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Researcher Says Social Networks Link Terrorists 212

Posted by samzenpus
from the you-have-a-terrorist-request dept.
An anonymous reader writes "At the International Conference on Cyber Security 2009 in New York, Evan Kohlmann, a senior investigator and private consultant for Global Terror Alert, claimed that a new breed of terrorists are using online forums to recruit people who align themselves with the mission of Al Qaeda, creating global networks of would-be terrorists."
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Researcher Says Social Networks Link Terrorists

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  • FUD (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Spazztastic (814296) <[moc.liamg] [ta] [citsatzzaps]> on Thursday January 08, 2009 @07:59AM (#26370531)
    Just another article stating FUD. Nothing to see here, move along. Might as well also get rid of online forums, USENET, and telephones.
    • Re:FUD (Score:4, Insightful)

      by noundi (1044080) on Thursday January 08, 2009 @08:15AM (#26370673)
      And paper, morse code, whistles, Microsoft Sam...
      • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

        by davester666 (731373)

        You know, all these terrorist organizations would have a lot more trouble communicating if we just stopped teaching children how to communicate.

        Of course, this might make them behave in a more feral-like fashion, but it's a small price to pay to help fight terrorism.

    • Re:FUD (Score:5, Insightful)

      by phagstrom (451510) on Thursday January 08, 2009 @08:15AM (#26370681)

      Also ink - people always forget about the ink. Used by terrorists for recruitment and plotting attacks. When will the madness end and ink be banned.

    • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

      by the_fat_kid (1094399)

      oh, you can count on the USENET getting the FUD cannon.
      Where do you think the terrorists get their kiddie porn.

    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      Don't forget e-mail! And cellphones! The 9/11 hijackers used e-mail and cellphones to communicate! I hear some cellphones can do both. Does that mean that the Blackberry is the epitome of all evil?

    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      You could even get rid of photobucket or craigs list.

      If I was a real deal terrorist I'd start putting messages in images. "For sale: " each with a different message, all embedded with text or encrypted text.

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by jellomizer (103300)

      I can't think of any technology that can't be twisted and turned towards aiding evil.

      OMG stop making penicillin as it could be given to a terrorist to make him healthy enough to be able to bomb his next target, where before he may have died from his illness.

    • Money! (Score:4, Insightful)

      by ShatteredMind (1109153) on Thursday January 08, 2009 @09:59AM (#26371857)
      Obviously the number one method for recruiting, arming, and gathering terrorists is good old green backs! Money the number one tool for terrorism; guess we need to ban that shit too.
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by b4upoo (166390)

      I've done a lot of sales in my life. But I can't even begin to understand how difficult it must be to convince some idiot to blow himself up with the notion of virgins in paradise etc..
                On the other hand I can't think of a better thing to do with a radical Moslem than strapping bombs to them and blowing them up.

      • Re: (Score:2, Offtopic)

        by SerpentMage (13390)

        You know I always thought about this one.

        If I go back and think about when I lost my virginity I have say it was not the most exciting of times. Sure great now you "officially" did it, but it is a hell of a lot more interesting as time went along.

        So somebody who thinks, "oh yes 50 times this" must actually be some kind of nut case. It is a really imaginative bit of brainwashing.

        I bet many are quite envious of this...

    • This Just In (Score:4, Informative)

      by maz2331 (1104901) on Thursday January 08, 2009 @12:36PM (#26374133)

      Technology is show to be poltically-neutral. The same websites that link peaceful people can also link criminals, terrorists, military personnel, and the CIA to each other.

      The same gun can be used to terrorize or defend.

      The same hammer can drive nails or bash in skulls.o

      We now return you to your regularly-scheduled /.-ing.

  • by Thanshin (1188877) on Thursday January 08, 2009 @08:00AM (#26370543)

    I've heard that terrorists also speak to people to recruit new members!

    We should stop right now the use of language.

    • by dkleinsc (563838) on Thursday January 08, 2009 @08:12AM (#26370649) Homepage

      We don't need anything that drastic. We just need to ensure that people can't communicate with each other effectively. I suggest having everyone make up their own language.

      Seen nablag orggash, neeble whorp flarq.

    • Oh, come on people! Nobody ever suggested (at least, in this article) to shut down any social network, your sarcasm isn't apt here.
  • Technically, I've created a network if I plug a crossover cable between two machines.

