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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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March 4, 2014 0

Abuse Of Yik Yak App Underscores Need For Personal Accountability

Update: March 10, 2014 – Threats found on Yik Yak resulted in back-to-back evac­u­a­tions of a high school in Mar­ble­head, Mass­a­chu­setts, as well as the lock­down of a Decatur, Alabama, Mid­dle School and a San Clemente, Cal­i­for­nia High School, accord­ing to the Los Ange­les Times. Some of the schools that have been sub­ject to threats on Yik Yak have report­edly blocked stu­dents from access­ing the app directly through cam­pus Inter­net net­works. At least four Chicago-area high schools warned par­ents about Yik Yak in the past two weeks, accord­ing to the Chicago Tri­bune, and prin­ci­pals have asked par­ents to delete the app from their children’s devices.

The abuse of a con­tro­ver­sial new app that enables users to com­mu­ni­cate with com­plete anonymity high­lights the need for some user iden­ti­fi­ca­tion func­tions and per­sonal accountability.yikyak

The app, Yik Yak, which pro­motes itself as being a place “to post anony­mously or under an alias — you can become the talk of the town and never get dis­cov­ered,”  has been report­edly abused by stu­dents in Roswell, Geor­gia; North Kansas City, Mis­souri; and Mobile, Alabama.

In Roswell, a let­ter was sent to par­ents of High School stu­dents say­ing that “this app is allow­ing stu­dents to ver­bally abuse each other, teach­ers and staff…”

In North Kansas City, one par­ent found a hate­ful post about her daugh­ter as well as teach­ers and administrators.

And in Mobile, two stu­dents under the age of 16 were report­edly arrested for using the app to make ter­ror­is­tic threats. Appar­ently act­ing sep­a­rately, each allegedly used Yik Yak to threat­ened shoot­ings at local high schools. They were arrested on felony charges.

These inci­dents empha­size the con­se­quences of a lack of any reg­is­tra­tion require­ments, includ­ing age ver­i­fi­ca­tion, or a cur­sory online identification.

In his lat­est book Viral Hate, ADL National Direc­tor Abra­ham H. Fox­man speaks to this issue, not­ing that “embold­ened by anonymity,” indi­vid­u­als are “freely spew­ing hate­ful vit­riol on the Inter­net with­out wor­ry­ing about reper­cus­sions. Lies, bul­ly­ing, con­spir­acy the­o­ries, big­oted and racist rants, and calls for vio­lence tar­get­ing the most vul­ner­a­ble cir­cu­late openly on the web.”

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February 6, 2014 0

Anwar Al-Awlaki’s Messages Still Resonate On Facebook

Anwar al-Awlaki, who inspired a gen­er­a­tion of ter­ror­ists in the U.S and abroad through his online pro­pa­ganda, con­tin­ues to reach audi­ences well after his death.generation-awlaki-facebook

A Face­book page called “Gen­er­a­tion Awlaki,” which is made up of images of Awlaki and many of his most mil­i­tant say­ings, has attracted 2,676 “likes” from around the world and is attract­ing more fol­low­ers every day.

Among the quotes by Awlaki fea­tured on the page are, “Run­ning away from Jihad will not save you from death. You can die as a cow­ard or you can die as a Mar­tyr” and, “If you have the right to slan­der the Mes­sen­ger of Allah, we have the right to defend him. If it is part of your free­dom of speech to defame Muham­mad it is part of our reli­gion to fight you.”

The high­lighted quotes also touch on rel­e­vant polit­i­cal flash­points, such as fight­ing against Israel. “The Pales­tin­ian issue should be some­thing we think about day and night,” reads one recently posted quote.

Numer­ous com­ments have been left on the page, pri­mar­ily in Eng­lish. In fact, many of the fol­low­ers of the page seem to be from English-speaking coun­tries, includ­ing Aus­tralia, New Zealand, the United King­dom, Canada and the United States. This attests to Awlaki’s con­tin­ued appeal to West­ern audi­ences, which he worked hard to influ­ence and rad­i­cal­ize dur­ing his lifetime.

One com­ment in response to a quote prais­ing mar­tyr­dom reads, “I will die as a mar­tyr” and the page mod­er­a­tor responded “InshaaAl­lah (God will­ing).” Another says, “May Allah increase our chances to be mujahideen (mar­tyrs) in sha Allah (God willing).”

Gen­er­a­tion Awlaki” is fol­lowed most heav­ily by 18 to 24 year olds, ages asso­ci­ated with increased recep­tiv­ity to extremism.generation-awlaki-22

Through his YouTube ser­mons, arti­cles in Inspire mag­a­zine, and other eas­ily avail­able books, Anwar al-Awlaki con­tin­ues to be an inspi­ra­tion for ter­ror­ists and would be ter­ror­ists. Of the 14 Amer­i­can cit­i­zens and per­ma­nent res­i­dents arrested on ter­ror charges in the United States in 2013, at least six report­edly lis­tened to or read Awlaki mate­ri­als, includ­ing Dzhokhar and Tamer­lan Tsar­naev of the Boston Marathon bomb­ing and, most recently, Terry Lee Loewen, who attempted to bomb the Wichita Inter­con­ti­nen­tal Air­port in Decem­ber, 2013

Awlaki, an American-born Mus­lim cleric, encour­aged attacks against Amer­ica and the West by dis­trib­ut­ing online lec­tures to English-speaking audi­ences for many years. He was killed in a drone strike in Yemen in 2011. 

This sort of page is not unique. Other pages, includ­ing those ded­i­cated specif­i­cally to Awlaki, abound. The Face­book group Mar­tyr of Da’awa, for exam­ple, fea­tures quotes, videos and images of Awlaki and has attracted 1,372 ‘likes’ since it was founded in Jan­u­ary, 2014.

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