The Corpus Callosum

Electronic Jihad 2.0

11/11 is to be the new 9/11, according to the jihad-watchers at href="http://www.debka.com/" rel="tag">DEBKAfile.
 

href="http://www.debka.com/headline.php?hid=4723">DEBKAfile
Exclusive: Al Qaeda declares Cyber Jihad on the West
October 30, 2007, 9:23 AM (GMT+02:00)

In a special Internet announcement in Arabic, picked
up DEBKAfile’s counter-terror sources, Osama bin Laden’s followers
announced Monday, Oct. 29, the launching of Electronic Jihad. On
Sunday, Nov. 11, al Qaeda’s electronic experts will start attacking
Western, Jewish, Israeli, Muslim apostate and Shiite Web sites. On Day
One, they will test their skills against 15 targeted sites expand the
operation from day to day thereafter until hundreds of thousands of
Islamist hackers are in action against untold numbers of anti-Muslim
sites.

DEBKAfile’s counter-terror sources report that, shortly after the first
announcement, some of al Qaeda’s own Web sites went blank, apparently
crashed by the American intelligence computer experts tracking them.

The next day, Oct. 30, they were up again, claiming their Islamic fire
walls were proof against infidel assault.

They also boasted an impenetrable e-mail network for volunteers wishing
to join up with the cyber jihad to contact and receive instructions
undetected by the security agencies in their respective countries.

Our sources say the instructions come in simple language and are
organized in sections according to target. They offer would-be martyrs,
who for one reason or another are unable to fight in the field, to
fulfill their jihad obligations on the Net. These virtual martyrs are
assured of the same thrill and sense of elation as a jihadi on the
“battlefield.”

E-Week has details of the proposed method, a href="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Denial-of-service_attack"
rel="tag">distributed denial of service attack
(DDoS) perpetrated using a software kit called href="http://www.informationweek.com/news/showArticle.jhtml?articleID=200001943">Electronic
Jihad 2.0.  The “2.0″ version allows the use of
proxies in an effort to complicate the task of tracing the sources and
shutting them down.

Security experts are href="http://www.eweek.com/article2/0,1895,1639427,00.asp">not
terribly worried about this.  It is a well-known
method of attack and it is something that everyone should be prepared
for all the time, anyway.  

My non-specialist read on this is that it is not likely to work.
 On the other hand, if there are many computers out there that
have been compromised, that can be taken over simultaneously, and can
be used for a truly massive coordinated attack, this could be bad.
 

Typically, the administrators of a site under attack will temporarily
purchase more bandwidth and more connections to the Internet, thereby
diluting the effectiveness of the attack.  That means that the
attacks would have to bring an increasing number of computers on-line
to sustain the attack.  Yet, the description states that the
initial attack would focus on a few sites, then broaden.  If
the attackers are not able to recruit resources exponentially, the
attack will fizzle out if they use that strategy.  It would be
smarter to start out with a broad attack, then use whatever resources
you have to narrow in on the sites that proved to be most vulnerable.

This leaves the question of what such an attack could possible
accomplish.  I can imagine many big headaches, even some
significant economic damage, but nothing truly catastrophic.
 It runs the risk of damaging the reputation of the
perpetrators if it fizzles.  Plus, what is the reward?
 70 fresh avatars
in Second Life
?