    Technically, there is "a global network of would-be terrorists" if a jihadist from Pakistan uses a social site to contact anyone else in the world.

    Technically, paranoid people are really stretching the definitions of the word "network".

  • Oh come on... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by tygerstripes (832644) on Thursday January 08, 2009 @08:02AM (#26370557)

    How many stories like this do we have to read? When will the internets finally be recognised as a medium rather than an entity?

    As soon as government agencies begin to properly recognise this fact, they will be able to operate within the medium, making use of its strengths and weaknesses, instead of fearing it the whole damned time. Did it never occur that social networking sites offer an excellent means of infiltrating "would-be terrorist" networks? Anonymity works both ways.

    Just my 0.02.

    • by Kjella (173770)

      How many stories like this do we have to read? When will the internets finally be recognised as a medium rather than an entity?

      The day you give them free reign to capture and data mine it. At that point, they will encourge it.

    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward

      "How many stories like this do we have to read?"

      They will keep repeating this until it has become public opinion. Then probably start monitoring social networks or ban 'm outright.

    • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

      by ciderVisor (1318765)

      When will the internets finally be recognised as a series of medium-sized tubes ?

      Fixed that for ya.

    • As soon as people actually learn what "the internet" is.

      "The internet" is some sort of buzzword for most of the people out there. Do it. Go out on the street and start an interview, asking people what "the internet" is. Here's a prediction:

      Most would point you to some webpages.

      That's what people see as "the internet". It's a collection of webpages. It's Google and YouTube, it's their pet forum and some dating show. And that's it. That's what most people connect with the term "internet".

      They don't see the in

  • The Zarkman [typepad.com] was not impressed with the quality of recruits and supporters garnered through the interwebs. . .

  • ANY means of meeting people can be "used by terrorists", if you think about it too hard. If we listen to these guys, we'll first take down Facebook and MySpace. Then the chat rooms, and the public forums. Once the internet is expunged, cell phones would be banned, because "terrorists use them to meet and plan." Eventually, land lines would follow too. Should we also extend this fear to shortwave radios, pencil and paper? How about coffee shops? People can meet there too. And plan "terrorist activities." Now
  • Furthermore (Score:2, Funny)

    by SupremoMan (912191)
    It was also announced at the International Conference of Asshats (Those with heads in ass) that today's terrorists may also link using 2 tin cans and a piece of string!
    • That's no problem. String has been banned since last year. Kids could strangle themselves with it.
    • by eln (21727)

      It was also announced at the International Conference of Asshats (Those with heads in ass) that today's terrorists may also link using 2 tin cans and a piece of string!

      See, it's exactly that sort of heavy-handed crap that really gets people angry. Why did we need to ban string just because some kids could strangle themselves? All we needed to do was start putting string behind the counter and requiring ID for it to be sold, and we could have solved the problem easily!

      • by eln (21727)

        Um...that was supposed to be in reply to the post below about banning string, not the one it was actually in reply to.

        I shouldn't post this early in the morning.

  • Other links (Score:4, Interesting)

    by Joce640k (829181) on Thursday January 08, 2009 @08:09AM (#26370623) Homepage

    The networks also link the exact same people to well adjusted, middle aged Caucasians.

    Weirdly enough, this positive influence doesn't seem to be mentioned in the study.

  • Same ol' FUD (Score:2, Insightful)

    by var-tec (1391451)
    There was a FUD about terrorist using PGP, there was FUD about terrorist using cell phones, there was even FUD about terrorist using Skype to communicate.

    Anyways, what's the fuss? Terrorist on Facebook? Police should cheer, it'll be a lot easier for them to infiltrate these groups and identify their members.
    • The fuss is that terrorists on these social networks communicate using steganography, so it is difficult to tell that they are not normal users, and difficult to track their communications. This has been of concern for a while, and a lot of research has gone into detecting steganography without knowledge of the original media.
  • How convenient (Score:5, Insightful)

    by cruachan (113813) on Thursday January 08, 2009 @08:17AM (#26370699)

    So the jist of this article is several semi-permanent chatrooms have been identified where proto-terrorists gather to recruit and discuss strategy, and they want to take these down??!!!

    That's perverse. Why on earth would you want to take out honeypots that your foes are kind enough to set up for you?

