Islamic State: ISIS plotting cyber war against West says US President hopeful John McAfee

If the world were anything like The Express’s world, we’d have all died of stupidity years ago.

ISIS to unleash TENS OF MILLIONS of jihadi hackers on West in blitz worse than NUCLEAR WAR

John McAfeeGETTY

Computer expert John McAfee has warned ISIS are preparing for a huge cyber war against the WestJohn McAfee said the jihadis are hoping to take down the Internet and cause a global meltdown of services after developing a sophisticated mobile phone application which allows any of their warped followers to launch devastating cyber attacks.

The computer security expert, who invented the McAfee anti-virus software, claimed “fifteen to 25 percent” of the world’s 1.6 billion Muslims are extremists, meaning ISIS could have an army of 400 million fanatical followers ready to strike at any minute.

Computer boffins at the terrorists’ headquarters in Raqqa have developed a secret smartphone application designed to spread Islamist propaganda and help followers carry out terrorist attacks from the comfort of their own homes.

A team which may have included British hacker Junaid Hussain invented a feature which allows even the most computer illiterate of jihadis to launch sophisticated Distributed Denial of Service (DDoS) attacks against websites.

DDoS attacks work by flooding a site with fake traffic, causing it to grind to a halt, and have been successfully used against some of the world’s biggest companies and government departments.

John McAfeeGETTY

Legendary inventor John McAfee is running for US PresidentJunaid HussainIG

British hacker Junaid Hussain, killed in an airstrike, may have helped develop the appExperts now believe that ISIS hackers carried out a major test of the app’s capabilities last week by launching an audacious attempt to bring down the 13 root servers which keep the Internet running worldwide.

Whilst the attack ultimately failed, it did temporarily slow down services across the globe and has been described as an unprecedented attempt to strike at the heart of modern Western society.

ISIS is now emailing the application out to its followers worldwide and is encouraging them to use it to unleash technological carnage on the West.

Mr McAfee, who has set up his own party to run for US President, said that the jihadis are “far more clever” than most people realise and warned that the West and warned that they are planning to unleash “a cyber war far more devastating than any nuclear war”.

ISIS fightersIG

ISIS could have an army of up to 400 million extremists at its fingertipsMasked Anonymous activistsGETTY

Anonymous have launched a huge cyber campaign against ISIS

It’s going to be a cyber war, far more devastating than any nuclear war

John McAfee

He said: “They are far more clever in cyber sciences than we ever gave them credit for.

“There’s simply no way to take everybody’s smartphone away from them. Neither is there any way to know what everybody is doing on their smartphones, so the cyber war has moved from big servers that try to attack other servers, to software that ISIS has developed, that runs on everybody’s smartphone.

“And keep in mind, there are 1.6 billion Muslims in the world. Fifteen to 25 percent, as current estimates, are extremists.

“Even if a small percentage of those are following the ISIS news app, then we have tens of millions of users of this application. It’s a very frightening situation.

“We have to prepare ourselves, because the next war is not going to be fought with bombs and battleships and airplanes. It’s going to be a cyber war, far more devastating than any nuclear war.”

The figure of 15-25 per cent of Muslims holding radical beliefs was originally aired earlier this year by Brigitte Gabriel, founder of the Act! for America campaign group, who said she was referencing “intelligence services around the world”.

But some experts have openly questioned that claim with Angel Rabasa, a senior political scientist at the RAND corporation, saying that more like one per cent of the Muslim population in Europe – around 325,000 people – are “at risk of becoming radical”. If extrapolated worldwide, his research would mean ISIS could fall back on an army of around 16 million fanatical extremists.

In a wide-ranging interview computer expert Mr McAfee also revealed that the vigilante hacker group Anonymous are making some headway against ISIS, but will never be able to completely shut off their communications.

He revealed how a version of the jihadi news app obtained by his cyber security team contained messages from the Islamists stating that Anonymous had taken down their main server.

Anonymous trolls ISIS on Twitter

Fri, December 11, 2015

Activist hacking group Anonymous and their followers are carrying out a “trolling day” against the terrorist group Islamic State (ISIS) as part of its cyber-campaign against the militant Islamist group


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Anonymous trolls ISIS on Twitter with duck memes

Last week a hack-tivist with the group told how campaigners worldwide are working around the clock to disrupt ISIS communications channels, including by taking down extremist social media accounts.

But whilst the masked vigilantes are “definitely pushing them into the corner”, Mr McAfee does not believe their actions alone will defeat the terror group.

