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October 14, 2014 1

Florida Temple Latest Target For ISIS Sympathizing Hackers

Update — 10/15/14: ADL alerted Face­book about the “Team Sys­tem Dz”  Face­book page. The page was removed from Face­book by the fol­low­ing day. ADL applauds Facebook’s response to the hacker group’s effort to exploit its service. 

Last week, as Jews were cel­e­brat­ing the hol­i­day of Sukkot, a hacker group call­ing itself “Team Sys­tem Dz” attacked the web­site of Tem­ple Kol Ami Emmanu-El in South Florida, redi­rect­ing vis­i­tors to a page with mes­sages express­ing sup­port of the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS).team-system-dz-florida-temple-hackers

Vis­i­tors to the synagogue’s web­site were directed to state­ments in Eng­lish such as “I love you ISIS” and an Ara­bic state­ment promis­ing to “never for­get about the heroes of the Mus­lim Ummah [nation] who sac­ri­ficed their lives for the sake of God,” an appar­ent ref­er­ence to ISIS fight­ers. Vis­i­tors also saw an image of the Star of David crossed out next to the words, “F[ ] You Israel.

This inci­dent is the lat­est in a series of attacks against Jew­ish insti­tu­tional web­sites car­ried out by groups appar­ently based in the Mid­dle East and North Africa. While past hack­ing efforts against Jew­ish insti­tu­tions have focused on the Israeli Pales­tin­ian con­flict, more recent attacks against Jew­ish and non-Jewish tar­gets are being car­ried out in the name of ISIS.

“Team Sys­tem Dz” claimed credit for and bragged about its “hacks of Jew­ish web­sites espe­cially the web­site of the Miami tem­ple” on its Face­book page. The claim of credit noted that the attack “coin­cided with the time of one of the Jew­ish cel­e­bra­tions [and] cre­ated a big noise on media sites.” The group’s Face­book page also claims to have tar­geted other web­sites, includ­ing other Jew­ish and Israeli web­sites around the world.

Yes­ter­day the group threat­ened addi­tional attacks against Amer­i­can and Israeli web­sites. “…we will spend all the time for a mas­sive num­ber of attacks on Amer­i­can and Israeli web­sites, with God’s will they will be hacked. Curse upon Amer­ica and Israel.”

The group appears to be based in Alge­ria; its Face­book pro­file cover image includes the phrase “Proud to be Alger­ian” and other posts fea­ture Alger­ian flags and sym­bols. The “Dz” in the group’s name seems to be a ref­er­ence to the inter­net domain des­ig­na­tion for Alge­ria. Fur­ther­more, most announce­ments on the page are writ­ten in the Alger­ian Ara­bic dialect.

In addi­tion to “Team Sys­tem Dz,” the name “Jor­dan Earth­quake” in Ara­bic was also listed on the page that the temple’s vis­i­tors were redi­rected to.  “Jor­dan Earth­quake” appears to be a hacker closely affil­i­ated with “Team Sys­tem Dz.” Var­i­ous posts on the group’s Face­book page indi­cate that “Jor­dan Earth­quake” is a part­ner in sev­eral of its hack­ing operations.

The “Team Sys­tem Dz” Face­book page also con­tains mate­ri­als pre­pared by the media bureau of ISIS. The group’s Twit­ter han­dle uses sev­eral ISIS-related hash­tags and includes links to many media accounts about the temple’s website’s hacking.

Jew­ish web­sites in the U.S. have become a com­mon tar­get for hacker groups in the Arab and Mus­lim world. Below is a sam­pling of attacks launched by var­i­ous hacker groups against Jew­ish insti­tu­tions in the U.S. in the past few years.

