US ATTACK: Hacker cracks Islamist mailing list

A hacker has cracked a German-based Islamist Web site, publishing on the Web hundreds of e-mail addresses of subscribers to its mailing list, including one of a suspect in last week's terrorist attack on the World Trade Center in New York.

The hacker, using the alias "Anonyme Feigling ("Anonymous Coward"), posted more than 500 addresses to the Swiss news site http://www.symlink.ch/ on Saturday, unleashing a fierce online debate on the appropriateness of the move.

The German Islamist site, http://www.qoqaz.de/, has been taken offline, but an English-language mirror, http://www.qoqaz.co.uk/, is still accessible. It carries on its main page such articles as "The Islamic Ruling on the Permissibility of Martyrdom Operations" and "Taliban: Allah's Blessing on Afghanistan."

Anonymous Coward defended the action in a post Tuesday, writing, "This site has called for holy war. For me the site is just as acceptable as a site that wants to recruit Nazis for the Fourth Reich. Whoever subscribes to such a list knows exactly what he's doing."

Anonymous Coward also "called the BKA (German criminal police) and reported both the hack and the posting of the list. My name and telephone number are known to them," the hacker wrote.

"We're aware of this case and will consider it within the context of our investigation," said a police spokesman. He declined, however, to offer further details or confirm whether police are aware of the hacker's identity.

One of the addresses in the mailing list was that of a student at the Technical University of Hamburg-Harburg, who has been named by German police in connection with the World Trade Center attack.

An appeal is currently circulating among hackers, calling on them to destroy Web sites and other communication systems linked to the Internet in Islamic countries or used by Islamic organizations, according to the Berlin-based hackers' organization Chaos Computer Club (CCC).

CCC called on hackers to ignore the appeal.

"Electronic communication infrastructures like the Internet are now necessary to contribute to international understanding. In a situation like this, which is understandably tense, it's simply not acceptable to cut lines of communication and provide a stronger foundation for ignorance," CCC spokesman Andy Müller-Marguhn, who also serves as a member of the board of directors of ICANN (the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers), said in a statement.

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Rick Perera

Computerworld

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