Al-Qaida Communications Offline
Terrorist group Al-Qaida has been left without a distribution channel on the Internet, says terrorism expert Evan Kohlmann of Flashpoint Partners. In an e-mail he sent on Wednesday, he said
[quote]I really can’t say for certain how or why this happened, other than that it involved apparently separate attacks on both the domain name and data server used by al-Qaida’s trusted forum, Al-Shamukh. That kind of coordinated event doesn’t typically occur by happenstance.[/quote]
Kohlmann, who has spent a decade tracking Al-Qaida, has said that other jihadi forums have been left online for the “rabble” to communicate. However, none of these forums are trusted by members of Al-Qaida. The incident, which started around 72 hours ago, began with the hijacking of the primary web domain used by the Shamukh chat forum, which disseminates propaganda on behalf of Al-Qaida. The next phase of the attack involved crippling the Shamukh website along with two other top level jihadi forums, including the Arabic-language Ansar al-Mujahideen Network.
He said that Al-Qaida most certainly had a backup of the Shamukh forum database, but there are no other channels left for the terrorist organisation to distribute new material. Either the forum must be brought back online, or they must establish a new relationship with another forum.
A list of potential suspects who brought down the Al-Qaida site includes government sponsored hackers from the US and the UK as well as independent cyber vigilantes.