  • In July 2014, The Moroc­can Islamic Union-mail hacker group claimed respon­si­bil­ity for van­dal­iz­ing the web­sites of Jew­ish con­gre­ga­tions in Penn­syl­va­nia and Hous­ton with mes­sages in sup­port of Gaza.
  • In Decem­ber 2013, the Tunisia based group, Fal­laga, hacked the web­site of the Missouri-based Jew­ish Radio.
  • In July 2013, the web­site of a Jew­ish com­mu­nal high school pro­gram in upstate New York was hacked by a mem­ber of the Gaza Hack­ers Team. The web­site was defaced with anti-Israel messages.
  • In Decem­ber 2012, the Bangladesh Cyber Army hacker group tar­geted the web­site of a Tem­ple in Omaha and posted images depict­ing what the group called “Israel killing children.”

Other hacker groups like aljyyosh (“the armies” in Ara­bic) claim to have hacked into per­sonal infor­ma­tion belong­ing to Amer­i­can Jews and Israelis and pro­vided instruc­tions on how to hack into such per­sonal infor­ma­tion on their var­i­ous online forums.

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October 2, 2014 0

GoFundMe Removes New Black Panther Party Page From Its Website

GoFundMe, an online crowd-sourcing plat­form that allows indi­vid­u­als and groups to raise money for a vari­ety of causes, today removed the New Black Pan­ther Party’s (NBPP) GoFundMe page. ADL con­tacted the com­pany yes­ter­day, inform­ing them that the NBPP’s use of the site appeared to vio­late their terms of ser­vice (TOS).gofundme-black-panther

The NBPP, the most promi­nent orga­nized anti-Semitic and racist black mil­i­tant group in Amer­ica, was using GoFundMe to solicit dona­tions to sup­port the group’s activ­i­ties despite the fact that GoFundMe’s Terms of Ser­vice explic­itly pro­hibit using the site for pro­mot­ing “hate, vio­lence, racial intol­er­ance…” and“content asso­ci­ated with hate groups.”

Before it was taken down, the NBPP’s GoFundMe page showed that the group had raised $700 on the site from 19 peo­ple. The NBPP’s stated goal was to raise a total of $20,000.

By tak­ing on racially-charged issues under the guise of cham­pi­oning civil rights, the NBPP has received national media atten­tion for its efforts, gar­nered some sup­port from promi­nent mem­bers of the African-American com­mu­nity, and attracted fol­low­ers. The group’s demon­stra­tions, con­fer­ences, and other events often blend inflam­ma­tory big­otry with calls for vio­lence, tar­nish­ing its efforts to pro­mote black pride and consciousness.

The NBPP has a long his­tory of pro­mot­ing racism and anti-Semitism and has been espe­cially active in recent months, enflam­ing the already tense sit­u­a­tion in Fer­gu­son, Mis­souri.

ADL applauds GoFundMe for enforc­ing its TOS and not allow­ing hate groups like the NBPP to exploit the site to raise funds that will be used to pro­mote racist, anti-Semitic, and hate­ful messages.

ADL is a leader in com­bat­ing the spread of hate online. Last month, ADL announced the release of a series of Best Prac­tices for Respond­ing to Cyber­hate,  cre­ated with con­tri­bu­tions from a work­ing group of top indus­try lead­ers, includ­ing Face­book, Google, Microsoft, Twit­ter and oth­ers. ADL also empow­ers inter­net users them­selves to flag hate­ful con­tent through ADL’s Cyber-Safety Action Guide, which enables the com­mu­nity to reg­is­ter con­cerns with Inter­net ser­vice providers when they encounter hate­ful content.

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September 22, 2014 0

ISIS-Related Arrest In Rochester Underscores Online Radicalization

mufid-elfgeeh-isis-rochester

Mufid Elfgeeh

The online activ­ity of Mufid Elfgeeh, whose arrest for attempt­ing to pro­vide mate­r­ial sup­port for ter­ror, attempt­ing to kill U.S. sol­diers, and pos­ses­sion of firearms and silencers was made pub­lic this week by the U.S. Depart­ment of Jus­tice, under­scores the cen­tral­ity of the Inter­net in the rad­i­cal­iza­tion and recruit­ment process.

