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January 29, 2015 0

ISIS Establishes A Cyber-Alliance With Anti-Israel Hackers

isis-alazm-center-terrorists-team-electronic-jihad-israel

“Ter­ror­ists Team for Elec­tronic Jihad” claim of responsibility.

Sev­eral pro-ISIS Twit­ter accounts that pro­mote the ter­ror­ist group’s pro­pa­ganda are col­lab­o­rat­ing with estab­lished anti-Israel hack­ers in an effort to increase cyber-attacks on behalf of ISIS.

On Jan­u­ary 13, the Alazm Cen­ter Twit­ter account, which has over 5,000 fol­low­ers, called on hack­ers to con­tact them. Since then, a group of anti-Israel hack­ers call­ing them­selves “Ter­ror­ists Team for Elec­tronic Jihad” has claimed respon­si­bil­ity for sev­eral attacks against Israeli web­sites on behalf of ISIS.

The group claims to have hacked the web­site of a secu­rity con­trac­tor in Israel, a tour orga­nizer and few other Israeli busi­nesses by redi­rect­ing vis­i­tors to web­sites fea­tur­ing the name and flag of ISIS along with the sig­na­ture of “Ter­ror­ists Team for Elec­tronic Jihad.”

“Ter­ror­ists Team for Elec­tronic Jihad” claimed respon­si­bil­ity for these attacks in a state­ment on JustPaste.it, a file shar­ing site ISIS has been using to pub­lish its state­ments anony­mously. The state­ment said, “Thanks to God, below is today’s sum­mary of hack­ing web­sites which is part of a cam­paign against Zion­ist web­sites” and included a list of indi­vid­ual hack­ers affil­i­ated with “Ter­ror­ists Team for Elec­tronic Jihad.”

Videos of the hacks were also made avail­able on Aljyyosh (“the armies” in Ara­bic), an online forum for Arab hack­ers that have claimed respon­si­bil­ity for steal­ing per­sonal infor­ma­tion belong­ing to Amer­i­can Jews and Israelis. The videos show the hacked web­sites defaced with ISIS flags and the logo of the “Ter­ror­ists Team for Elec­tronic Jihad” along with a song that begins with, “Report our greet­ings to Abu Bakir [ISIS’ leader].”

Sev­eral of the names listed in that state­ment have pre­vi­ously taken part in other cyber-attacks against Israeli web­sites on behalf of groups in North Africa such as Al Falaga, a Tunisian hacker group that par­tic­i­pated in a large-scale cyber-attack on Israel on Holo­caust Remem­brance Day in 2013.

Another ISIS Twit­ter account, Mo7_AbuAzzamNM, which has over 1,000 fol­low­ers and iden­ti­fies itself as the “Hacker of the Caliphate State,” posted other state­ments prais­ing the hack­ing of “Zion­ist web­sites” and shar­ing links to the state­ment by “Ter­ror­ists Team for Elec­tronic Jihad.” On Jan­u­ary 16, Mo7_AbuAzzamNM Tweeted “Amer­ica has drones, but we have cyber expe­ri­ence. Oh mule of the Jews [Obama], the com­ing days will show you.”

Prior to their appar­ent col­lab­o­ra­tion with ISIS, “Ter­ror­ists Team for Elec­tronic Jihad” posted a video on YouTube on Novem­ber 29, 2014, declar­ing its alle­giance to the Islamic State. The video showed a masked man read­ing a mes­sage in Ara­bic say­ing, “We the Ter­ror­ists Team for Elec­tronic Jihad declare our sup­port for the Islamic State in Iraq and Lev­an­tine with all our force and capa­bil­i­ties.” It is pos­si­ble that the video attracted the atten­tion of ISIS, and led to the more recent col­lec­tive efforts.

Alazm Center's Twitter Logo

Alazm Center’s Twit­ter Logo

“Ter­ror­ists Team for Elec­tronic Jihad” also oper­ates a Face­book page and a Twit­ter account that have included mes­sages in sup­port of ISIS. “May allah bless the #ISIS,” read one post on Octo­ber 8.

Another promi­nent hacker group that has tar­geted Jew­ish, Israeli and Amer­i­can web­sites called AnonG­host is also show­ing increas­ing inter­est in ISIS. A Twit­ter account of Mau­ri­ta­nia Attacker, the pre­sumed leader of AnonG­host posted sev­eral com­ments in the past few days related to cyber-attacks in the name of ISIS and shared a video claim­ing to show ISIS how to avoid being mon­i­tored by the CIA.

