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April 14, 2015 3

New ISIS Videos Threaten U.S. Amid Increase In Domestic Plots

Image promoting new ISIS video

Image pro­mot­ing new ISIS video

Two new videos released this week by the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) demon­strate a ramp­ing up of threats against the U.S. as ter­ror groups increas­ingly call for home­grown attacks against West­ern coun­tries – and as indi­vid­u­als increas­ingly appear to be heed­ing those calls.

Recent arrests of U.S. res­i­dents plan­ning domes­tic attacks in ISIS’s name indi­cates that such calls for vio­lence can have an impact on Amer­i­cans moti­vated by Islamic extrem­ism and the pro­pa­ganda they find online dis­trib­uted by ISIS and other ter­ror groups.

There have been five alleged instances of domes­tic plots in the U.S. in 2015, rang­ing from con­ver­sa­tions about the pos­si­bil­ity of attack to actual attempted attacks. All were report­edly planned by indi­vid­u­als claim­ing alle­giance to ISIS.

  • Christo­pher Lee Cor­nell of Ohio, arrested in Jan­u­ary for his alleged plot to attack the U.S. Capi­tol after fail­ing to con­nect with ISIS mem­bers abroad.
  • Abdura­sul Juraboev and Akhror Saidakhme­tov of New York, arrested in Feb­ru­ary and charged with mate­r­ial sup­port for ter­ror. Court doc­u­ments state they were attempt­ing to join ISIS and dis­cussing the pos­si­bil­ity of a domes­tic attack.
  • Hasan and Jonas Edmonds of Illi­nois, arrested in March and charged with attempt­ing to join ISIS and plot­ting an attack against a mil­i­tary base.
  • Noelle Velentzas and Asia Sid­diqui of New York, arrested in April for allegedly pur­chas­ing bomb-making equip­ment with plans for an attack.
  • John T. Booker and Alexan­der Blair of Kansas, arrested in April for allegedly attempt­ing to under­take a sui­cide attack at the Ft. Riley mil­i­tary base.

These are among the 23 U.S. res­i­dents arrested on ter­ror charges thus far in 2015, all but two of whom claimed alle­giance to ISIS.

Both of the videos released this week fea­ture ref­er­ences to pre­vi­ous ter­ror attacks in West­ern coun­tries and footage of bru­tal exe­cu­tions of ISIS vic­tims in Iraq and Syria, as well as encour­age­ment of individually-directed domes­tic plots.

One of the videos, released on April 10, was titled “We Will Burn Amer­ica.” It fea­tured footage and praise of the Sep­tem­ber 11, 2001 attack on the World Trade Cen­ter along with nar­ra­tion in Ara­bic with Eng­lish sub­ti­tles stat­ing, “Sep­tem­ber 11 will be repeated.”

The video also fea­tures images from the attack on the Paris kosher super­mar­ket and shoot­ings in Canada, both of which were under­taken by indi­vid­u­als act­ing in ISIS’s name, as well as images of behead­ings by ISIS. Its style was rem­i­nis­cent of ISIS’s feature-film-length pro­pa­ganda video “Flames of War,” which was shot to resem­ble an action movie and high­lights the group’s ide­o­log­i­cal claims of a bat­tle between good and evil, Islam and the West.

“We Will Burn Amer­ica” was released on Twit­ter with the hash­tag #we_will_burn_america. ISIS reg­u­larly encour­ages its sup­port­ers to par­tic­i­pate in hash­tag cam­paigns designed to arti­fi­cially cre­ate trend­ing items and spread the group’s pro­pa­ganda. Last sum­mer, the group under­took two hash­tag cam­paigns sim­i­larly threat­en­ing the U.S., with the hash­tags #Calami­ty­Will­Be­fal­lUS and #AMes­sage­FromI­SIS­ToUS.

The sec­ond video, released April 14, takes the form of a music video encour­ag­ing lone-wolf attacks and threat­en­ing West­ern coun­tries. The lan­guage is Ger­man, with Eng­lish sub­ti­tles. ISIS has released mul­ti­ple music videos to appeal to young audi­ences while con­vey­ing the group’s messages.

A screenshot from the new ISIS music video

A screen­shot from the new ISIS music video

Addressed “to the ene­mies of Allah,” the video’s nar­ra­tion states that “this is a mes­sage and more are going to fol­low.” The video por­trays a man read­ing the Qu’ran and watch­ing ISIS pro­pa­ganda on his com­puter, includ­ing graphic videos of behead­ings, the burn­ing of the Jor­dan­ian pilot Moaz al-Kasasbeh, mass killings, and wounded sol­diers. “We want your blood,” it states, “it tastes so wonderful.”

