A new front for Islamic terrorists is emerging and it is being called the New Great Equalizer. Hold on to your seats, a large scale attack may be looming. You have to know about this. Unfortunately, this type of news is not always reported by the mainstream media.
In a new study conducted by the Institute for Critical Infrastructure Technology (ICIT) revealed that terrorists are now arming themselves with technological and technical skills for targeting online systems that support Western businesses and infrastructure. (Note: I have a link to the complete study at the end of this article if you want to read the whole thing. It's actually quite interesting.)
This directly impacts anyone who uses the internet or relies on the internet for business or personal reasons.
Dubbed as "Cyber-Jihadists", these terrorists communicate via the Dark Web to exchange attack ideas, solicit services from hacker mercenaries and purchase readily available malware for mass distribution.
"They do not solely seek to exfiltrate valuable data or information," the report warns, "These threat actors seek to cause chaos, disrupt operations, and inflict devastating impacts on organizations in every critical sector."
As they try to amass resources and evolve their technological skills, the Cyber-Jihad movement is also aiming to recruit via Jihadist chat rooms and social media platforms.
They're targeting socially disenfranchised citizens and radicals who may not have the technical expertise yet, but have the physical access and insider info to the Western institutions and targets they wish to disrupt.
You really need to be careful as ISIS moves online in a big way. It's not just recruiting and communication efforts. Experts in terrorism are expecting a rise in ISIS-distributed malware and online operatives.
One of the popular Islamist terror groups, ISIS, even offers a 24-hour cyber help desk to assist with securing and encrypting online communications and offer technical training on basic hacking.
This help desk is staffed with senior operatives with a minimum requirement of a college degree in information technology. The cyber help desk also acts as a recruitment tool through a "sense of community and mentorship," to spread fear and increase attacks on Western targets, the study further reveals.
Another cause of concern is the availability of compromised servers through underground channels, which could be springboards for these Cyber-Jihad attacks.
In a report from Reuters, researchers found a major underground marketplace called xDedic selling access to more than 70,000 compromised servers around the world for as little as $6. Even major government servers could be accessed for as cheap as $7.
As the government is fighting physical terror attacks, a new front is now in our midst.
Think of everything ISIS has now online. First, there is the availability of thousands of controllable servers. Add to this the proliferation of commercial malware, tech savvy recruits, insider access to computer infrastructure, communications via the dark web and money. That's right, they also have a workable budget.
All combined, this is the beginnings of a massive Jihadist virtual army capable of launching the next big attack in cyber space.
If you would like to read this entire study, click here and the study will open in a new window.
Technology is offering terrorists new methods for attacking U.S. companies, government organizations and citizens, but that won't be the end of it.
Terrorist attacks are something we must all be aware of. Press play to listen to our podcast on what to do should you ever find yourself in that terrifying situation.