As ISIS goes online due to COVID-19, it publishes a new cybersecurity magazine

Islamic StateAs the Islamic State continues to transfer its activities online due to the coronavirus pandemic, the group has published the first issue of a new cybersecurity magazine, aimed at helping its members evade surveillance. The Islamic State, known previously as the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria, has always been active online. But the COVID-19 pandemic has prompted it to augment the volume and intensity of its online work, for two reasons: first, to protect its members from the virus; second, to recruit young people who are spending more time online as a result of lockdowns taking place across the world.

Amidst this shift to the online environment, the Islamic State has published the first issue of what appears to be a new cybersecurity magazine. Veteran reporter Bridget Johnson, currently the managing editor for Homeland Security Today, said earlier this week that the 24-page magazine is titled The Supporter’s Security and is published in two versions, one in the Arabic and one in the English language.

Johnson reports that the new magazine is produced by the Electronic Horizons Foundation (EHF), the Islamic State’s information technology wing. Since its appearance in 2016, the EHF has taken it upon itself to operate “as an IT help desk of sorts” to assist Islamic State supporters avoid online tracking and surveillance by state agencies, says Johnson. It its inaugural proclamation, the EHF called on Islamic State supporters to “face the electronic surveillance” and educate themselves about “the dangers of the Internet” so that “they don’t commit security mistakes that can lead to their bombardment and killing”. Read more of this post

News you may have missed #435 (cyberwarfare edition)

  • Analysis: Cyber attacks test US Pentagon. US military and civilian networks are probed thousands of times a day, and the systems of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization headquarters are attacked at least 100 times a day. Meanwhile, more than 100 countries are currently trying to break into US defense networks.
  • US should be able to shut Internet, ex-CIA chief says. Cyberterrorism is such a threat that the US President should have the authority to shut down the Internet in the event of an attack, Former CIA Director Michael Hayden has said.
  • Iran battling alleged ‘spy virus’. Iranian officials have confirmed reports that a malicious computer code, called Stuxnet, was spreading throughout the nation’s nuclear infrastructure. But they have given differing accounts of the damage, said to be capable of taking over computers that operate huge facilities, including nuclear energy reactors. Did someone say ‘Israel‘?

Comment: Not So Fast, Cyberwarriors! [updated]

Hoekstra

Hoekstra

By JOSEPH FITSANAKIS | intelNews.org |
Rep. Peter Hoekstra wants to launch a cyberwar against North Korea. The Republican from Michigan, who heads his party’s delegation on the US House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence, urged the US government last Thursday to “launch a cyber attack” or at least increase international sanctions on Pyongyang. Hoekstra urged this in response to a series of mysterious cyber-attacks that paralyzed major South Korean and US government websites for three days earlier this month. And he’s not alone. Last Friday, ABC News technology pundit Michael Malone effectively echoed Hoekstra and warned that “enemies of freedom everywhere” could use cyberterrorism to kill untold numbers of Americans by remotely controlling “fetal monitoring systems, surgical equipment, robotic bomb demolition equipment and ICBMs”. But South Korean cybersecurity specialists, who intensely monitor North Korean information systems, and were the ones who actually informed their US counterparts of the unfolding cyber-attacks on July 4, are not so sure that Pyongyang was behind the attacks. Read more of this post

Comment: Post-9/11 Intelligence Turf Wars Continue

Rod Beckstrom

Rod Beckstrom

By IAN ALLEN* | intelNews.org |
The stern assurances given to Americans after 9/11, that destructive turf wars between US intelligence agencies would stop, appear to be evaporating. Earlier this week, Rod Beckstrom, who headed the National Cyber Security Center (NCSC) at the US Department of Homeland Security (DHS), announced his resignation amidst a bitter row between the DHS and the National Security Agency (NSA) over the oversight of American cybersecurity. In a letter (.pdf) addressed to DHS Secretary Janet Napolitano, and carbon-copied to nearly every senior US intelligence and defense official, Beckstrom blasted the lack of “appropriate support [for NCSC] during the last administration”, as well as having to wrestle with “various roadblocks engineered within [DHS] by the Office of Management and Budget”. Most of all, Beckstrom, an industry entrepreneur who remained in his NCSC post for less than a year, accused the NSA of subverting NCSC’s cybersecurity role by trying to “subjugate” and “control” NCSC. 

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