Al Qaeda Forum Knocked Out by Hacker

Dennis Faas's picture

A 'jihadist' Internet forum known as al-Shamukh has been disabled by an unknown hacker, counter-terrorism experts report. These same experts report that the group's website and its server appear to have been knocked out by the attack.

Flashpoint Partners counter-terrorism expert Evan Kohlmann recently described the al-Shamukh site as a pro-Al Qaeda propaganda forum. He's not sure why the site has been allowed to continue operating, but suspects it might give Western governments a window into terrorist movements.

"These sites can be like spy satellites, they're great ways of gathering information about your adversaries," Kohlmann said. "Bringing them down is like shooting at your own spy satellites. But there are others who don't agree with that." (Source:

Hacker May Have Government Ties

Needless to say, someone felt al-Shamukh should be taken offline, though no one seems to have any idea who was responsible for the attack. The U.S. Defense Department has reported it's aware of the site's hacking, but did not offer any further comment on the situation.

Kohlmann believes it's possible a government may have been responsible for the attack, though it's unlikely we'll ever receive confirmation of that. If such an allegation were correct, it would be the first time a government has targeted an Al Qaeda forum.

Bomb-Making Directions Replaced with Cupcake Recipes

Last month, U.S. and British officials did however acknowledge that British intelligence authorities ("MI6") launched a cyber attack against al Qaeda's English-language Internet magazine, "Inspire." In the attack, they replaced directions for bomb-making with recipes for cupcakes. (Source:

It's not likely that al-Shamukh, which Kohlmann says is the premier pro-Al Qaeda forum, will remain down for long. He suspects those responsible for the site and server have regularly backed up their content, meaning it shouldn't be more than a week or two before it's back up and running. (Source:

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