The Cyber Desk Review is a periodic report and analysis that addresses two main subjects: cyber-terrorism (offensive, defensive, and the media, and the main topics of jihadist discourse); and cyber-crime, whenever and wherever it is linked to jihad (funding, methods of attack). The Cyber Desk Review addresses the growing significance that cyberspace plays as a battlefield in current and future conflicts, as shown in the recent increase in cyber-attacks on political targets, crucial infrastructure, and the Web sites of commercial corporations.
The information gathered by our team over the last few months indicates that terrorist groups are fundraising to finance their activities by placing commercial advertising on Websites used by jihadist elements to store information and messages.
Similar efforts were discovered back in 2006, in the framework of which Hezbollah and Al-Qaeda rented advertising space on Web sites associated with these organizations in order to create revenue, but since then there has been no documentation indicating such use.
Written by Uri Ben Yaakov & Nir Tordjman
The potential of cyberspace, including the Internet, was first recognized by terrorist organizations over a decade ago but in recent years there has been a significant increase in the scope of Internet use and in the level of sophistication with which it is used. At first, terrorist organizations operated using Internet sites only and later combined these sites with basic interactive elements. Today, through the use of social networks and various applications, these organizations operate on the Internet with full interactive features. The Islamic State is considered a pioneer in this arena and a leading player among terrorist organizations regarding innovation in the cyber world.
During the month of September 2016, members of Cyber Kahilafah began to promote and advertise the use of a technology called ZeroNet, which enables decentralized Web site hosting using a peer-to-peer (P2P) network. The obvious advantage of this technology, which was initially released in 2015, lies in the fact that a Web site’s data is stored on several computers simultaneously (as opposed to a central storage server) and, therefore, it is difficult to remove from the Internet. Web sites on this network can be accessed by installing an application tailored to a variety of computer operating systems. In addition, ToR can be used in order to increase users’ level of anonymity and to encrypt information traffic.