Cyber-attacks on behalf of ISIS have increased over the past sev­eral months. In addi­tion to the hack­ing of Twit­ter and YouTube accounts affil­i­ated with U.S. Cen­tral Com­mand, Jew­ish insti­tu­tions, uni­ver­si­ties and other web­sites and been tar­geted as well.

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January 16, 2015 1

Ohio Arrest In First Domestic Attack Plot Since 2013

Christopher Lee Cornell

Christo­pher Lee Cornell

Wednesday’s arrest of Christo­pher Lee Cor­nell, a 20-year-old U.S. cit­i­zen from Ohio, marked the first domes­tic ter­ror related arrest of 2015 and the first inci­dent of an attempted domes­tic ter­ror attack since 2013.

Cor­nell is accused of attempt­ing to attack the U.S. Capi­tol build­ing by plant­ing and det­o­nat­ing pipe bombs at and near the build­ing and then using a semi-automatic rifle to increase casu­alty counts. The plot was the first since Decem­ber 2013, when Kansas res­i­dent Terry Lee Loewen allegedly attempted to bomb the Wichita Mid-Continent Airport.

Cornell’s alleged plot comes at a time of increas­ing calls for vio­lence and home­grown extrem­ism by Islamic State of Iraq and Syria(ISIS), as well as the con­tin­ued influ­ence of Al Qaeda pro­pa­gan­dists includ­ing Anwar al-Awlaki and the power of social media in the mod­ern rad­i­cal­iza­tion process.  Awlaki, who was killed in a U.S. drone strike in 2011, was an English-language spokesman for Al Qaeda in the Ara­bian Penin­sula (AQAP).

Cor­nell was report­edly hop­ing to under­take his attack as a way to sup­port ISIS. This fits with cur­rent trends in extrem­ism: The vast major­ity of the iden­ti­fied Amer­i­cans known to have engaged with extrem­ism in 2014 sought to join or aid ISIS.

Cor­nell, who used the alias Raheel Mahrus Ubay­dah, Tweeted ISIS pro­pa­ganda and Awlaki quotes and appar­ently found jus­ti­fi­ca­tion for his alleged plot in the pro­pa­ganda mate­ri­als he accessed from ISIS and Anwar al-Awlaki.

Although ISIS lead­er­ship is cur­rently at odds with Al Qaeda lead­er­ship, the group still cites Awlaki as an ide­o­log­i­cal leader. It is not uncom­mon for appar­ent ter­ror­ist sup­ports online to share mate­ri­als from both includ­ing ISIS and AQAP despite fight­ing between the groups’ leadership.

Accord­ing to court doc­u­ments, Cor­nell claimed to have con­tacted mem­bers of ISIS in hopes that they would assist him in his efforts to attack the U.S. He also watched extrem­ist videos and used his com­puter to research bomb mak­ing instruc­tions and infor­ma­tion about how to pur­chase firearms, and he com­mu­ni­cated with an under­cover infor­mant he believed to be a co-conspirator using instant mes­sag­ing ser­vices. He told the infor­mant “I believe that we should just wage jihad under our own orders and plan attacks,” accord­ing to court documents.

Some of his appar­ent Tweets indi­cated sup­port for lone wolf attacks, includ­ing one that praised attacks in Canada by Mar­tin Rouleau Cou­ture and Michael Zehaf Bibeau stat­ing, “May Allah reward the broth­ers who fought and received Sha­hada (mar­tyr­dom) in Canada! May these recent attacks send ter­ror into the hearts of the kufr (disbelievers)!

Accord­ing to fam­ily mem­bers, Cor­nell had con­verted to Islam less than a year prior to his arrest.

Accord­ing to FBI Direc­tor James Comey, the FBI is cur­rently track­ing nearly 150 Amer­i­cans who trav­eled to Syria, “a sig­nif­i­cant num­ber” of whom went there to fight. Other reports have indi­cated that close to 90 addi­tional Amer­i­cans are believed to have died fight­ing or attempted to travel abroad to join extrem­ist groups but failed.

17 of the 22 indi­vid­u­als who have been pub­licly iden­ti­fied as engag­ing in ter­ror­ism in 2014 sought to join or aid ISIS.

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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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