Several most popular pro-Islamic / terrorist web sites operated in support of al Qaeda came under attack recently. These sites (five in total) went offline and remained offline for as much as 12 days. Most of these web sites are considered online forums that are frequently visited by al-Qaeda operatives and used to communicate with them.
• Authors of these web sites responded by posting the following – “Enemies of Allah … attempted to target the forum…with a failed, miserable campaign”
• These forums represent a critical component of al Qaeda’s communications infrastructure and a primary point for delivering their message. There are multiple reports that al Qaeda uses steganography in their media releases. Steganography dates back to ancient Greece and is the art and science of hiding messages. In many cases messages are hidden within the images and text that appeared on the web sites.
While many of al Qaeda’s support sites were down, one al-Qaeda online forum that was unaffected, the Ansar al Mujahiddin Arabic Forum, displayed an image of the New York sky-line with accompanying text that said, “al Qaeda: Coming Soon Again in New York.” These web sites are said to have ties to the Taliban and a key militant leader in Jordan. Federal agencies and local law enforcement are attempting to calculate the significance of the recent image display on the web sites believed to have close ties to al Qaeda.
At this point no one has taken responsibility for the cyber-attacks on the terrorist group’s web sites. Cyber terrorism experts believe this is a concerted effort by clandestine counter terrorism organizations in an effort to disrupt communications. Al Qaeda is expected to retaliate for the cyber-attack on their web sites.
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