Dancho Danchev's Blog - Mind Streams of Information Security Knowledge

Forensic Examination of Terrorists' Hard Drives

Published by Dancho Danchev under on February 13, 2007
During the last year I presented my point of view on the topic in numerous posts, in order to debunk the common misunderstanding of Cyberterrorism as an offensive concept. And while real-time cyber intelligence can save lifes, a historical forensic examination like the this one may act as a case study to further model the behaviour of a terrorists before they strike. Here's a list worth looking up at Archive.org, courtesy of the now deceased Madrid bomber Jamal Ahmidan :

"The below is a list of web sites found to have been visited by Ahmidan or accomplices. The list is not inclusive, but merely represents those sites in the indictment the names of which the author recognized based on close to five years of routine monitoring of jihadist activity online. Quite a few of these sites were likely to have been "under surveillance" during the time when Ahmidan and/or his associates accessed them. Had their IP addresses been reported to Spanish authorities at the time these sites were accessed, and had the authorities in Spain then followed up on such reports, it is entirely reasonable to expect that the Madrid bombing of 11 March 2004 could have been prevented."

Cyberterrorism is so not overhyped, it's just a concept discussed from the wrong angle and that's the myth of terrorists using electronic means for killing people. A terrorists' training camp is considered a military target since it provides them the playground to develop their abilities. Sooner or later, it will feel the heat and dissapear from the face of the Earth, they know it, but don't care mainly because they've already produced and are distributing Spetsnaz type of video training sessions. So abusing information or the information medium itself is much more powerful from their perspective then destroying their means for communication, spread propaganda, and obviously recruit. Real-time open source intelligence and accurate risk assessment of specific situations to prioritize the upcoming threat given the growing Jihadist web, is what should get more attention compared to data retention and data mining.

Meanwhile, in the real world, events across the globe are sometimes reaching the parody stage. Know your enemy, and don't underestimate his motivation.


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