Joe Katzman has an interesting take on the DoS attacks at HostingMatters, chock full of historical and technical links. Via Dan Darling, he reports:

If the DOS attack that nailed Hosting Matters was from the same source as the one that took out Haganah a few days ago, then it is coming from a number of Malaysia-based websites and internet forums frequented by al-Qaeda supporters from the Gulf. I’m looking around the various forums for more information, but here is the claim of responsibility for the Haganah attack that crippled their website.
As-Sahwah has been used in the past as a means of disseminating al-Qaeda propaganda to its supporters the Arab world – and the board administrators, per Haganah, are said to be in contact with member’s the terrorist network’s media committee.

I thought I’d bring this to your attention not just because if this is them then what happened to Hosting Matters may well be a test run to see how much they could get away with. You might want to consider a friendly warning to other major warbloggers to start backing up data in preparation for such an event.

Joe adds this ominous prediction:

Dan and I agree: expect more of the same in future. There are many countries in which politically-motivated cyberattacks like this one will elicit indifference from the authorities and local network owners – or even attract active support. This isn’t just an al-Qaeda vs. bloggers scenario, either. The government of Indonesia has used DDoS attacks in the past, for instance, to take down East Timor’s entire Internet domain space. Does anyone really think they’ll be the last ones to try something like that?

To which Stephen Green, himself one of the many victims to the attack,

If the warblogs are a frontline, let’s at least be honest — we’re not even a tertiary front. I’m flattered by Joe’s thoughts, but it’s silly to think that what bloggers do will have any significant impact on the war. Or that DoS attacks on us will, either.

What I do find heartening is this: If al Qaeda-sympathizing hackers are wasting their time on blogs, then they aren’t spending their time more “productively” attacking the Pentagon. Or worse.


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James Joyner
About James Joyner
James Joyner is Professor and Department Head of Security Studies at Marine Corps University's Command and Staff College. He's a former Army officer and Desert Storm veteran. Views expressed here are his own. Follow James on Twitter @DrJJoyner.


  1. Paul says:

    This is a for more grave situation than a box cutter being hidden in a Southwest Airlines plane.

    I have been predicting a cyber 9/11 for some time now. When the terrorist control enough drones they will ddos the root servers (or key routers) and the whole net is down for a week or more.

    Predicting this is not a wild fantasy, it is sorta like predicting rain. It will happen, the only questions are when and how bad..

    When it does happen, I hope I am holding a short position on Microsoft. I have no idea why people do not take this more seriously.

  2. JC says:

    Boy, you people truly are paranoid.