It then shows indi­vid­u­als prepar­ing for dif­fer­ent types of domes­tic attacks, includ­ing a stab­bing, car bomb, and a sui­cide bomb­ing in Times Square, as well as learn­ing about gun use and bomb-making online – seem­ingly exam­ples for would-be domes­tic attack­ers and an acknowl­edg­ment of the impor­tance of online ter­ror­ist pro­pa­ganda. Images of pre­vi­ous attacks against the West, includ­ing the attack against the Paris kosher super­mar­ket, are shown as well. “In France it has been proven by deeds. Ger­man sleeper cell are wait­ing,” it states. “Allah has called you! … Your neigh­bor is a kaf­fir (apos­tate)… take a big knife and give him what he rightly deserves.”

The release of the videos comes as ISIS is los­ing ter­ri­tory and recruits in the Mid­dle East. Losses by ter­ror­ist groups have often cor­re­sponded with increased calls for attacks abroad, which do not require resource expen­di­ture by the ter­ror group itself and can then be claimed as vic­to­ries for the group. Al Shabaab, for exam­ple, has sim­i­larly released calls for domes­tic attacks abroad in the past year as it under­goes losses of recruits, lead­er­ship, and ter­ri­tory in Soma­lia and its sur­round­ing countries.

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April 2, 2015 2

Hackers Directly Threaten Individual Israeli Citizens

As hack­ers pro­ceed with OpIs­rael, an annual anti-Israel cyber-attack cam­paign, AnonG­host, a promi­nent hacker group with an Islamic extrem­ist agenda claims that they are send­ing some Israeli cit­i­zens threat­en­ing mes­sages via var­i­ous mes­sag­ing apps includ­ing Face­book and What­sApp. These mes­sages include threats of vio­lence, vile lan­guage, and anti-Semitism.anonghost-opisrael

While these claims remain uncon­firmed, AnonG­host claims it acquired a large amount of per­sonal infor­ma­tion about Israelis includ­ing phone num­bers and Face­book accounts. The group dis­trib­uted a list of more than two hun­dred Israeli phone num­bers sup­pos­edly asso­ci­ated with What­sApp accounts and promised that there are more num­bers to be released on April 7, the offi­cial start date of OpIs­rael. Anony­mous hack­ers have also shared the list of What­sApp con­tacts obtained by AnonG­host on their social media platforms.

Hack­ers have also shared what appear to be images of threat­en­ing mes­sages they sent to Israeli cit­i­zens using What­sapp, includ­ing “All your Pri­vate con­fi­den­tial details are in our hands, includ­ing your phone number/Your Home….we will kill you all of the Jews/Israelian.[sic].”

Other images show that hack­ers sup­pos­edly have made phone calls to threaten Israelis using the free call­ing fea­ture on What­sApp. It is unclear at this point what was said dur­ing the calls, but sup­posed screen­shots of active What­sApp calls indi­cate that this most likely is another tac­tic to intim­i­date Israelis.

Muhammed Nazmi (aka Don­Nazmi), one of the lead­ers of AnonG­host, posted images of what appear to be sam­ples of mes­sages he sent to Israelis. Accord­ing to one  image, he ini­ti­ated a con­ver­sa­tion with an Israeli and once the Israeli responded, Nazmi sent a threat­en­ing mes­sage which included an image of an ISIS fighter with the cap­tion, “We are com­ing O Jews to kill you.” Under the image, a mes­sage reads, “I am Donnazmi[blurred] from AnonG­host Team. Send This Msg to your GOV Israel you bet­ter get ready to be pre­pared #opIs­rael 07/04/2015 is coming.”

Another image posted by Nazmi shows a mes­sage that includes what appears to be a per­sonal fam­ily pic­ture sent to a father with his chil­dren cir­cled in red and a cap­tion that reads, “I’ll stick a knife in their throats.”

Other hack­ers claimed that they hacked into Face­book chats with Israelis and posted images of con­ver­sa­tions in which they injected com­ments such as “F**K Israel.”

As this cam­paign against con­tin­ues, more Israelis will likely have to deal with such alarm­ing messages.

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March 31, 2015 1

Rival Hackers Overcome Differences For Anti-Israel Cyber Campaign

Update — 4/2/15: For more infor­ma­tion on OpIs­rael, please see Hack­ers Directly Threaten Indi­vid­ual Israeli Cit­i­zens.

