Jihadists publish cyber security magazine

Islamic jihadists have started publishing a computer security e-magazine called Technical Mujahid.

Jihadists now have their own security magazine.

"Technical Mujahid," a 64-page electronic magazine began circulating last week on jihadist discussion forums, said Adam Raisman, an analyst with the SITE (Search for International Terrorist Entities) Institute, a terrorist tracking organization.

SITE, based in Washington, has published an analysis of the new publication.

The magazine is distributed by the al-Fajr Information Center, a group that in the past has distributed jihadist videos, according to SITE.

The magazine's editors say their publication comes in response to a call for technical support from Abu Hamza al-Muhajir, who is reportedly al-Qaeda's leader in Iraq.

Their purpose is "to help prevent acts of aggression against Muslims [in cyberspace], and to assist the mujahideen in their efforts," according to a translation provided by the Middle East Media Research Institute.

"The Internet provides a golden opportunity... for the mujahideen to break the siege placed upon them by the media of the Crusaders and their followers in the Muslim countries, and to use [the Internet] for [the sake of] jihad and the victory of the faith," the translation states.

Like early hacking magazines, Technical Mujahid takes information that has already been published in discussion forums and Web sites and compiles it into one single source, Raisman said. It represents an evolution in the jihadist's documentation of computer security information, he added. "It's interesting to see it in a magazine format, where everything is all included."

Technical Mujahid's first issue, published Tuesday, contains articles on encryption, video encoding, global positioning systems, and how to use virtual machine technology to conceal files, Raisman said.

Future issues will cover topics such as concealing one's identity on the Internet and how to set up a jihadi Web site, he said.

Interestingly, Technical Mujahid does not provide technical information on how to conduct online attacks -- a subject that was put front and center in the U.S. this week, when the Department of Homeland Security's United States Computer Emergency Readiness Team (US-CERT) warned that Islamic militants were threatening to attack U.S. financial institutions during the month of December.

The magazine shows that militants share many of the same security concerns as many IT professionals, said Marcus Sachs, deputy director with research group SRI International's Computer Science Laboratory.

"Western media only covers the story that the jihadists are out to destroy us," he said. "In fact they're just as worried about Internet security in the same way were are."

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Robert McMillan

IDG News Service
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