He told RT: “Can they succeed in silencing them? I don’t think so, I don’t think so. There are far too many extremists, there are far too many devotees, and ISIS does have enormous technical competence in this cyber world.”

A nuclear explosionGETTY

Mr McAfee says ISIS’ cyber onslaught will be worse than a nuclear war An iPhoneGETTY

The phone app allows any would-be jihadi to launch sophisticated hacking attacksHis comments came after FBI director James Comey said ISIS presents a completely new form of terrorist threat and compared the group to the mythical monster Hydra, which grew two new heads for every one that was cut off.

Mr Comey told police officers that the jihadis were perfecting the art of “crowdsourcing” terrorism, encouraging followers worldwide to carry out small but deadly attacks rather than plotting elaborate, centralised schemes.

He told the NYPD Shield conference in New York yesterday that ISIS were a different threat to al-Qaeda, which planned and carried out highly orchestrated schemes including the 9/11 attacks.

Instead he said ISIS has “become the leader in global jihad by this crowdsourcing of terrorism” through social media platforms.

Killed by a Russian bomb, a five-year-old visiting relatives in Syria

British bombs will be killing children like this too.

Killed by a Russian bomb, a five-year-old visiting relatives in Syria

Five-year-old Raghat loved singing, nail polish, teasing her toddler sister, the alphabet she was starting to learn at nursery, and goofing for the camera. In the last photos of her, taken barely 10 minutes before the Russian bombs landed, she shows off a new bracelet and freshly painted nails with glee, then squeezes a kiss from her squirming baby sister.

“I only took my children back to Syria for six days,” says her mother, Suheer, her eyes welling up as she plays a video on her smartphone, bringing a shadow of her daughter momentarily back to life. Her son Hossein, only four himself, leans in to smooth away her tears. Too young to really understand why his sister has vanished, he comforts his mother with a soft patter of “mummy, no, mummy”.

Raghat now lies miles away, across the Turkish border in Syria, buried in the town of Habeet, near Idlib, where she died in October alongside her grandfather and her cousin Ahmad. When the attack finished she was found wrapped in Ahmad’s arms. A 28-year-old maths teacher, he had tried to race her to shelter when the first bomb fell.

They made it to a small dugout in the garden, but a bomb landed just beside the entrance, and Ahmad’s body was not a strong enough shield. Raghat survived the first blast, but died on the back of a motorbike as her family raced her to hospital. “We were supposed to be going home the next day,” Suheer says. “My husband never saw his daughter again.”

The family are one of hundreds ripped apart by more than two months of intense Russian bombing raids on opponents of President Bashar al-Assad, which victims and fighters say have strayed far behind frontlines. Coalition airstrikes led by the US have also killed civilians, but have stricter rules of engagement. There have been no reports of civilian casualties from the airstrikes launched on the al-Omar oilfield by British Tornado jets this week.

Syrians say Russians are not only reckless about choosing targets, but also appear to be intentionally bombing some civilian areas.

Raghat died in new holiday clothes and a bead bracelet bought by a favourite aunt. Photograph: Family Photo Survivors, doctors treating the injured, and local commanders believe the Sukhoi jets, flying from a new airbase in the coastal Latakia province, are hitting homes in a deliberate campaign to break fighters’ morale and depopulate swaths of the countryside.

“They are targeting the civilians at night, and mostly frontlines during the day,” says Abu Hussain, a Turkmen rebel commander, a high-rank defector from the Syrian army. “It’s because they don’t want anyone to film the jets bombing at night, so you can’t prove their identity.”

That matches images and accounts of the airstrike on Raghat’s house, which her uncle Ali says began moments after 9pm on 1 October. In one of her last photographs, she holds a lit torch, and video her uncle says was shot soon after the bombing shows flames raging through the house against a dark sky.

Russian airstrikes killed at least 295 Syrian civilians in October alone, according to monitoring group Airwars, which keeps an extensive database of images, videos, reports and biographies of the dead.

“Based on all field reporting, the number of alleged civilian casualties attributed to Russia is many times what we see being claimed against the US-led coalition,” says Chris Woods, who runs the Airwars project.

“We think the primary reason here that the casualties are so high is the type of munitions that Russia is using, mostly ‘dumb bombs’ which almost always mean more civilian deaths. That is closely followed by where and how Russia is bombing. There is no doubt that Russia is bombing civilian neighbourhoods.”

