ATbar Cyber Review No. 22

Cyber Review No. 22

01/06/2017 | by Cyber Desk  

The ICT’s Cyber-Terrorism Activities report for May 2017 reviews six areas: operational uses; defensive tactics; offensive tactics; cyber-crime and cyber-terrorism; international response; and a case study of East Asia.

  1. In the operational domain, three prominent trends were identified this month. First, the establishment of independent platforms and the opening of various channels of communication by jihadist elements. Second, the dissemination of propaganda through the presentation of alleged achievements in the media campaign against the West. Third, highlighting of the economic damage caused by terrorism through infographics (the visual presentation of quantitative information) and discourse on the Shumukh al-Islam jihadist Web forum. In addition, Anonymous launched a campaign against Israel. It is worth noting that this month also saw the use of women and children for the Islamic State’s propaganda purposes.
  2. In the defensive domain, four prominent trends were identified this month. First, the IS banned its fighters from using social media for fear of spying. Second, guidelines continued to be published warning of fake IS content and, at the same time, the organization used technological means to verify files downloaded to users' computers. Third, the distribution of technical guidebooks on secure Internet use continued. Fourth, a Telegram channel was established to publish information regarding the use of mobile phones in the Caliphate.
  3. The offensive domain is relatively limited and, in its framework, the Cyber Caliphate Terrorism Army (CCTA), an IS-supporting hacker group, announced the conclusion of a campaign that it had waged on social networks. In addition, the Fighter Moeslim Cyber Caliphate (FMCC) group, which is affiliated with the IS, is expanding its ranks and expressing a desire to develop offensive capabilities inspired by the WannaCry global ransomware attack.
  4. In the cyber-crime and cyber-terrorism domain, it is worth mentioning that both criminal elements and terrorist organizations use the same method of action in social media, characterized by making initial contact on a public Telegram channel and then moving to blocked channels. In addition, the successful use of ransomware encourages terrorist organizations to imitate and acquire it.
  5. In the international response domain, the issues that stood out this month were in the areas of politics, regulations and cooperation. In this context, a global center was opened as a joint venture between the United States and Saudi Arabia, whose purpose is to fight ideological warfare against IS propaganda online. At the same time, there were increasing reports of the establishment of units in the field of cyber-defense and of military campaigns in this arena, such as the campaign to remove jihadist content from the Internet by the Pentagon. 
  6. Case study: East Asia. Two terrorist attacks took place in May in this region. A post-factum analysis of the media discourse shows that there was a sufficient foundation to estimate that terrorist organizations are investing effort to carry out attacks in this region.
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