    • by elrous0 (869638) *
      That's the thing I've always wondered about this push to take down terrorist websites, and so many ISP's adopting policies about taking down sites with "hate speech" and the like. It seems to me that the governments of the world should be telling companies specifically NOT to do that, as it makes it so easy to gather intelligence on these groups. I would think a law protecting websites from civil liability with such sites and encouraging them to permit them would do more for intelligence gathering than a do
      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by bentcd (690786)

        I would think a law protecting websites from civil liability with such sites and encouraging them to permit them would do more for intelligence gathering than a dozen agents in the field could ever dream of doing.

        The West apparently stopped doing intelligence work some time between 1991 and 2001. Your suggestion is therefore completely unworkable. Repost your idea in Mandarin, perhaps someone will actually pick it up :-)

    • by bcattwoo (737354)

      Actually if you read it all the way to the end:

      However, "you knock one out, another one pops up the next day," Kohlmann said at the conference, so just taking down the sites is not an effective way to stop cyberterrorists and would-be accomplices from meeting via online forums.

      He thinks the real way for law-enforcement officials to hamper cyberterrorists and would-be accomplices using these sites is to join them and cause confusion and mistrust among their ranks.

    • by Chris Burke (6130)

      So the jist of this article is several semi-permanent chatrooms have been identified where proto-terrorists gather to recruit and discuss strategy, and they want to take these down??!!!

      That's perverse. Why on earth would you want to take out honeypots that your foes are kind enough to set up for you?

      Because it's ruining our anti-terrorist propaganda!

      Check out this blog post on explodeyourfacebook.com by user RowdiJihadi309:
      "Nov 12, 2008

      Current mood: Depressed. :(

      I was supposed to go practice building explo

  • by TheP4st (1164315) on Thursday January 08, 2009 @08:18AM (#26370707)
    This made me visualize not X number of terrorists planning attacks and recruiting in these chatrooms, but X number of spooks gathering info on another in the belief that the other spooks are the real thing.
  • Same song, different lyric. Will they never learn?

    • Huh? They learned well that simple buzzwords and hype get the public all up in arms to support whatever idea you have to increase your power, anything left to be learned?

  • Facebook (Score:5, Funny)

    by pzs (857406) on Thursday January 08, 2009 @08:23AM (#26370747)

    Osama Bin Laden has sent you some anthrax using the super poke application. Would you like to reply?

    • by GPLDAN (732269)
      I have a image of Osama in a cave, yelling at his minions:

      "this fucking version of PHP isn't compatible with PhPBB!"

      "who fucking bogarted my O'Reilley book! Off with your head!"
  • by Shawn888 (1392647) on Thursday January 08, 2009 @08:26AM (#26370763)
    This is just the government looking for a new way to view the people's email in any way they can. They will keep making new stories and attach the work "terrorist" to it, so that they can get a free pass to peek inside the area. First it was phones (obviously), and now they do warrantless wiretaps (and get away with it). Then it was laptops, now they can confiscate your laptop at the border for about as long as they want to. Now it's social sites... Anyone see a trend here? Now before I finish I will say that the government does need some of these options under certain circumstances, but not a free pass to view whatever they want, whenever they want.
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by secretcurse (1266724)

      I will say that the government does need some of these options under certain circumstances, but not a free pass to view whatever they want, whenever they want.

      Which is the entire point of warrants. Can someone explain to my why the government would ever possibly need to act without a warrant? If there's an imminent threat, they can even go ahead with a wiretap and get the warrant later, they just have to let a judge know why they did it. Is the government afraid our judges are terrorists now?

  • Panic! (Score:4, Funny)

    by Clovis42 (1229086) on Thursday January 08, 2009 @08:26AM (#26370767)
    Yeah, thanks to websites like Myspace, terrorist groups like "Fans of Panic at the Disco" have been able to organize and terrorize the rest of the web.
  • If Evan Kohlmann were to link to examples of this would he then be put on a watchlist? Would we if we followed those links?

    If we were, who is the real terrorist then? Perhaps the ones making the watchlist.
  • Dont have any sense neither, but at least could be a good excuse to send to Guantanamo all the spammers.
  • .... oh yeah, and I am a would-be sex symbol multi-millionaire with a wit to rival George Bernard Shaw's. Maybe I should also set up a chatroom or Facebook group for like-minded Would-Be Witty SSMMs so we can plan how to bed blondes and make more millions.

