recommended reading

No 'Electronic Jihad,' But Serious Threat

ARCHIVES

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: Al-jinan.org, Jo-uf.net, and jofpmnytrvcf.com would be “viable risk mitigation.”

JOIN THE DISCUSSION

Close [ x ] More from Nextgov
 
 

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

  • Modernizing IT for Mission Success

    Surveying Federal and Defense Leaders on Priorities and Challenges at the Tactical Edge

    Download
  • Communicating Innovation in Federal Government

    Federal Government spending on ‘obsolete technology’ continues to increase. Supporting the twin pillars of improved digital service delivery for citizens on the one hand, and the increasingly optimized and flexible working practices for federal employees on the other, are neither easy nor inexpensive tasks. This whitepaper explores how federal agencies can leverage the value of existing agency technology assets while offering IT leaders the ability to implement the kind of employee productivity, citizen service improvements and security demanded by federal oversight.

    Download
  • Effective Ransomware Response

    This whitepaper provides an overview and understanding of ransomware and how to successfully combat it.

    Download
  • Forecasting Cloud's Future

    Conversations with Federal, State, and Local Technology Leaders on Cloud-Driven Digital Transformation

    Download
  • IT Transformation Trends: Flash Storage as a Strategic IT Asset

    MIT Technology Review: Flash Storage As a Strategic IT Asset For the first time in decades, IT leaders now consider all-flash storage as a strategic IT asset. IT has become a new operating model that enables self-service with high performance, density and resiliency. It also offers the self-service agility of the public cloud combined with the security, performance, and cost-effectiveness of a private cloud. Download this MIT Technology Review paper to learn more about how all-flash storage is transforming the data center.

    Download

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