Feeds

Program automating online jihad found in the wild

Electronic jihad 3.0

3 Big data security analytics techniques

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." ®

3 Big data security analytics techniques

More from The Register

next story
Obama allows NSA to exploit 0-days: report
If the spooks say they need it, they get it
Samsung Galaxy S5 fingerprint scanner hacked in just 4 DAYS
Sammy's newbie cooked slower than iPhone, also costs more to build
Putin tells Snowden: Russia conducts no US-style mass surveillance
Gov't is too broke for that, Russian prez says
Snowden-inspired crypto-email service Lavaboom launches
German service pays tribute to Lavabit
Mounties always get their man: Heartbleed 'hacker', 19, CUFFED
Canadian teen accused of raiding tax computers using OpenSSL bug
One year on: diplomatic fail as Chinese APT gangs get back to work
Mandiant says past 12 months shows Beijing won't call off its hackers
Heartbleed exploit, inoculation, both released
File under 'this is going to hurt you more than it hurts me'
Reddit users discover iOS malware threat
'Unflod Baby Panda' looks to snatch Apple IDs
prev story

Whitepapers

Securing web applications made simple and scalable
In this whitepaper learn how automated security testing can provide a simple and scalable way to protect your web applications.
3 Big data security analytics techniques
Applying these Big Data security analytics techniques can help you make your business safer by detecting attacks early, before significant damage is done.
The benefits of software based PBX
Why you should break free from your proprietary PBX and how to leverage your existing server hardware.
Top three mobile application threats
Learn about three of the top mobile application security threats facing businesses today and recommendations on how to mitigate the risk.
Combat fraud and increase customer satisfaction
Based on their experience using HP ArcSight Enterprise Security Manager for IT security operations, Finansbank moved to HP ArcSight ESM for fraud management.