    Now if you can't spot the flaw in there you should look up "would-be" in a dictionary.

  • by fruey (563914) on Thursday January 08, 2009 @08:40AM (#26370879) Homepage Journal

    Anyone stupid enough to read this article and decide avoid the Internet because it is a hive of scum & villany is just one less stupid person on the net in the first place. So much the better.

  • minority report .. (Score:3, Interesting)

    by rs232 (849320) on Thursday January 08, 2009 @08:43AM (#26370899)
    What good is freedom of expression if there is no freedom of response. So-called democratic states attempt to suppress descent on social networks by painting them as havens for terrorists. It's curious as both the capitalists and the communists are dead scared of people talking to each other, without the moderating influence of some state-run or private-enterprise owned media.

    Yoani Sanchez and her blogging comrades are now the targets of the Castro regime's [motherjones.com] censors--and police.
  • I says:
    • Sports clubs link terrorists.
    • Hobby clubs link terrorists.
    • Supermarkets link terrorists.
    • Train stations link terrorists.
    • Telephone lines link terrorists.
    • Highways link terrorists.
    • Roads, streets, parks and allies link terrorists.
    • Pop concerts link terrorists.
    • ...
  • by mgiuca (1040724) on Thursday January 08, 2009 @08:44AM (#26370903)

    Terror: "One that instills intense fear".

    How is this continual stream of "they could be EVERYWHERE" news not spreading the terror? Seriously ... every once in awhile they fly a plane into a building or blow up a bus, which is horrible!! But having our media and our politicians say, "forall x. x can be used by the terrorists (watch out|let's get rid of it)" is doing way more damage to our lives.

    Preaching to the converted, I know, but that's why we comment on Slashdot after all :)

    • But having our media and our politicians say, "forall x. x can be used by the terrorists (watch out|let's get rid of it)" is doing way more damage to our lives.

      They use bitwise ORs?

  • T-Harmony dot com.

  • "Kohlmann outlined Operation Praline, a sting operation in the U.K. that ultimately uncovered a would-be terrorist network in three countries led by Aabid Khan [idg.com.au], a then-19-year-old Briton"

    "Evan Kohlmann, a U.S. terrorism analyst who advised the prosecution [www.cbc.ca] at Khan's trial, said" ..

    "Rizwaan Sabir and Hicham Yezza were reported to the police by their own university and detained for six days last May. Sabir had been studying extremism and had asked Yezza to print out a document [freehicham.co.uk] for him."

    --
    PROTHERO
    Do
  • I for one, welcome any plan that shuts down myspace and facebook...

  • it gets better (Score:2, Insightful)

    by swanriversean (928620)

    this just in:
    literacy enables terrorist to communicate more effectively

    related news:
    troops in Afghanistan will begin rooting out insurgent teachers who are instructing the next generation of terrorists the techniques of reading and writing (arithmetic, aka math, had been banned long ago once it was discovered that 3rd grade Afghans were surpassing the proficiency of US high school grads)

  • Ah, the irony. (Score:2, Insightful)

    by rift321 (1358397)
    Religious fanatics using technology created by western consumer whores to organize attacks against western consumer whores in the name of religious fanaticism. I guess in their culture, the ends _do_ justify the means. In any case, I'm sure if they use it enough, they'll become so distracted by the addicting nature of checking your wall, and leaving clever bumper stickers for friends that they'll forget all about their religious convictions.
  • Just ban all communication between 2 people without authorization, and monitor any attempts.

    If you get caught, you go back for re-training.

    Oh, and burn all the books.

  • And on another note, it's been proven , that telephones keep family members talking more then they used to.....more news at eleven.

    "Sometimes if you have nothing intelligent to say, ...post your story on slashdot"

  • OMG so do Telephones, Amateur Radio and the Postal Service...quick! lets shutdown all forms of two way communication to make us all safe.

  • Maybe someone could point me to the new definition of terrorist? Because the one that defines it as someone who creates fear and panic to get what he wants works far too well on current regimes in out "free world".

    Why are they so afraid of people talking with each other? Sure, you had that freedom of speech for a while. But then again, you never had a voice to be heard. Yeah, you could speak. Here, take that soapbox and stand over there in the corner, speak 'til you're blue in the face. How many will you at

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