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ICT Cyber-Desk Review: Report #17

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This report covers the period of April-June 2016, with the following main issues:

Terrorist organizations continued to perfect their online activities, and emphasized the use of various social platforms for distributing messages and directing to multiple websites. In this context, new accounts were opened on social platforms, and messages are posted as well as links to sites containing additional messages, especially on the dark net.

The discourse among Al-Qaeda jihadists focused on the pros and cons of transferring their activities from forums to social media.

In the field of cyber-defense, terrorist organizations are aware of the information gathering and preventative efforts by security agencies and therefore continued distributing defensive guidelines and moved to the darknet, where they claim to be better able to protect the traffic and anonymity of the organizations and their supporters, from tracking software of intelligence agencies, social networks and activists, who operate against terrorist organizations on the Internet in general, and on social networks in particular.

Terrorist organizations continued their efforts to improve their offensive capabilities, but at this stage do not reveal significant technological abilities in this area. Nevertheless, it should be taken into account that these organizations can hire external bodies, such as those who identify with terrorist ideas or organized crime, and can also acquire such abilities from terror-supporting states. In this framework, it is worth mentioning a video published by hackers identified with ISIS, in which they claimed to have hacked into Twitter and Facebook accounts, where they posted a threat to attack the founders of Facebook and Twitter, if they continue to remove ISIS-related content and accounts. In addition, elements with ties to Al-Qaeda published details about security vulnerabilities of the Windows operating system while running remote applications.

Counter-actions aimed at preventing the use of the Internet by terrorists continued, including the filing of civil lawsuits against owners of Internet platforms, such as Facebook and Twitter. In addition, Microsoft expressed its willingness to cooperate in the removal of inappropriate terrorism-related content.

The solid wall of money transfer services was breached in April 2016, when the SWIFT network, which acts as a crossroads for money transfers through messages, was fraudulently used to withdraw approximately 81 million dollars from the Central Bank of Bangladesh.

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