Did the US just start a cyber war with al-Qaeda?

Posted on April 5, 2012


After several al-Qaeda linked websites went offline recently, questions have been asked regarding whether or not the United States has involved itself in a cyber war against its most noted foe.

Several online forums frequently visited by al-Qaeda operatives were downed over the course of the last few weeks, including two of the terrorist organization’s top sites, al-Fida and Shamukh al-Islam. The AFP reports that some sites experienced problems as early as March 22, and by early April, at least six major sites have mysteriously shut down.

Experts speculate that the widespread outage appears to be the handiwork of a well coordinated cyberattack, but the United States has denied any responsibility in the strike. On Wednesday this week, the website for Shumukh al-Islam went live again after nearly two weeks of downtime, and its administrators also suggest that it was a cyberattack that briefly brought them down.

“he enemies of Allah ... attempted to target” the forum “with a failed, miserable campaign,” announced the site’s administrators, according to the Washington Post.

James Lewis, the director of the technology and public policy program at the Center for Strategic and International Studies tells AFP that “There are some many potential suspects” that could be to blame, but so far no one has been singled out.

As al-Qaeda investigates potential culprits, however, it could mean trouble for the most likely suspect: the US.


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