Friday, December 19, 2008

Jihadists Plan to 'Invade Facebook'...

On the cybersecurity front, there is news today that a group of internet Islamic extremists is putting together a plan for "invading Facebook."

Jihadist groups have long-viewed the internet as a front-line in the propaganda war. For years, they have created blogs and posted YouTube videos. Recent crackdowns on some of their online forums, however, have apparently led to a change in strategy.

Read the jihadist plan to "invade Facebook" for yourself (translated into English by It's made clear that "this is not an attempt to replicate the social networks that exist on the forums; the members of the campaign want to exploit existing networks of people who are hostile to them and presumably they will adopt new identities once they have posted their material."

In other words, the jihadists aren't looking to use Facebook to network with each other; they're hoping to spread their propagandist material to the rest of us who are already on Facebook, and who use it for innocent and legitimate purposes.

But as a cybersecurity analyst, I'm curious about two things. First, the jihadist strategy breaks its people down into seven "brigades", each headed by a commander. Such a rigid hierarchy closes off the process to anyone outside of their inner circle, so how do they plan on infiltrating the private social-networks of ordinary Facebook users without "friending" them? Their goal of spreading propaganda to people outside of the jihadi loop seems destined for failure since, unless people start accepting friend requests from these extremists, no one will be able to see what they're posting anyway. Do they even understand how Facebook works?

Second, Facebook is an odd selection to target because its a completely private commercial firm, which can remove material on its site whenever it deems fit. Different than a decentralized peer-to-peer system, any controversial jihadist material will probably be removed before they can say boo about it.

For most of us, this planned "invasion" isn't really much of a threat at all. We all need to be skeptical and on the lookout for propagandist material, but to be honest, when online, everyone should be doing that anyway. This entire "plan" reminds me of new internet startup companies in the late 90s that were desperate simply to get themselves a presence in the space, yet once there, didn't really have any clue what to do with themselves.


At 2:53 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...


That's virtually ridiculous.


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