Monday, May 19, 2008

North America Hosts Terrorist Web Sites

Israel 21c posted an article discussing the use of North American ISPs to host terrorist supporting websites:
"Prof. Niv Ahituv, academic director of the Netvision Institute for Internet Studies (NIIS) at Tel Aviv University (TAU), said that some of the world's most dangerous organizations, including Hezbollah and al-Qaeda, host their web sites on servers owned by popular American and Canadian ISPs used by most North Americans."
This issue has been documented since 2000 when the first serious cyber conflicts occurred between Israeli and Palestinian supporters during the second Intifada. Since both sides targeted systems hosted by North American ISPs, the attacks affected many U.S. companies not directly involved with the conflict - a form of electronic collateral damage (See: Hacktivism and Politically Motivated Computer Crime).

The article discusses a presentation on this topic that Professor Ahituv made at a NATO conference earlier this year. The article also addresses the debate on shutting down this type of activity and the U.S. First Amendment issues involved:
"Unfortunately, in the wired world, the base location is a technical matter. Geography is not a limiting factor. "A half an hour after a website is shut down in the US, it is registered in Malaysia, Saudi Arabia, or Iran. The FBI has shut down a few websites, but it is like chasing the wind," warns Ahituv."

Israeli study shows US a digital haven for terrorists

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