem­brance Day (April 7). The cam­paign, called OpIs­rael, is being pro­moted on mul­ti­ple social media plat­forms in order to attract hack­ers from around the world.  opisrael-anonymous-arab-april-7-holocaust-remembrance-day

In a state­ment on the Anony­mous Arab Face­book page, the group threat­ened to launch “elec­tronic attacks against as many Israeli web­sites as pos­si­ble.” The group also threat­ens Israeli cit­i­zens: “Your credit cards, your bank accounts, your servers … are ALL in a danger!”

Last year, Anony­mous Arab issued a sim­i­lar warn­ing around the same time to “wipe Israel off the Inter­net.” The warn­ing was fol­lowed by a series of cyber-attacks against Israeli gov­ern­ment, mil­i­tary and pri­vate web­sites, although with lim­ited results.

The Face­book page includes tuto­r­ial videos on hack­ing web­sites. One post reads, “Guys who are expe­ri­enced in the DOS Attack [Denial of Ser­vice Attacks], prepa­ra­tions must be made to attack the web­site of the Zion­ist Min­istry of For­eign Affairs.” The post specif­i­cally men­tions the Farsi lan­guage web­site of the Israeli Min­istry of For­eign Affairs.

Another post reads, “Now, Attack. Stop the ser­vice on the Israeli weapons web­site.” The post also lists tac­ti­cal instruc­tions and asks par­tic­i­pants to hide their IP [Inter­net Pro­to­col] so they can­not be tracked.

The past few years wit­nessed an esca­la­tion in cyber-attacks against Israel by var­i­ous hacker groups from all across the Arab World. Hack­ers have also increased their attacks against the web­sites of Jew­ish insti­tu­tions in the United States.

Hack­ers who tar­get Israel often claim their attack is part of an elec­tronic Jihad against the State of Israel in defense of the Pales­tin­ian peo­ple, but the tim­ing of this cam­paign to coin­cide with Holo­caust Remem­brance Day demon­strates an anti-Semitic bent.

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September 12, 2013 2

9/11 Conspiracy Cited In New Call To Hack Israeli Websites

A video mes­sage posted online on Sep­tem­ber 10th threat­ened to launch a hack­ing oper­a­tion against Israel on 9/11 under the name “OpIs­rael Reborn.”Myths Hackers Team for blog

The video, which starts off by call­ing for the oper­a­tion against Israel,  shows footage of the World Trade Cen­ter attack, Osama bin Laden, the Abu Ghraib prison in Iraq and other scenes from U.S. mil­i­tary oper­a­tions. The hack­ers claim that Israel and the U.S. are the real ter­ror­ists and imply that Israel was respon­si­ble for 9/11, a widely cir­cu­lated con­spir­acy the­ory that has been prop­a­gated by left and right-wing extrem­ists in the dozen years since the 2001 attack. Other writ­ten state­ments that appear in the video refer to the 9/11 attacks as a lie and claim that Israel does not exist, “it is Palestine.”

The video was released by an Egypt-based hacker group called “Myths Hack­ers Team.” Sev­eral other inter­na­tional hack­ing groups called for sim­i­lar attacks against Israel on 9/11 but based on Israeli media reports thus far, none of these efforts were par­tic­u­larly successful.

In the video, Myths Hack­ers Team also claimed respon­si­bil­ity for an April hack­ing oper­a­tion against Israel.

The group  has an Islamist bent and is sym­pa­thetic to the Mus­lim Broth­er­hood in Egypt, as illus­trated by var­i­ous posts on its Face­book page. It claims that it has suc­cess­fully hacked more than 200 Israeli web­sites, includ­ing the web­sites of mil­i­tary agen­cies. One post on the Face­book page reads: “We will not stop, we will not for­give, we will not for­get… it’s only the begin­ning, what is com­ing is more. We promised to start the war and it will not end until we announce that we are finished.”

The first “OpIs­rael” hack­ing inci­dent took place dur­ing Israel’s Oper­a­tion Pil­lar of Defense in Gaza last Novem­ber, when hack­ers tar­geted, and in some cases defaced, var­i­ous Israeli web­sites. A sim­i­lar hack­ing oper­a­tion timed to coin­cide with Holo­caust Remem­brance Day in April of this year was dubbed “OpIsrael2.”

Past cyber-attacks against Israeli and Jew­ish insti­tu­tions have been labeled by some Islamist activists as “elec­tronic jihad.” ADL has pre­vi­ously issued numer­ous reports about anti-Semitic 9/11-related con­spir­acy the­o­ries, warn­ing that “alle­ga­tions of Jew­ish cul­pa­bil­ity in the 9/11 attacks may even be used as jus­ti­fi­ca­tion for future acts of anti-Semitic violence.”

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