Hackers attack al-Qaida, cripple communications

By on June 30, 2011, 8:00 AM

Did you think all hackers just want to take down major corporations? Think again. A group of hackers have reportedly managed to shut down al-Qaida's Internet communications to the world, interrupting the terrorist organization's flow of videos and communiqués.

"Al-Qaida's online communications have been temporarily crippled, and it does not have a single trusted distribution channel available on the Internet," Evan Kohlmann, of Flashpoint Global Partners, which monitors the group's communications, told MSNBC. "My guess is that it will take them at least several days more to repair the damage and get their network up and functioning again," he said.

It is unknown who is behind the attack that targeted al-Qaida's Internet communications systems, but it appears that it was a well-coordinated plan that spanned the past few days and used relatively sophisticated techniques. There are anarchistic co-operatives known as hacktivists, like Anonymous and LulzSec, that have launched several high-profile cyber-attacks in recent months designed to make a statement. Either group would have claimed responsibility by now, but this hasn't happened. The perpetrators were likely sponsored by a Western government, based on the nature of the attack.

Earlier this month, it was estimated that 25 percent of US hackers work with the US government. Those are mainly informants, and it's not clear how many of these hackers have been recruited by the FBI or the Secret Service. A large team isn't needed to fight al-Qaida on the Internet, but it needs to be trained properly.

Last month, the US disclosed its International Strategy for Cyberspace. The document revealed the US government could respond to cyber-attacks with military force, especially if someone were to pull off a serious cyberspace hack against the US, its allies, its partners, or in a way to threaten its interests.

That is meant as a last resort, but the US is already at war with al-Qaida. Hacking is likely just one of America's many methods of battle, though whether this particular attack was sponsored stateside we can't say for sure.




User Comments: 18

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Burty117 Burty117, TechSpot Chancellor, said:

So basically FBI found the LuLSec guys and hired them? And now they're aiming for whatever the US Gov asks them to aim for? fair enough, they probably get paid well too...

paynetrain007 said:

You really think the government would hire those ****** from lulzsec, they hacked small targets and made a huge deal about it. The government has had cyber agents for a very long time.

H3llion H3llion, TechSpot Paladin, said:

burty117 said:

So basically FBI found the LuLSec guys and hired them? And now they're aiming for whatever the US Gov asks them to aim for? fair enough, they probably get paid well too...

Yes its totally the professionals called Lulzsec behind this....-.-

edison5do said:

ThatÂ's a Nice Move there!

"Hey ¿You wanna HAck something??, Im not gonna dissapear you if you keep F#k!ng the Japanesse.. Cough Cough S0NY, and let US based companies alone.. cough cough MiCr.S.ft! and by the way, Please take this chek and hack Al-Qaida systems.. DO YOU AGREE WITH THAT?? or maybe you want to dissapear?"

:toast:

example1013 said:

Yeah, it was the botnet--I mean Lulzsec--guys the government used for this.

princeton princeton said:

paynetrain007 said:

You really think the government would hire those ****** from lulzsec, they hacked small targets and made a huge deal about it. The government has had cyber agents for a very long time.

Yup sony is such a small target.

In related news people who don't understand the hacking scene are trying to paint lulzsec as skiddies and are failing to do so. More at 11.

Guest said:

Might want to get the cough looked at.. sounds nasty!

gwailo247, TechSpot Chancellor, said:

Guest said:

Might want to get the cough looked at.. sounds nasty!

That post reminded me of Bill the Cat.

Guest said:

smaller targets are harder to hit :) LOL

bakape said:

Guest said:

smaller targets are harder to hit LOL

Imo, guest struck gold here.

Staff
Jesse Jesse said:

Princeton said:

paynetrain007 said:

You really think the government would hire those ****** from lulzsec, they hacked small targets and made a huge deal about it. The government has had cyber agents for a very long time.

Yup sony is such a small target.

In related news people who don't understand the hacking scene are trying to paint lulzsec as skiddies and are failing to do so. More at 11.

Princeton, it's already been widely noted that Lulzsec did not use sophisticated methods, mainly SQL injections and vulnerabilities that are easy to take advantage of. I don't think you "understand the hacking scene".

Staff
Jesse Jesse said:

The perpetrators were likely sponsored by a Western government,

Are you really qualified to make this assumption? Considering this is a tech blog, this speculation seems inappropriate. Noting the possibility is one thing, but how can you confidently suggest this is the most likely source of the attack?

gwailo247, TechSpot Chancellor, said:

prismatics said:

The perpetrators were likely sponsored by a Western government,

Are you really qualified to make this assumption? Considering this is a tech blog, this speculation seems inappropriate. Noting the possibility is one thing, but how can you confidently suggest this is the most likely source of the attack?

Didn't you watch Swordfish? =)

I think that the existence of Stuxnet can readily lead one to such a conclusion. Who else would come up with a virus designed to specifically disable Iranian nuclear power plants?

I personally think that its just as likely to be some hacker who sees "doing good" as more than stealing passwords from game forums. Setting aside 9/11, Al Qaeda probably kills 50 Middle Easterners for every western soldier.

Tanstar said:

I don't agree with a lot that Anonymous does, but they are legit "hacktivists". Lulzec hit random targets with no agenda other than to prove they could. Not the same thing.

Guest said:

Did the C.I.A get hacked again?

Ithryl said:

The CIA could have done that over a LAN.

Guest said:

I doubt the US Government is behind this. Why would they want to take down or cripple al-Qaida communcations when they could hack in and simply monitor them and get far more information?

As for the Stuxnet, I would look at Israel.

Guest said:

Report in today's Daily Telegraph that one of British security organs (MI5/6 ?) have taken down Al-Qaida's web site. Have no other confirmation.

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