What has become an annual cyber cam­paign against Israel, “OpIs­rael” – which coin­cided with Holo­caust Remem­brance Day in pre­vi­ous years – is once again tak­ing place this year; this time, by a broader coali­tion of hack­ers than ever before.AnonGhost OpIsrael 2015

In light of the uptick in attacks against Jew­ish insti­tu­tional web­sites in the U.S. by inter­na­tional hack­ing groups over the past few years, both Israeli and Jew­ish web­sites world­wide are expected to be tar­gets of the cyber campaign.

In 2014, “OpIs­rael” was pri­mar­ily led by an Arab sub-division of Anony­mous, which called for a cyber-attack against Israel on Holo­caust Remem­brance Day, threat­ening to launch “elec­tronic attacks against as many Israeli web­sites as pos­si­ble.” The group also threat­ened Israeli cit­i­zens: “Your credit cards, your bank accounts, your servers … are ALL in a dan­ger!” In 2013, the group called for a sim­i­lar cam­paign timed with Holo­caust Remem­brance Day to “wipe Israel off the Inter­net.”

This year, the Arab sub-division of Anony­mous, in one of the videos it posted on YouTube, described “OpIs­rael,” as an “Elec­tronic Holocaust.”

There are strong indi­ca­tions, how­ever, that AnonG­host, a promi­nent hacker group known for tar­get­ing Jew­ish and Amer­i­can web­sites, is seek­ing to replace Anony­mous in spear­head­ing “OpIsrael.”

For exam­ple, ear­lier this month, AnonG­host launched and pro­moted soft­ware enabling users to con­duct cyber-attacks against Israeli (and other) tar­gets. The soft­ware appears to enable users to ini­ti­ate denial of ser­vice (DOS) attacks. AnonG­host has already claimed respon­si­bil­ity for the hack­ing of sev­eral Israeli web­sites in the past week in the lead up to “OpIsrael.”

On March 31, AnonG­host mem­bers claimed that they started mes­sag­ing Israeli cit­i­zens with warn­ings about OpIs­rael. The threat­en­ing mes­sages included an image of an ISIS fighter with the cap­tion, “We are com­ing O Jews to kill you.” Under the image, AnonG­host mem­bers intro­duce them­selves and ask the recip­i­ents to deliver the warn­ing to the Israeli government.

An image of the threatening message sent to Israeli citizens featuring an ISIS fighter

An image of the threat­en­ing mes­sage sent to Israeli cit­i­zens fea­tur­ing an ISIS fighter

By inject­ing itself into “OpIs­rael,” AnonG­host may take the cam­paign into a more extreme direc­tion. For exam­ple, AnonG­host has been unam­bigu­ous about sup­port­ing ISIS and has car­ried out hacks on its behalf. This activ­ity dif­fers from the Anony­mous col­lec­tive, which has launched cyber-campaigns to counter ISIS’ online pres­ence. In Jan­u­ary 2015, for exam­ple, they­launched a cam­paign against Jihadist web­sites titled OpChar­lieHebdo in response to ter­ror­ist attacks in France.

There are indi­ca­tions that AnonG­host and the broader Anony­mous col­lec­tive have even engaged in a cyber-conflict against each other; Mau­ri­ta­nia Attacker, the osten­si­ble leader of AnonG­host, claims to have hacked a group of Anony­mous mem­bers known as “Anony­mous Squad No.035,” the Ser­bian sub-division of Anonymous.Anonymous OpIsrael 2015

The appar­ent con­flict between AnonG­host and the Anony­mous col­lec­tive, how­ever, does not seem to have pre­vented them both from par­tic­i­pat­ing in this year’s “OpIs­rael.” Oppo­si­tion to Israel seems to be a com­mon cause.

It is impor­tant to note that ADL is cur­rently unaware of any spe­cific cyber threat to the Amer­i­can Jew­ish com­mu­nity. Nev­er­the­less, we are urg­ing Jew­ish com­mu­ni­ties to revisit and reassess their cyber-security plans, mea­sures, and procedures.

Related Infor­ma­tion:

ADL Alerts U.S. Syn­a­gogues to Pro­tect Against Online Hackers

ISIS Estab­lishes A Cyber-Alliance With Anti-Israel Hackers

Hack­ers Post Anti-Semitism On U.S. Uni­ver­si­ties’ Websites

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