Thursday, February 28, 2008

Terrorist Fundraising Via Credit Card Theft

Credit card theft (both from manual swiping and network intrusions) has been identified in several major terrorist funding investigations. Dennis Lormel looks at three cases and the lack of a coherent strategy to investigate or prevent these types of crime:
"The above cases [Ali Al Marri, Imam Samudra author of "Hacking, Why Not" and Younes Tsouli, aka Terrorist 007] are particularly troubling because of the upward trend of terrorists communicating on and using the internet as a learning tool. In both the Samudra and Terrorist 007 cases, they left their successful tradecraft on web pages and in chat rooms for aspiring terrorists to learn and grow from."

Terrorists and Credit Card Fraud…a Quiet Epidemic

German Court Limits Online Monitoring of Terrorist Suspects

Germany's Constitutional Court released a ruling severely limiting the government's ability to monitor the systems of suspected terrorists:

"The now invalid law in North Rhine-Westphalia had allowed authorities to access a suspect's hard drive and keep it under regular surveillance -- under the condition that they expected to find evidence of anti-constitutional activity.

"Such a massive intrusion should not be possible on such vague grounds, the Karlsruhe court decided. Rather, the state may secretly spy on someone only if there is strong evidence that personal safety, lives, freedom, state property or the foundation of human existence are endangered. And only with permission from a judge."

Opinion: German Politicians Test Citizens' Rights

Germany's Highest Court Restricts Internet Surveillance

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Dallas Police Website Defaced with Anti-American Protest

The Dallas Police Website was replaced with anti-American protests Monday evening. Little information on motive or source have been provided.

"Whoever hacked into the site also posted a doctored photograph showing American troops watching over four people lined up against a wall.

Each of the four prisoners had lines leading away from their faces to individual head shots of President Bush, Vice President Dick Cheney, Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice and Sen. John McCain, the Republican presidential contender..."

Anti-American rant takes over Dallas police Web site

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

Recommended Reading: Combating Enemies Online

The Hawaii Reporter has published an excellent article on politically motivated computer crime. The article discusses the different types (motivations) of activity and reviews responses and recommendations:
"Less attention, however, has been paid to state sponsors of illicit computer activity, which are increasingly using the Internet to conduct espionage, deny services to domestic and foreign audiences, and influence global opinion. In addition, insufficient focus has been given to how terrorists exploit the Internet as a tool for recruiting, fund raising, propa­ganda, and intelligence collection and use it to plan, coordinate, and control terrorist operations. Combat­ing these malicious activities on the Internet will require the cooperation of federal entities, as well as friendly and allied countries and the private sector."
Combating Enemies Online: State-Sponsored and Terrorist Use of the Internet

Alert: Danish Web Sites Need to Be Vigilant after Re-publication of Mohammad Caricatures

As of today, there are no reported cyber attacks or web defacements, however, Danish companies and ISPs hosting them should be vigilant and expect protest attacks against websites. In 2007 when the first Mohammad caricatures were published in Danish newspapers, over 6000 websites were defaced.
"Danish newspapers have reprinted one of several caricatures of the Prophet Muhammad which sparked violent protests across the Muslim world two years ago.

They say they wanted to show their commitment to freedom of speech after an alleged plot to kill one of the cartoonists behind the drawings."

Danish Muhammad cartoon reprinted

Friday, February 08, 2008

Germany Monitoring Increased al-Qaida Activity Online

German officials monitoring Internet traffic have seen an increase in Internet use by al-Qaida supporters:
"We have very clearly seen that al-Qaida increasingly uses the Internet for three components — a massive radicalization, recruiting and the spreading of technical information on how to carry out a terror attack, including construction of explosive devices." [Stefan] Paris [spokesman for Interior Minister Wolfgang Schaeuble] said.

"He added that officials were also seeing a "clear focus on Germany," citing an increase in the number of German-language postings from al-Qaida over the past year."

Germany sees online al-Qaida activity

Thursday, February 07, 2008

Online Anti-FARC Protest Grows in Columbia

A grass-roots, online protest against the condition of kidnapped hostages held by FARC in Columbia has become almost main stream with support from Colombia's President Álvaro Uribe and El Tiempo, the country's most influential newspaper.
"Its staggering growth-rate - it gathered some 3,000 supporters in the first 24 hours, and at the time of writing has 261,236 virtual members - sufficed to encourage Morales to back up this cyber-protest with physical ones on 4 February. This is taking place simultaneously in 45 Colombian cities and towns, and rallies in solidarity are also scheduled in 115 cities worldwide (60 in the Americas, 40 in Europe, and 15 in Asia and Oceania)."
The article, by Swiss based the International Security and Relations Network, also provides a good analysis of issues related to this type of online protest such as how easy the "protest message" can become over simplified and the impact of mainstream politicians becoming involved.

Colombia: Networks of dissent and power

The Facebook group is called "A Million Voices Against FARC".

Chinese Censorship Easy to Bypass

China, now equaling the U.S. in Internet population, has long been criticized for censoring web content, especially political dissent. However, the Washington Times, quotes an unemployed Chinese computer game enthusiast that bypassing government controls is trivially easy:
"Official blocks on controversial or political Web sites pose no obstacle to any experienced user who wants to get past them, said Mr. Li [Shenwen]."
Mr. Li demonstrated his ability to access several blocked sites in under three minutes. Mr. Li stated the (undisclosed) techniques were well known in local Internet cafes, but said few people use them to gain access to blocked news or dissident websites:
"...they are more interested in using skills to access restricted pornography sites than to read about politics."

Chinese hackers crack Net censorship