June 30, 2011, 10:45 AM —
Photo credit: Daniela Meleo/Flickr
Using what one expert called "sophisticated techniques," unknown hackers have taken down terrorist group al-Qaida's Internet operation.
NBC News reports that the attack occurred over the past few days. No one has taken credit for it, which might rule out Anonymous, since the hacktivist collective is pretty quick to proclaim its role in cyber attacks.
Evan Kohlmann, of Flashpoint Global Partners, a research and analysis firm that monitors the terror group's communications, told NBC News that the attack was "well coordinated and involved the use of an unusual cocktail of relatively sophisticated techniques."
The specific targets of the hack were the al-Shamukh forum, where jihadist drivel is discussed, and an al-Qaida server.
Flashpoint on Thursday posted an update via Twitter:
A spokesman for the Shamukh jihadi forum, Abu Alaina al-Khorasani, has announced that the site will return back online "within a few hours."
Last year computer experts working for the British government hacked into a pro-jihadist English-language web magazine run by al-Qaida, replacing "instructions on how to build a bomb with recipes for making cupcakes," Reuters reported in early June:
Instead of being able to read how to "Make a Bomb in the Kitchen of Your Mom," readers were greeted with computer code which actually contained recipes from The Best Cupcakes in America, published by U.S. chat show host Ellen DeGeneres.
OK, that's just brilliant.
Flashpoint's Kohlmann speculates that the latest attack also may have come from "government-sponsored" hackers.
And while last year's attack crippled the online magazine for nearly two weeks, the latest hack arguably is much more serious for two reasons:
1) It struck at an Internet forum, where presumably terror plans and logistics can be discussed, even cryptically.
2) The infidels did not favor the terrorists with any new and yummy recipes.