IPT Senior Fellow Testifies at Hearing on Iranian Terror

Cyber Jihadists, State Department Now In Full-Blown Twitter War

 fsgfdsdf118900428FP, By Will McCants:

Since 2011, the State Department has sponsored a Digital Outreach Team tasked with countering al Qaeda propaganda on the Internet. In its brief existence, it’s difficult to quantify the team’s progress (and easy to laugh at its failures), but there’s one thing it is doing successfully: Making the right enemies.

The Digital Outreach Team (DOT) is part of the larger Center for Strategic Counterterrorism Communications, an interagency center housed at the State Department with a presidential mandate to subvert al Qaeda’s online outreach efforts (full disclosure: I helped set up the DOT’s current operations while at the State Department). The Center and the DOT venture on Twitter is relatively new and until now elicited little more than scorn from jihadi tweeters. But this month, it started to make some serious waves.

On July 17, a prominent jihadi on Twitter, Mu`awiya al-Qahtani (M_Al_Saqr), established a new Twitter account @Al_Bttaar whose mission is a mirror image of the Digital Outreach Team’s. Whereas the DOT aims to counter jihadi propaganda and discredit its promulgators using social media, @Al_Bttaar aims to spread that propaganda and silence its detractors. Now, there is reason to believe the @Al_Bttaar initiative is a direct response to the DOT’s activities: not only is it patterned after the DOT, its opening salvo was directed against one of the DOT’s tweeters, Tariq Ramzi (@dsdotar).

The DOT first provoked complaints from jihadis after crashing mainstream forums and casting their form of radical Islam in a negative light.  The day after @Al_Bttaar’s inaugural tweets, the group organized its first Twitter “raid,” an effort to take down the State Department’s account. Themethod was pretty simple: Just click the “report” button multiple times until a Twitter administrator removes the account.

Five minutes after passing out the instructions, the administrator posted the address of @dsdotar. Although there was spotty information during the attack on how it was going, @Al_Bttaarannounced the following day that it had failed. The administrator attributed the failure to the lack of participation — only 150 people reported the enemy account, short of the goal of 400 — and to the fact that people had followed the account before reporting it. (In a moment of internal bickering: one of the group’s followers noted that it was the administrator’s themselves who had recommended following the account.)

@Al_Bttaar has since moved on to conduct several attacks against other Twitter users, all of whom are Arabs who have displeased them in one way or the other.Few of them have been successful but that has not dampened the group’s enthusiasm or that of its now 1,570 followers. In one of its latest tweets, it promises even more action in the days to come.

So far, @Al_Bttaar’s efforts on Twitter are pretty small scale, which could also be said of the DOT’s activities. Part of the reason is resources: there are not many jihadis or counter-jihadis. But another reason is that both sides realize that this influence game is not about swaying large numbers of people but rather persuading just a few to join or turn away. Seen in this light, @Al_Bttaar’s antics probably have less to do with actually silencing its enemies than it does with attracting enthusiastic new followers who like its aggressive approach.

Will McCants is an analyst at the Center for Naval Analyses and a former State Department senior advisor for countering violent extremism.

 

Group of Anonymous CounterJihad Hackers to Launch #opIslam July 26th

opislamINN: (H/T BNI)

An independent group of anonymous hackers has banded together to announce a cyber warfare operation aimed at fighting against anti-Semitic and jihadist sites, set to begin on Friday.

One participating group called the Israeli Elite Force launched a Facebook page on June 5 called #OpIslam aimed at gathering support for the operation.

“This is a call to all hackers of the world,” reads the statement posted on the page, entitled, “Hacker Call to Action, Operation Islam.” The statement is also available in video format read by a narrator using a voice changer.

 

“Hello, citizens of the world. We are calling out all people opposed to Islamic terrorism worldwide, to join our fight against their cyber terrorism,” reads the statement.

“A just operation, Op Islam, will launch July 26. We call out every hacker tired of the violence followed by cries of racism carried out by Muslims worldwide.

“The United States sees waves of homemade Muslim terrorism. Europe is being silently taken over. Join our cause, let them know we are not ready to give the world up to Islam.”

The video then continues with examples of jihadist terrorism tactics “against non-Muslims, in non-Muslim lands.”

The narrator goes on to warn that “in the West, where Muslims comprise less than one percent of the population, London-style attacks are uncommon. Islamic assertiveness is limited to political activism dedicated to portraying Islam as a religion of peace, and sporadic. But clandestine acts of terror, like Fort Hood, Boston, etc.

“In Europe, where Muslims make the much larger minorities open violence is more common,” the narrator points out.

website: http://www.opislam.com/

youtube Channel: http://www.youtube.com/user/OpIslam/about

ZionOps facebook: https://www.facebook.com/ZionOps?hc_location=stream

Twitter: https://twitter.com/Op_Islam/

Related articles

 

And if you haven’t heard of Jester, “Hacktivist for good. Obstructing the lines of communication for terrorists, sympathizers, fixers, facilitators, oppressive regimes and other general bad guys” go check him out at Jester’s Court. He’s on our side to.

Cyber Jihad

cyber jihadBy Bill Gertz

Iran is continuing aggressive cyber attacks against U.S. financial institutions and officials say the U.S. government has failed to take steps to halt the electronic strikes.

The sophisticated denial-of-service cyber attacks have been underway for several months and involve Iranian-origin hackers who flood banking and financial institution web sites with massive log-in attempts that disrupt or halt remote banking services.

“The are going after the same types of sites,” said an intelligence official familiar with reports of the attacks.

The official criticized the Obama administration for failing to protect American corporations from what the official said were state-sponsored cyber attacks.

Critics in government and the private sector say the U.S. government remains unprepared to respond to such coordinated covert cyber attacks.

Several government agencies, including the military’s U.S. Cyber Command, U.S. intelligence agencies, the Department of Homeland Security, and the FBI are responsible for dealing with cyber attacks. Yet the White House is in charge of directing any counterattacks on nation-states and so far has refused to authorize aggressive action, such as retaliatory counter cyber attacks.

The intelligence official suggested that the administration is reluctant to take action because of the president’s conciliatory policies toward Iran. President Barack Obama failed to back Iran’s democratic opposition in 2009 and has taken limited diplomatic action against Iran’s illicit nuclear program.

The administration appears to be treating the Iranian cyber attacks as a law enforcement matter rather than covert warfare.

White House National Security Council spokesman Tommy Vietor declined to comment when asked why the administration has failed to respond to the attacks.

FBI spokeswoman Jennifer Shearer also declined to comment on what she said were “ongoing matters.”

The hackers called the attacks Operation Ababil and stepped up their efforts last week, prompting PNC Bank to warn customers about the disruptions.

PNC Bank disclosed in a statement Jan. 3 that a number of U.S. banks, including PNC, were dealing with “unusually high volume of traffic at their Internet connections.”

“This volume of traffic is consistent with threatened cyber attacks on the U.S. banking system and is designed to cause access delays for legitimate Internet customers,” the bank said.

Read more at Free Beacon

See also: