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Cyber Jihad – OSJ (open source jihad)

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Writer: Dr Rupali Jeswal

The visceral nature of emotions amplified by mainstream mass media.

The great changes of our time, the emotional tectonic shifts have provided new causes for anger, past dreams to be fulfilled and new tools of attack. Emotion’s role enables past experiences to be determined with appraisal of history, which further enables current circumstances to be quickly referred to and deduced – this is the case with all beings also in politics and in terrorism.

Information technology has given this process speed and larger, diverse area of dissemination.

Terrorists must have publicity in some form if they are to gain attention, inspire fear and respect and to convert and recruit. One may not agree with their act but this does not preclude the sympathisers to trigger a favourable understanding of their cause.

They believe they are “helping” the disillusioned and the pathless through means of cyber jihad, in understanding that the cause is just and in this path acts of terror when committed are justified.

The rhetorical skills (oratory through videos or written) in forums, blogs, or online magazines exudes pride, focus, devotion to the cause, strong-directed belief of success, anger, anxiety, shock, fear and panic.

“Civilisations have feelings, too.” According to French policy theorist Dominique Moisi, his intriguing book explores how cultures of fear, humiliation and hope are reshaping global politics.

Example from Inspire, issue 9.
(Info. Note: In the documents retrieved from Abbottabad titled: “Letters from Abbottabad: Bin Laden Sidelined”:
The American public might be surprised to learn that Bin Ladin was unimpressed by the recent trend of American populist jihad. For example, he did not hold the American jihadi citizen Anwar al-`Awlaqi (killed by a drone strike in Yemen in 2011) in great esteem; Bin Ladin was not even inspired by Inspire, AQAP’s English-language magazine designed to appeal to Muslim Americans to launch random attacks in the United States. He warned of its “dangerous consequences,” presumably due to its tasteless content and no doubt to the poor planning of the operations it promotes.)

Like modern terrorist organisations, the Assassins (Following the death of the Fâtimid caliphate al Mustansir in 1094, members of a faction in Persia that supported a deposed claimant to the caliphate, Nizâr, believed they now represented Fâtimid interests. These Nizârî Ismâî’lîs ended up separating themselves from mainstream Islam and creating their own state in parts of present-day Syria, Iraq and Iran. In order to establish and maintain regional control, the Nizârî Ismâî’lîs used political murders and spies to subjugate or influence rival caliphates and the dominant Saljûqs.) {Excerpt from the book: The Secret Order of Assassins The Struggle of the Early Nizârî Ismâî’lîs Against the Islamic World Marshall G S Hodgson} succeeded in reshaping and redirecting the rage of the discontented into an ideology and an organisation. Furthermore, the Assassins cultivated their terrifying reputation by slaying their victims in public. Its modern equivalent is ‘media hype’.

Instant connectivity, communication and learning is enabling the terrorist to become decentralised, evolving into varied melding of groups, cells, individuals who are not dependent on any structured on-ground training camps or a base to learn, plan and carry out operations of terror. Dissemination of disinformation is not new, however use of technology has given it speed and it is a weapon of mass destruction in its own right.

Internet is a purposeful medium for strategic communication, the online jihadist media campaign has been growing and opening new fronts, back in 2005 in a letter to al-Zarqawi
Ayman al-Zawahari declared: “We are in a battle and more than half of this battle is taking place in the battlefield of the media. We are in a media battle for the hearts and minds of our umma”.

The Internet provides many different ways of anonymously meeting with ‘like minded’ individuals in a (comparatively) safe way. Furthermore, a successful cyberterrorism event could require no more prerequisite than knowledge – easily obtained through the Internet.

A mujahid suitcase can be easily prepared through online learning training tools in the form of manuals on explosives, weapons know-how, targeting guidance, constructing UAV’s and more.

The various jihadi forums contain sections titled Muntada al-’udda wal-i’dad (“[Military] Equipment and Preparation Forum”), devoted to discussions of a wide range of weapons and tactics. This includes discussions of electronic warfare, such as ways of combating drones, spy aircraft and satellite surveillance and ways of disrupting power systems etc.

In addition to these topics, members have addressed electromagnetic pulse (EMP) technology as a means of causing severe damage to the enemy. A would be jihadi can learn all about propaganda, fund-raising and how to convert more minds.

Websites such as the Taliban (alemarahweb and ABalkhi), the Somali Al-Qaeda-affiliated group Al-Shabaab Al-Mujahideen (HSMPress), Hamas (hamasinfo) and its military wing Al-Qassam Brigades (AlqassamBrigade), Hizbullah and its media arm Al-Manar TV (almanarnews) and other groups have created an epidemic.

Example: A course in explosives, manufacturing of primary charges.

In an article titled: Using Twitter, YouTube, Facebook and Other Internet Tools, Pakistani Terrorist Group Lashkar-e-Jhangvi Incites Violence against Shi’ite Muslims and Engenders Antisemitism by Tufail Ahmad, conveys – The Lashkar-e-Jhangvi’s media campaign is steered by the Jhangvi Media Movement (JMM), which has a dedicated website, creating numerous links to its webcasts, websites, videos and print magazines. The JMM also has multiple active accounts on Twitter, YouTube and Facebook, the US-based social networking sites used by it to advance its ideological propaganda. – built on the lines of jihadist Internet forums associated with Al Qaeda – is a major Internet forum operated by the LeJ/SSP. The JMM website lists a number of websites associated with it, some being,,,,, and Islamic-forum-net. A search of these websites in early March 2012 indicated that most of these sites are active. The also propagates a number of websites and print magazines.

Manufacturing of primary charges (Page I 49)
4. HEXAMINE PEROXIDE [C6H12O6N2](14) Properties
1) It is in the form of white crystals, semi flour like form and has a smell like fish.
2) The density is 1.57 g/cm3.
3) It does not dissolve in anything at normal temperature and does not evaporate.
4) Speed of blast is 6150 m/s.
5) Temperature at which it blasts is 200˚c.
6) When boiled in water for 24 hours it decomposes and cannot be recovered.
7) Less than Hexamine Peroxide burns with a drop of Sulphuric Acid. If it is in small quantity it will not blast but not burn.
8) Doesn’t react with most of metals.
9) In moisture state it may not explode.
10) Sunlight doesn’t affect the strength.
11) For making Hydrogen Peroxide never use more than 30% H2O2 and do not use Nitric Acid as a catalyst, it may explode.

1) Used in normal and electric detonators.
2) It is also used in impact detonators and is safer to use because of its sensitivity, its neither very sensitive nor too less.
3) You can make blasting fuel, like cortex, this can be made by making a mixture of this Hexamine peroxide with Engine oil or Glycerin, such that the ratio is 1 part Engine oil and 3 parts Hexamine peroxide (Hexamine peroxide with Engine oil is better).

Preparation Of Hexamine Peroxide [C6H12O6N2]
1) Take 3.5 grams Hexamine[15] and put it into breaker 1 containing 11.2 grams Hydrogen peroxide (20-30% concentration).
2) Add 5.25 grams of concentrated Citric Acid [C6H8O7] or Acetic acid [CH3COOH] to beaker 1.
3) Mix well for 30 minutes, temperature should be between 30-42˚c, then cover and leave it in a bowl of cold water till it becomes semi flour like (don’t leave unattended).

Note: Our sheikh recommends that the best activating explosive for guerilla warfare for Mujahidin is Hexamine peroxide and Acetone Peroxide because they are easily available and easily prepared and strong.

Online forums and chat rooms are buzzing with “call for participation” this not only demonstrates the continuing effort by Jihadist propagandists to use mainstream social media platforms to communicate with potential followers
(Al-Shabaab for example, started using Twitter in December 2011,, but also how Jihadist media entities continue to rely on the skills and efforts of individual followers to help craft their message.

In April 2012 image of the New York skyline with the message “Al Qaeda Coming Soon Again in New York” attracted widespread media attention and prompted enhanced law enforcement vigilance. The image, apparently created by an individual member of a jihadist forum, demonstrated the propaganda value that can be created by individuals using commercially available software.

French Sociologist, Émile Durkheim (1858–1917) has argued in his book “Division of Labour in Society”, that traditional primitive societies, based around a clan, family or a tribe unite members through common consciousness and religion plays an important role in unifying its members. This also reflects the work of the Islamic scholar, Ibn Khaldun, (1332-1395 C.E), on Asbyiah (group feelings) Ibn Khaldun expects the sense of solidarity to be based originally and normally on kinship. A sense of solidarity can be powerfully supported by religion and conversely no religion can make an impact unless its members have a strong sense of solidarity.

If we keep the above mentioned theories in mind then the modern era of today and intermingling of cultures and ideas through media and Internet may give rise to cultural insecurities in various societies leading to mental and emotional unrest.

Terrorist Cells and Radicalised cells are not operated by psychopaths, they are individuals who have a vision, a strategy and a goal, they have command on their oratorical and writing skills and knowledge in various fields, they, like every human being have a belief system and a set of emotional values. This comes about through the systemic process, as illustrated in the diagram below, of emotional meaning, emotional support and self-expansion (this process is in all positives and all negatives). Organisms respond to environmental cues according to their emotional / motivational significance.

Terrorism is phenomenon that precedes modern mass media, historically, spread of terror was through oral communication, example the Assassin sect of Shiite Islam during the middle ages, spread terror by word of mouth in the mosques and marketplaces, their connections to mainstream Islam were marginal, they had respect for the Qur’an and a philosophical explanation of the universe. An interesting research in 2007 by Prof Christian Seidl states that – they proposed a warm, personal, emotional faith and to their followers and supporters they offered a well-organised and powerful opposition movement. Two obvious requirements for the success of their operations were an organisation capable to launch the attack and survive the counter-blow and an ideology strong enough to inspire and sustain the attackers. This ideology was provided by the Ismaili religion with its promise of divine and human fulfilment, martyrdom that inspired astonishing devotion. Even though the Assassins operated in ancient times, they are relevant today, primarily as forerunners of modern terrorists in aspects of motivation, organisation, targeting and goals. Furthermore, the fact that they are remembered hundreds of years later, demonstrates the deep psychological impact they caused.

In current times, similar form of oral communication are taking place, one of the recent examples at Masjid al-Azahar, South Jakarta, can be read on this link ustadz-abu-jibriel-jihad-of-syria.html

Media and public attention makes terrorism widespread and successful, even provoked governments adopting repressive measures strengthens the success of terrorism. Terrorism has symbolic power and deep psychological effects, especially when information technology is used, it is terrifying because of it’s potential, as we saw in the case of Assam recently, destructive cyber militancy led to manipulation, corruption of information and images to release misinformation and insert confusion, chaos and disruption of the daily flow of life, this has a psychological impact of a deeper kind. Disruptive Cyber militancy activities also includes activities such as web defacement, according to the Indian government’s information technology ministry, more than 270 government websites were hacked in the first half of 2012.

Twenty-first century technology, spreading rapidly throughout the developing world, is increasingly colliding with ancient tribal animosities, with explosive results. We are far from full comprehension of the kind of foreign policy, national security and civil liberty questions that this new force will raise. Cyber militancy activities used by the terrorist organisations benefit them in converting, radicalising, recruiting, financing, target and operation planning and of course communicating.

Below is an example which conveys how significant is the tool called Internet – Information Technology for cyber jihad.

The Momentous Secret that is No Longer Secret!!!
To close, the final secret I am spreading, which has been known to the wise of the world, follows this question: How was the legend of America destroyed in the media? Indeed was its nose rubbed in the dirt; in light and darkness?

The cleansed hands of the lions of the Jihadist media, the keyboard heroes, the guards of the monitors, the pioneers of the forums.

May you be blessed, O strangers of the net, masters of the Islamic tide; blessings to you who revived the most beautiful days of my life. Blessings to you who destroyed the stock market prices, crushed in the countries of infidelity with the bells and whistles ringing. Blessed are you who have exhausted the slaves of the Cross. For you I pray in private on the wings of wonder and longing. I do not hide from you that we praise be to Allah found your good influence in the Land of Jihad. Continue repaying Allah with your excellent publications, moving speeches, grand analysis and enjoyable articles. Continue your blessed media invasion and develop methods to confront the enemy and penetrate his websites so that he has no peace of mind.

Brother of the Mujahideen
Abu Kandahar al‑Zarqawi
12 Rabi al-­Awwal 1431 02 March 2010

Abu Kandahar al-Zarqawi” a Jordanian was an Al Qeada operative and administrator of an online jihadi chat forum – Al-Hesbah, posting propaganda material and poetry on the forums. In “Knights under the Prophet’s Banner”, al-Zawahiri suggests that “the jihad movement must dedicate one of its wings to work with the masses”. In concluding, al-Zawahiri offers advice to the future generation of the jihadist movement: “We must get our message across to the masses of the nation and break the media siege imposed on the jihad movement”.

- Ayman al-Zawahiri, “فرسان تحت راية النبي” (“Knights under the Prophet’s Banner”).
Internet has become an important tactical operational tool for the terrorist organisations (building online strength in numbers), with trajectory beyond bombs, missiles and guns.

Al Qaeda has explicitly called for acts of cyber jihad along with acts of “lone” terrorism since the death of Osama bin Laden.

May 22, 2012. In a chilling video, an Al Qaeda operative calls for “electronic jihad” against the United States and compares vulnerabilities in vital American computer networks to the flaws in aviation security before the 9/11 attack. The Al Qaeda video calls upon the “covert mujahidin” to launch cyber attacks against the US networks of both government and critical infrastructure, including the electric grid.

Al-Suwaidan Tweets In Support Of Cyber Jihad.

Following the January 2012 Saudi cyber-attack on the Tel Aviv Stock Exchange (TASE) and El-Al Airlines and series of hacking attacks that accessed the credit card information of thousands of Israelis, Al-Suwaidan used his Twitter account to provide religious justification for these attacks.

On January 17, 2012, Al-Suwaidan tweeted: “I see the need in uniting the efforts of the hackers within the electronic jihad project against the Zionist enemy and it is an effective and important jihad and its reward is great – Allah willing.”

Al-Suwaidan: “I Strongly Encourage Young People To Undertake Electronic Jihad ... I View This As Better Than 20 Jihad Operations.”

Al-Suwaidan’s January 17 tweet was not his first statement in support of cyber jihad, as documented by MEMRI. In a June 4, 2011 interview on Al-Quds TV, Al-Suwaidan called for armed resistance and electronic jihad against Israel.
June 14, 2012 -

Also see – Tareq Suwaidan Encourages the Ummah to work for the establishment of the Khilafah [English subtitles].

On September 14, 2006 a free online video game was released: “The night of the capture of Bush” subtitled “Quest for Bush”, this was advertised as a game for young mujahideen. Apparently this game was a modified version of the commercial game “Quest for Saddam”, produced by Petrilla Entertainment in 2003.

“Quest for Bush” after its release in September was downloaded a few thousand times on the Internet by mid-October. The general popularity of this game among children makes this production a decoy for the recruitment of young supporters.”

Excerpts of few articles and links:
“A growing community of German speaking Islamists has developed on the Internet. Aiming to find new recruits, they glorify jihad and call for attacks on Germany. A new study warns that such online propaganda might foster a new generation of terrorists. “

“Denis Cuspert was a bit player, but as a propagandist for jihad he is a star in some circles. He has gained considerable prominence since 2010, when he transformed himself from a Berlin hip hop artist named Deso Dogg into the Islamist Abu Malik.”

“Young Muslim men in Germany are systematically trying to recruit their peers for jihad using sophisticated rhetoric and psychology and by targeting vulnerable youths who are searching for direction in life. Two men who have quit the scene tell their story to SPIEGEL, providing a rare look into a dangerous underground.” The full story can be read here:

Daveed Gartenstein-Ross article on 29th October 2012 – Gunpowder and Lead
“Shabaab leader Ahmad Abdi Godane (aka Mokhtar Abu Zubayr) released an audio statement commemorating Eid al-Adha that was posted on the pro-Shabaab Calamada website.” Excerpt from the statement – “ ... The second example of the ongoing changes in the world is the success achieved by the Muslim ummah. The first one is the fall of infidel-allied regimes in the Arab world and the spread of jihad activities in Egypt, India, Syria, Mali and Nigeria.”

For terror groups, the Internet has become a useful tool to recruit would-be jihadists. By Elisabeth Oktofani for Khabar Southeast Asia in Jakarta October 31,2012

“There are also some individuals who manage several websites at one time,” as stated by Noor Huda Ismail, executive director of the International Institute for Peace Building, Indonesia. “They usually use social media and / or free blog hosting such as Facebook or Blogpot to post information or ideas about jihad.”

One of the most popular topics on such sites, he said, is how to make a bomb from regular kitchen items. “They can easily find out how to make bombs cheaply. They can purchase the ingredients such as match powder and also sugar without being noticed,” he said. “That was actually what happened in Umar Bin Khattab boarding school in Bima, West Nusa Tenggara. They assembled a bomb with knowledge gained from the Internet.”

In the age of modern terrorism bombmakers have had luxury of access to high powered military explosives such as TNT, C-4 and Semtex, technologies shaped charges, platter charges and explosively formed penetrators have also made these explosives powerful. Microelectronics has also, greatly altered the craft of bombmaking. A device can be set on timers to be activated weeks after it is placed aided by sensors which can detect motion, light, changes in altitude in order to detonate the device. Digital mulitmeter is preferred over analogue. Command detonated devices using car batteries, cell phones, radio signals are widely employed (information of this sort is readily available, discussed upon, online, in jihadi forums).

•After 9/11, OBL allegedly told Hadmid Mir (ed. Ausaf newspaper)
“… Hundreds of Muslim scientists were with him and who would use their knowledge in chemistry, biology and (sic) ranging from computers to electronics against the infidels.”

Information technology has become a delivering agent for, concoction of recipes of mayhem.
A brief on bioterrorism with focus on India, shared with me by my friend and colleague Dr Miri Halperin Wernli, she is a senior Pharma Executive working in Basel Switzerland.

“This topic has great relevance to India because India faces both domestic and international terrorism and has specific vulnerabilities due to the following 3 factors:

  • Material needed for bio- and chemical-terrorism could be easily found in India: India has made significant progress in biotechnology over the last few years and this has increased the “easy availability” of material and knowledge to undertake acts of bio-terror. Numerous pharmaceutical production facilities, bio-containment laboratories are working with lethal pathogens – and controls are weak. Also, there is a large biomedical research community, which could be recruited or employed by terrorists. And there is plethora of indigenous highly pathogenic and virulent agents naturally occurring in India.
  • ·Also, Indian industries produce enormous amounts of dual-use chemicals and these chemicals are easily available and cheap: the production of chemicals is in bulk for the domestic consumption and for defence forces. And the access to such chemicals is hardly regulated and no verifiable records are kept.
  • Hazardous materials could easily be taken in or out of the country, given the strong web of air connections Delhi shares with the rest of the world and the vulnerabilities that might be exploited at the airport. Delhi airport alone sees planes depart daily to numerous European, Asian, Middle Eastern and African destinations, as well as non-stop flights to Chicago and Newark.

In all our work we have outlined a series of new and different challenges that could implicate pharma and healthcare in bio- and chemical-terrorism. And India is particularly vulnerable.”

And information technology can bridge the gap of know-how and poor security.

The virtual online strength gives – numbers (virtual population), shared vision, speed to information, gathers imaginative tech-savvy minds, indoctrinated justification through religious ideology, reinforcing the feeling of oppression, marginalisation, selectively perceived pain and sufferings being used as a drive – resulting in increased online chatter and follow-up with hands-on acts of terrorism.

