Feeds

Program automating online jihad found in the wild

Electronic jihad 3.0

The Essential Guide to IT Transformation

Security researchers say they have discovered a program that could be used by Islamic terrorists to launch data attacks against Western targets.

The "Electronic Program of Jihad," as its creators have dubbed it, asks for a username and password once it's installed, according to this entry on the McAfee Avert Labs Blog. The program, quoted as version 3.0, then tries to join a cyber jihadist website that coordinates the attack. Loyal users can even score bonus points by referring newcomers.

The revelation comes two weeks after Israeli news website Debkafile reported calls by an Islamist website for true believers to mount electronic attacks on "Western, Jewish, Israeli, Muslim apostate and Shiite websites". Rather than launching the assault through a network of compromised PCs, the organizers reportedly plan to supply a package called Electronic Jihad Version 2.0 that volunteers could use to unleash denial-of-service attacks against the targets.

Many security experts have said the report should be treated with a liberal dose of skepticism. They argue that Debkafile is a less-than-reliable source and say grass-roots-based cyber attacks by militant Islamists already happen all the time.

purported Al Qaeda's Cyber Warriors graphic of two greyed linked upright PC boxes -with lightning/ electricity symbol between them.

Logo unearthed by Debkafile

The icon for the Electronic Program of Jihad bears the symbol of al Qaeda's Cyber Warriors, matching one presented by Debkafile in a recent press release. Even still, McAfee researcher Francois Paget stopped short of saying the program is directly connected to the reported cyberjihad.

"I wrote this blog entry to demonstrate that at least one terrorist ring is interested in malware," he wrote. "But it seems to me, they have not reached the technical level of some criminal groups, for now."

For one thing, the system has no fast-flux network or other decentralized command-and-control features, so it would be relatively easy for someone to take it down. And for another the cyber jihadist website supposedly coordinating the attack is currently unreachable.

Similarly, Gadi Evron, a Security Architect at Afilias Global Registry Services, also discounted the likelihood that the software represented much of new threat.

"My educated guess would be that this is 'just yet another tool' that some enthusiasts on a web forum developed, Evron wrote in an email to El Reg. "There are many enthusiast 'cyber terrorists' of a low technical and operational level who deface web sites and launch DDoS attacks of varying success for clear political goals, ranging from US politics to the Middle East to the far east." ®

Build a business case: developing custom apps

More from The Register

next story
14 antivirus apps found to have security problems
Vendors just don't care, says researcher, after finding basic boo-boos in security software
'Things' on the Internet-of-things have 25 vulnerabilities apiece
Leaking sprinklers, overheated thermostats and picked locks all online
iWallet: No BONKING PLEASE, we're Apple
BLE-ding iPhones, not NFC bonkers, will drive trend - marketeers
Only '3% of web servers in top corps' fully fixed after Heartbleed snafu
Just slapping a patched OpenSSL on a machine ain't going to cut it, we're told
How long is too long to wait for a security fix?
Synology finally patches OpenSSL bugs in Trevor's NAS
Israel's Iron Dome missile tech stolen by Chinese hackers
Corporate raiders Comment Crew fingered for attacks
Tor attack nodes RIPPED MASKS off users for 6 MONTHS
Traffic confirmation attack bared users' privates - but to whom?
Roll out the welcome mat to hackers and crackers
Security chap pens guide to bug bounty programs that won't fail like Yahoo!'s
Researcher sat on critical IE bugs for THREE YEARS
VUPEN waited for Pwn2Own cash while IE's sandbox leaked
prev story

Whitepapers

Implementing global e-invoicing with guaranteed legal certainty
Explaining the role local tax compliance plays in successful supply chain management and e-business and how leading global brands are addressing this.
Boost IT visibility and business value
How building a great service catalog relieves pressure points and demonstrates the value of IT service management.
Why and how to choose the right cloud vendor
The benefits of cloud-based storage in your processes. Eliminate onsite, disk-based backup and archiving in favor of cloud-based data protection.
The Essential Guide to IT Transformation
ServiceNow discusses three IT transformations that can help CIO's automate IT services to transform IT and the enterprise.
Maximize storage efficiency across the enterprise
The HP StoreOnce backup solution offers highly flexible, centrally managed, and highly efficient data protection for any enterprise.