Today’s post is for anyone who has ever received one of those “confirm your e-Bay account” emails. Be sure to read the second part of this post. Very scary…
From the United Kingdom’s Guardian Unlimited:
Three jailed for engaging in ‘cyber jihad’ for al-Qaida
Friday July 6, 2007
Three men, including the top computer expert for al-Qaida in Iraq, were sent to prison yesterday for spreading extremist jihadi material through their websites. It was the first UK prosecution for inciting terrorist murder on the internet.At Woolwich crown court the ringleader, Moroccan-born Younis Tsouli, 23, from Shepherd’s Bush, west London, was given 10 years. Using the nickname Irhabi007 – Arabic for terrorist and the code name of James Bond – he facilitated the distribution of messages from the al-Qaida leadership and videos of beheadings and military attacks by Abu Musab al- Zarqawi’s group in Iraq.
Tariq Al-Daour, 21, a British citizen born in the United Arab Emirates, was jailed for six-and-a-half years. Waseem Mughal, a Leicester University biochemistry graduate, who was born in the UK, was given seven-and-a-half-years.
Earlier this week all three pleaded guilty to inciting another person to commit an act of terrorism wholly or partly outside the UK which would, if committed in England and Wales, constitute murder. They also admitted conspiring together and with others to defraud banks, credit card companies and charge card firms.
Passing sentence, Mr Justice Openshaw said the men engaged in “cyber jihad”, with direct incitements to kill non-Muslims. But he said none of them had come anywhere close to carrying out acts of violence themselves. Referring to Tsouli, he said: “He came no closer to a bomb or a firearm than a computer keyboard.” The judge said Tsouli should be deported to Morocco after serving his time.
Investigators and vigilantes who monitor jihadi internet traffic dubbed Irhabi007 the “godfather of cyber-terrorism for al-Qaida” in Iraq while he was active from early 2004 until his arrest in October 2005.
In May 2004 he helped to distribute a video of the beheading by Zarqawi of an American contractor in Iraq, Nicholas Berg. It was downloaded half a million times in the first 24 hours. By hacking into unprotected web servers he was able to use a mechanism known as file transfer protocol to post large files and videos, including videos made by an al-Qaida affiliate group in Saudi Arabia responsible for attacking housing used by foreign staff.
He was caught when two terrorist suspects were arrested in Bosnia and their mobile phones and email records led to the detention of more than 30 people in North America and Europe.
The above picture are the three terrorist suspects. From left to right, Waseem Mughal, Younis Tsouli and Tariq al-Daour. The three men pleaded guilty this week to a terrorism charge in the United Kingdom. (Picture from Scotland Yard)
The previous story from the Guardian links up to this story in today’s Washington Post (free registration may be required) :
The global jihad landed in Linda Spence’s e-mail inbox during the summer of 2003, in the form of a message urging her to verify her eBay account information. The 35-year-old New Jersey resident clicked on the link included in the message, which took her to a counterfeit eBay site where she unwittingly entered in personal financial information.
Ultimately, Spence’s information wound up in the hands of a young man in the United Kingdom who investigators said was the brains behind a terrorist cell that sought to facilitate deadly bombing attacks against targets in the United States, Europe and the Middle East.
Investigators say Spence’s stolen data made its way via the Internet black market for stolen identities to 21-year-old biochemistry student Tariq al-Daour, one of three U.K. residents who pleaded guilty this week to a terrorism charge of using the Internet to incite murder.Much has been written about radical Islamic groups’ use of the Internet to propagandize and recruit new members. The U.K. investigation, however, revealed a significant link between Islamic terrorist groups and cyber crime, and experts say security officials must do more to understand and confront cyber crime as part of any overall strategy for combatting terrorism.
Investigators in the United States and Britain say the trio used computer viruses and stolen credit card accounts to set up a network of communication forums and Web sites that hosted everything from tutorials on computer hacking and bomb-making to videos of beheadings and suicide bombing attacks in Iraq.
I can’t stress enough how important it is to not fall into the trap of internet hoaxes and email fraud. These emails seem very real and you should never and I mean NEVER click on a link that is included in your inbox to confirm any type of account or payment information. Always type the web address in your browser such as http://www.ebay.com and log into your account that way. Always report any suspicious email. You never know who may be on the other end of the computer screen.