Elfgeeh uti­lized mul­ti­ple online plat­forms includ­ing Twit­ter, Face­book, YouTube and the android appli­ca­tion What­sApp to try to raise money for for­eign ter­ror­ist orga­ni­za­tions and to recruit three other indi­vid­u­als to join for­eign ter­ror­ist orga­ni­za­tions. His online activ­ity also inspired him to devise a plot to kill Shi’a Mus­lims and for­mer Amer­i­can ser­vice­men at home.

Social media enabled Elfgeeh to not only learn about the activ­i­ties of for­eign ter­ror­ist orga­ni­za­tions through videos, tweets and other online pro­pa­ganda, but to also con­nect with appar­ent sup­port­ers of those orga­ni­za­tions, in par­tic­u­lar the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS).

Accord­ing to court doc­u­ments, Elfgeeh sought dona­tions for ter­ror­ists in Syria through Twit­ter. Among his alleged tweets were requests that peo­ple donate a third of their salary or at least “#Five_thousand_dollars_from_every_household” to sup­port mil­i­tants in Syria. He also tweeted and retweeted state­ments of sup­port for var­i­ous ter­ror groups includ­ing, “al-Qa’ida said it loud and clear: we are fight­ing the Amer­i­can inva­sion and their hege­mony over the earth and the people.”

On Face­book, Elfgeeh was a mem­ber of at least two Arabic-language Face­book groups in which group mem­bers reg­u­larly post and share al Qaeda and ISIS pro­pa­ganda. His own Face­book pho­tos included sev­eral images from Al Bat­tar media, an offi­cial ISIS pro­pa­ganda wing.

Elfgeeh also allegedly used Face­book to com­mu­ni­cate with indi­vid­u­als he believed were mem­bers of ter­ror­ist orga­ni­za­tions and with the indi­vid­u­als he was recruit­ing about plans to travel abroad to join ter­ror­ist orga­ni­za­tions.

In his recruit­ing, he ini­tially sug­gested Al Qaeda in the Ara­bian Penin­sula (AQAP) and Al Shabaab as pos­si­ble des­ti­na­tions, and later focused on ISIS. Notably, AQAP, Al Shabaab and ISIS are all ter­ror­ist groups that have become highly adept at dis­trib­ut­ing exten­sive English-language pro­pa­ganda.

On April 22 2014, he allegedly posted a mes­sage on Face­book attempt­ing to gain con­nec­tions in ISIS, stat­ing, “Who­ever knows a brother from ISIS who is able to com­mu­ni­cate well in Eng­lish, can com­mu­ni­cate with me through the pri­vate, due to the impor­tance.” He also com­mu­ni­cated directly on Face­book with an indi­vid­ual he was recruit­ing to join ISIS (the indi­vid­ual was in fact an informant).

Elfgeeh was allegedly devel­op­ing a plot to com­mit mul­ti­ple mur­ders in the U.S. as well, appar­ently inspired by acts of ter­ror­ism around the world includ­ing Al Shabaab’s attack of the West­gate Mall in Nairobi, Kenya and, in par­tic­u­lar, by Mohammed Merah’s shoot­ings in France.

His inspi­ra­tion for this plot appar­ently came from watch­ing videos on YouTube. He allegedly explained that he had learned about Merah’s actions because, “[i]t’s in YouTube.” He also allegedly had watched a video that pro­vided jus­ti­fi­ca­tion and instruc­tions for his plot: The video, he stated, “tell[s] you what to do …it’s YouTube…they call them here…’individual wolf’ (an appar­ent ref­er­ence to lone wolf attacks).”

Elfgeeh is a 30-year-old nat­u­ral­ized Amer­i­can cit­i­zen. Orig­i­nally from Yemen, he resided in Rochester, NY prior to his arrest where he owned and oper­ated a store called Halal Mojo and Food­mart. He was arrested on May 31, 2014 and pleaded not guilty on Sep­tem­ber 18.

Elfgeeh is the sec­ond Amer­i­can arrested in 2014 for recruit­ing oth­ers to join for­eign ter­ror orga­ni­za­tions, fol­low­ing Rahatul Ashikim Khan of Round Rock, Texas, who was arrested in June.

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