[ISN] Exclusive: Bin Laden associate warns of cyberattacks

From: InfoSec News (isnat_private)
Date: Tue Nov 19 2002 - 06:29:17 PST

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    Forwarded from: Bob <bobat_private>
    NOVEMBER 18, 2002
    A London-based fundamentalist Islamic cleric with known ties to Osama
    bin Laden said al-Qaeda and various other fundamentalist Muslim groups
    around the world are actively planning to use the Internet as a weapon
    in their "defensive" jihad, or holy war, against the West.
    In an exclusive interview today with Computerworld, Sheikh Omar Bakri
    Muhammad, founder of the London-based group Jama'at Al-Muhajirun and
    the spokesman for Osama bin Laden's International Islamic Front for
    Jihad Against Jews and Crusaders, said all types of technology,
    including the Internet, are being studied for use in the global jihad
    against the West.
    "In a matter of time you will see attacks on the stock market," Bakri
    said, referring specifically to the markets in New York, London and
    His comments represent the first time that a high-profile radical
    Muslim cleric with known links to bin Laden has spoken publicly about
    the use of cybertactics for offensive purposes.
    According to Bakri, a Syrian-born Muslim cleric whom the FBI and
    British intelligence have tied to some of the Sept. 11 hijackers and
    others seeking flight training in the U.S., Islam justifies the use of
    "all types of technologies" in the defense of Muslim lands, including
    psychological and economic weapons "or a weapon of mass destruction."
    Jihad groups around the world are very active on the Internet, Bakri
    said, speaking from a cell phone near his north London office. And
    while his group, Jama'at Al-Muhajirun, is primarily focused on
    supporting the political goals of Al-Qaeda and other radical Islamic
    groups, Bakri said the military wings of these various groups are also
    using and studying the Internet for their own operations.
    "That is what al-Qaeda is skillful with," said Bakri. "I would not be
    surprised if tomorrow I hear of a big economic collapse because of
    somebody attacking the main technical systems in big companies," he
    said, referring to an ongoing threat of an attack.
    To date, al-Qaeda's cybercapabilities have been the subject of much
    debate. Most Internet security professionals have doubted such groups'
    interest in cybertactics on the grounds that physical bombings and
    other forms of attack provide the fear and bloodshed that al-Qaeda is
    looking for. However, in recent statements made by bin Laden, the
    terror leader has shown a clear desire to inflict catastrophic damage
    on the U.S. economy as a way to force the U.S. to withdraw its
    military forces from Afghanistan and to curtail its support for
    "There are millions of Muslims around the world involved in hacking
    the Pentagon and Israeli government sites," said Bakri. "The struggle
    will continue," he said, referring to the millions of young bin Laden
    supporters who are now studying computer science as a way to support
    the cause.
    "I believe that Osama bin Laden has earned his leadership and most
    [Muslim students] who are graduating in computer science and computer
    programming and IT technology are supporting Osama bin Laden," Bakri
    "I would advise those who doubt al-Qaeda's interest in cyberweapons to
    take Osama bin Laden very seriously," he said. "The third letter from
    Osama bin Laden a few months ago was clearly addressing using the
    technology in order to destroy the economy of the capitalist states.
    "This is a matter that is very clear, and Osama bin Laden must be
    taken very seriously."
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