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[] Newsweek: Al-Qaeda nutzt Internet fuer Kommandos,

Interesant ist die Sache mit den Webseiten, die Kommandos kommunizieren.
Eher unglaubwuerdig dagegen die Steganografie-Geschichte, die schon vorn
einem Jahr die Runde machte, aber nur auf vermutungen gestuetzt war.

Hiding (and Seeking) Messages on the Web

By Colin Soloway, Rod Nordland and Barbie Nadeau
June 17 issue 

One day last October, an intelligence-community analyst noticed 
something strange about a radical Islamist Web site she had been 
monitoring for several months. A previously open, innocuous part of 
the site was suddenly blocked. She checked her notes, found the old 
address for the link and typed it in - to find an otherwise empty page 
commanding in Arabic, MISSIONARIES ATTACK!

OTHER "HIDDEN" PAGES ON the site included seemingly nonsensical 
phrases and quotations from the Qur'an - coded instructions for Qaeda 
operatives and their supporters. U.S. intelligence discovered Al Qaeda 
uses the Web as a communications network. Analysts believe Al Qaeda 
uses prearranged phrases and symbols to direct its agents. An icon of 
an AK-47 can appear next to a photo of Osama bin Laden facing one 
direction one day, and another direction the next. Colors of icons can 
change as well. Messages can be hidden on pages inside sites with no 
links to them, or placed openly in chat rooms. The messages and 
patterns of symbols are given to analysts at the CIA and National 
Security Agency to decipher.
The operators of these sites, working from Pakistan, Malaysia, 
Indonesia, the gulf states and Britain, are sophisticated in their 
computer tradecraft. "These guys are no fools," says an intelligence 
Much of the intelligence from the sites comes from "traffic 
analysis." Analysts say they have seen "surges" in traffic since 9-11, 
in many cases prior to attempted attacks. "There was a surge about the 
time [shoe-bomber] Richard Reid got on the plane," says one analyst. 
"We would get surges, and then you would hear about people who were 

For more direct communication, Al Qaeda uses commercially available 
encryption software or hides messages inside graphics files by a 
process known as steganography. "They are giving strategic direction 
to their supporters by using the Web [and] using [cryptographic 
software] to transmit e-mail messages," says a British intelligence 
While encrypted communications keep the content of messages 
secret, they attract the attention of intelligence services, which 
track the messages to their source and recipient; meanwhile, much of 
the Web communications are hidden in the mass of unrelated "chatter" 
on radical Web sites. "The genius of this method is that they are 
hiding in plain sight," says the analyst. "It's three jigsaw puzzles 
mixed up in one box, when you're only interested in one of them."
Some of the most valuable intelligence gleaned from the sites 
has been the connection between Islamic charities and Qaeda 
fund-raising operations. Analysts found the same bank-account numbers 
listed in Islamic humanitarian appeals on sites raising funds for 
jihad against the enemies of Islam. Several U.S.-based Islamic 
"charities" have been shut down thanks to the analysts' discovery of 
this fund-raising scam.

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