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The Most Powerful Weapon of Terror is the Internet

Posted January. 12, 2005 22:39,   


For eight years since then, the world’s terrorist groups, including international terror group Al Qaeda, have opted for “Digital Jihad” as one of the most convenient strategies. According to U.S. Institute of Peace (UPIS), the number of Web sites opened by terrorist groups as of the end of last year has increased by almost five times in seven years.

A Word Coined by the United States-

Digital jihad is a coined word which first appeared when the U.S. invaded Afghanistan shortly after the 9/11 terror attacks in 2001. The term represented cyber terror attacks that Islamic hackers conducted against the U.S. and the U.K.

G-Force, a Pakistani hacker group, declared a hacking war on October 19, 2001, saying that they organized a cyber jihad against the U.S. and the U.K., and intruded into the official Web site of the U.S. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Agency.

“Dr. Nuker,” another Pakistani hacker group, attacked the World Trade Service, which is a web site for international commerce, the next day and left the message, “It is not Osama bin Laden, but the U.S. and CIA who benefited the most from the 9/11 terror attacks. The U.S. should not kill innocent people under the pretext of punishment.”

It is representative of the fact that just one Islamic terrorist is at war against dozens of or hundreds of millions of enemies.

Paul Edel, a media expert in England, says that it is more effective to post a video clip of a beheading than to kill hundreds of American soldiers. The CIA also thinks that cyber attacks are as dangerous as hijackings of airplanes and bombing attacks.

Continuous Threats-

Korea is a major target of digital jihad, as it dispatched the third largest contingent to Iraq. There have been eight cases of cyber threats to attack Korea and the Korean army.

Those threats are yet to be realized, but they are powerful enough to shock the Korean government and public. Sunmon University professor Lee Won-sam, a Middle East expert, pointed out, “It is important to know the authenticity of the statements posted on the Internet. But more important is the fact that the statements could flare up anti-Korean sentiment in the Middle East. ”

Indeed, media outlets in the Middle East recently ran articles that highlighted negative images of Korea and indirectly urged attacks on Korea. A radical Islamic Internet newspaper, “Mafkarat al-Islam,” (Islam note) reported the Korean government was at a loss on January 10 together with the statement, “Two Koreans were kidnapped.”

There Are No Effective Countermeasures-

There are no effective countermeasures against digital jihad. Kim Chang-bum, an executive of the Korea Information Assurance Society said, “Although it is possible to seek international cooperation utilizing Interpol, it is virtually impossible to check all the numerous online postings through international cooperation.”

Professor Lee Won-sam advised that it is not good for the government to take prompt action. That is because the sight of an unconfirmed posting shaking the whole country will lead terror groups to think their strategies work.

Ho-Gab Lee Hyung-June Park gdt@donga.com lovesong@donga.com