recommended reading

No 'Electronic Jihad,' But Serious Threat


By Gautham Nagesh November 12, 2007

recent posts

Rumors of a pending “cyber-jihad” led by Al Qaeda that was set to take place yesterday seemed to have been overblown.

Information security expert Paul Henry, vice president of Technology Evangelism at Secure Computing, told us last week, “The bottom line is that this is nothing to panic over. The Internet is not going to come crashing down on Nov. 11.”

The Israeli online military intelligence magazine DEBKAfile was the first to report rumors that followers of Osama Bin Laden were planning to launch a large-scale attack on Western networks and servers on Sunday, Nov. 11, using an “Electronic Jihad” program. The report was met with a good bit of skepticism across the web. DEBKAfile also reported in 2003 that Saddam Hussein would be using weapons of mass destruction against U.S. troops. Still, Henry cautioned that while the threat isn’t serious, he said organizations should still exercise caution.

“The program is real, we have seen screenshots,” he said. “They are now using centralized targeting. When you log on, it automatically contacts one of three command servers and downloads a target list. We are still talking about an incredibly rudimentary attack. The program uses ping packets with a payload to overwhelm the host. It also has the ability to place enough HTTP requests to overload a web server.”

According to Henry, indications are that the organization behind the program is attempting to recruit students in the United States and Canada. He said the program’s attacks usually focus on Israeli targets and Web sites and are largely originated from countries with no cybercrime laws and that are home to Al Qaeda sympathizers, including Malaysia, Indonesia and much of Southeast Asia. Henry also added that it has been years since he had seen attacks using similar DDOS technology.

Henry called the possible attack “a good exercise to see how well they are recruiting and how the defenses react.” He also added that all three command control servers are categorized as nefarious by security software, and that most universities and institutional networks have defenses in place and anti-malware software to prevent downloads of the e-Jihad program. Henry added that blocking traffic from the three domains in question:,, and would be “viable risk mitigation.”


Close [ x ] More from Nextgov

Thank you for subscribing to newsletters from
We think these reports might interest you:

  • It’s Time for the Federal Government to Embrace Wireless and Mobility

    The United States has turned a corner on the adoption of mobile phones, tablets and other smart devices, outpacing traditional desktop and laptop sales by a wide margin. This issue brief discusses the state of wireless and mobility in federal government and outlines why now is the time to embrace these technologies in government.

  • Featured Content from RSA Conference: Dissed by NIST

    Learn more about the latest draft of the U.S. National Institute of Standards and Technology guidance document on authentication and lifecycle management.

  • A New Security Architecture for Federal Networks

    Federal government networks are under constant attack, and the number of those attacks is increasing. This issue brief discusses today's threats and a new model for the future.

  • Going Agile:Revolutionizing Federal Digital Services Delivery

    Here’s one indication that times have changed: Harriet Tubman is going to be the next face of the twenty dollar bill. Another sign of change? The way in which the federal government arrived at that decision.

  • Software-Defined Networking

    So many demands are being placed on federal information technology networks, which must handle vast amounts of data, accommodate voice and video, and cope with a multitude of highly connected devices while keeping government information secure from cyber threats. This issue brief discusses the state of SDN in the federal government and the path forward.

  • The New IP: Moving Government Agencies Toward the Network of The Future

    Federal IT managers are looking to modernize legacy network infrastructures that are taxed by growing demands from mobile devices, video, vast amounts of data, and more. This issue brief discusses the federal government network landscape, as well as market, financial force drivers for network modernization.


When you download a report, your information may be shared with the underwriters of that document.