From the past:

  • Virtual Terrorist, 2007
  • Prominent groups identified by MEMRI
  • Hackboy
  • Ansal Al-Jihad Lil-Jihad Al-Electroni
  • Munazamat Fursan Al-Jihad Al-Electroni
  • Majmu’at Al-Jihad Al-Electroni
  • Majma’ Al-Hakar Al-Muslim
  • Inhiyar Al-Dolar
  • (maintain own websites for recruiting volunteers for and coordinating attacks)
  • E Alshech, Cyberspace as a Combat Zone: The Phenomenon of Electronic Jihad, MEMRI, No. 329, Feb. 27, 2007
  • Al Qaeda Alliance Online
  • OBL Crew
  • Abu Syf3r
  • Hilf Al-Muhajirin
  • Q8Army
  • Cyber Jihad
  • Hackers for Palestine
  • Arab Electronic Jihad Team
    • Sought to bring down all US websites
  • Arabian-Fighterz Team
    • About 3,000 defacements
  • Muslim Hackers Club
    • Active in 1998-99
    • Goal: “a non-state capability in information warfare, err, research.”
    • Provided training to local chapters on hacking and network admin
  • Three Pakistani hacker groups: GForce Pakistan stated in 2001: In a few days US government websites will be taken down, so will be the Indian websites .
    • 212 defacements
    • Last recorded 10/27/01
    • Said they weren’t “cyber terrorists”
    • Said “all we ask for is PEACE for everyone”
    • Agreement to stand united under the banner of the Muhajirun Brigades in order to promote cyber warfare and allegiance to leadership
    • Goal to wage media jihad and attack websites harmful to Islam and Muslims
  • Initiative launched January 3, 2007 on Islamic websites
  • Mujahideen operating on Internet
  • Hacking tools developed by jihadists and acquired from other hackers
  • Terrorist training centres
    • Al-Qaeda safe house in Pakistan reportedly used for training in computer hacking and cyber warfare, and cyber reconnaissance of infrastructure and SCADA systems [Magnus Ranstorp, “al Qaeda in Cyberspace,” in Terrorism in the Information Age, 2004]
  • Documents on how to hack
  • Numerous web forum
  • First announced late 2003 with “college” on electronic jihad
  • Announced again in October 2005 on al-Farouq web forum
  • Forum offers library of hacking tools and instructions for cyber attacks
  • Fouad Hussein (Fouad Hussein is a Jordanian journalist and author of the 2005 Arabic language book Al-Zarqawi: The Second Generation of Al Qaeda.)
  • al-Zarqawi–al-Qaeda’s Second Generation, 2005, in Arabic describes 7 phases of al-Qaeda’s long-term war based on interviews of top lieutenants... Phase 4, 2010-2013, includes cyberterrorism against US economy
  • More through cyber means:
  • Recruitment
    • MTV-quality rap video inspiring viewers to take up jihad against the west.
  • Recordings of terrorist acts
    • Bombings, hostages, beheadings, etc.
  • Recorded statements by
    • Leaders
    • Suicide bombers
  • Weapons training
    • Videos and manuals on mixing explosives, making dirty bombs, using Stinger missiles, etc
  • Al-Battar Training Camp
  • 6th issue discussed cell organisation and command structure
  • The Technical Mujahid- al-Qa’ida
  • Training manuals and videos
  • Explosives of all types, Surface-to-air missiles, Flying planes (18 videos on flying 747’s)
  • Electronic Jihad Magazines -
  • Sawt al-Jihad (Voice of Jihad) - October 2003 – (with lapses)
  • (By AQAP)
  • Sada al-Jihad (Echo of the Jihad) - January 2006
  • (By Global Islamic Media Front)

For example, Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula’s English language magazine Inspire regularly encourages readers to contribute articles, quotes and images. It has also provided contact information for readers “interested in contributing to this magazine with any skills – exmple: writing, research, editing or advice” and suggested that individuals use the same encryption programme referenced by GIMF “in order to avoid detection from the intelligence services [sic].”

Mohamed Osman Mohamud, accused of attempting to detonate a vehicle which he believed was laden with explosives at an Oregon Christmas Tree lighting ceremony in 2010, is an example of someone who responded to such solicitations.

Al-Muhahid al-Taqni (The Technical Mujahid) - October 2006
Mu’askar al-Battar (Al Battar Camp) - January - November 2004

(Military training manual)
Al Khansa - August 2004 only
(For female mujahidin)

Conclusion: The list from the past is exhaustive. Another year has passed and what have we learned?


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