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[] Newsweek 20.05.02: Islamic Cyberterror,

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Islamic Cyberterror
Not a matter of if but of when

May 20 issue ? Al Qaeda terrorists interested in computer hacking are only 
a few clicks away from a crash course in digital sabotage. A Web site 
operated by the Muslim Hackers Club offers tutorials in cybermischief: 
viruses, hacking stratagems, network "phreaking" and secret codes. The site 
also features links to other militant Islamic and cyberprankster Web 
addresses, including U.S. sites that purport to disclose sensitive 
information like "code names" and radio frequencies used by the Secret Service.

   INTERNET ARCHIVES SHOW that postings attributed to the Muslim Hackers 
Club first surfaced about five years ago. One 1998 posting by club leader 
"Ibn X" urged Muslim hackers to "Attack now: go, go, go: hit the enemy 
where it hurts." Bush officials worry that Islamic hackers will sooner or 
later graduate from pranks and vandalism to cyber-terrorism. Computer 
terrorists, experts say, could cause widespread disruption, or even loss of 
life, by interfering with essential services like telephone networks and 
power grids. Earlier this month the FBI and the Defense Intelligence Agency 
issued a secret warning that the Muslim Hackers Club included experts who 
had conducted classes on how to mount terror attacks on computer networks. 
The FBI and the DIA believe the club's main objective is to develop 
software tools that can then be used by other Islamic groups to attack 
Western targets. Some U.S. officials think a serious cyberattack by Islamic 
militants is inevitable. "It's not a question of if," said an intelligence 
source. "It's a question of when."
         Anti-America and anti-Israel hacker attacks attributed to Islamic 
militants have already gone beyond schoolboy pranks. Two years ago a hacker 
called DoctorNuker, founder of the Pakistani Hackerz Club, got inside 
databases maintained by the American Israel Public Affairs Committee and 
published the identities of thousands of the group's supporters. Shortly 
after 9-11, DocttorNuker hacked into a U.S. company's Web site and posted a 
pro bin Laden screed: "The US government has just tasted what the Muslims 
are tasting for years!" Last November, federal prosecutors in Maryland 
obtained a grand jury indictment accusing a Pakistani named Misbah Khan of 
being DoctorNuker. But some experts question whether the Feds fingered the 
right person. Only last month someone calling him-self DoctorNuker was 
credited in an Internet message for defacing the site 
Efforts to reach DoctorNuker and the Muslim Hackers Club for comment failed 
when mail servers returned the messages undelivered.

Mark Hosenball

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