FutureWire - futurism and emerging technology

Thursday, February 10, 2005

Online Jihad

Websites run by radical Islamic groups are providing detailed information on how to hack and launch denial-of-service attacks on "zionist" web presences. Some of these sites also contain instructions for harassing prominent American, European and Israeli politicians. This, on top of content for active and would-be terrorists already being posted on jihadist sites. The SITE Institute, which tracks terrorist activity, maintains a website with links to several terrorist-run Internet resources.

All indications are that this trend is growing, along with the amount of damage that terror-minded hackers could do. The downside of Internet-enabled enterprise systems is that they can conceivably be attacked from anywhere in the world. In one case, a disgruntled employee of an Australian public utility hacked the computer that managed the sewer system, causing raw sewage to be dumped into the water supply. Though that incident wasn't terror-related, it's an example of what can be done with technology, a little know-how and some creativity.

There's no reason to believe that radicals of all stripes won't take advantage of blogging, podcasting and videocasting to get their messages out to the true believers. Today's terrorist wannabes don't have to go to the Middle East anymore to get their training; they can log on from their bedrooms (or wherever), receive motivation, training and instructions online, and commit acts of terror with a few clicks of a mouse. Then, they won't be wannabes anymore.

Source: Newsweek