Airwars’ assessment of the strike on Habeet matches Raghat’s family’s account, and ties in with Russian reports of bombing raids in the area, it says. A Syrian monitoring group also confirmed details of the attack, and a prominent human rights activist still working inside Syria videotaped the aftermath and photographed the little girl’s body.

The family, who asked for their surname to be withheld to protect relatives still in Syria, did not expect a bombing raid even though Russian planes had been buzzing around the area for four days, apparently doing surveillance. President Vladimir Putin had said his fighters would be targeting “terrorist groups”, and the family’s home was more than 60 miles (97km) from the nearest Isis forces.

Even as it became clear that Russian planes were more focused on tackling Assad’s opponents than Isis, the frontline was still several miles away. It would take days for civilians to realise they were firmly in the bombers’ sights, because of confusion about targets and the slow and unreliable trickle of news out of Syria.

Many working in overwhelmed hospitals, providing relief or ferrying the worst injured across the border into Turkey, fear the deaths have barely registered in western capitals obsessed with tackling Isis and almost oblivious to the civilian deaths caused by Russian bombing.

“Its been 48 days with no one talking about it,” says Abu Hamza Suleiyman, a doctor at a Syrian field hospital near the town of Jisr al-Shughur, another area targeted by Russian bombers. “There are almost no civilians left in their homes because they bombed almost every single village.

“I could understand the frontline, but the civilians? One landed just outside a maternity hospital. This is the worst experience in the last four years. I’m from a small village in these mountains, and for ages no one has bombed this village, but when the Russians started bombing they hit every single village.”

The killings already appear to be entrenching the war and fuelling radicalisation. Anti-Assad fighters seeking revenge and disturbed by the flagging strength of their own groups, seek to ally with opposition forces that are well-supplied and confident in Syria – among them Isis.

“Isis are not very good, but a lot of people think they are doing the correct thing against the regime,” says Raghat’s uncle Ali, a fighter with the Free Syrian Army whose two younger brothers now want to join him on the frontlines to avenge their family.

Ali, who was not at home when the strike hit, fears other families may look for even more radical solutions. “There is no Isis in our area at all, but there is going to be soon,” he says.

Ali’s father, 56-year-old Abdul Razzaq, was one of the first civilian victims of the Russian raids, hit in the Habeet strike as he tried to race down from the top storey of the house. Most of the family were already downstairs and managed to dash to safety, leaving only Raghat, her cousin and 49-year-old grandmother, Zahra, who had been in another part of the house and decided to head for the dugout in the yard.

Ali, Raghat’s uncle, at his temporary home on the Turkish border. Photograph: David Gill As they fled, a shell landed just behind Zahra, knocking her to the ground, destroying her hearing and peppering her with shrapnel. It nearly killed her, but probably also saved her life, because just as Ahmad and Raghat thought they had reached safety, another blast hit the shelter directly.

Zahra’s search for treatment took a long, painful night of racing across northern Syria, on roads so bad she broke an arm, because some hospitals have been targeted in airstrikes and others are overwhelmed by casualties of the bombings.

Ali rushed her 15 miles to the nearest medical station, but doctors there could do little more than stabilise her for a three-hour drive to the Turkish border, in an ambulance that was more like a truck.

A drive in darkness, haste and confusion was followed by three hours waiting at the border for Zahra, moaning in pain and terrified she was dying. They were finally escorted across the border to begin treatment, but two months later she still has no movement in one arm, and can barely walk because the sores and burns on her legs are yet to heal.

They were only in the path of the bombs because the war has dragged on so long. The whole extended family fled to Turkey in 2012, but two years ago pension payments to Abdul Razzaq, a retired officer in the Syrian military, were stopped by the government.

They could no longer afford rent. But, anxious to avoid the grim refugee camps and reassured that their home was under firm rebel control and had never been bombed or taken by the regime, they decided to risk returning.

Only Suheer stayed with her husband, who had found a job in Turkey. She missed her parents and siblings badly, though, and after two years persuaded her husband to let her take the children back to celebrate Eid. They crossed back into Syria days before the Russian campaign began.

Raghat died in new holiday clothes and a bead bracelet bought by a favourite aunt, Rasmea, who studied computer engineering before the war. “We were shopping, came home, did some pictures, and then – the end,” Rasmea says. She still wears her niece’s bracelet, faded now to dull browns and blacks. Her Facebook profile picture is a montage of images of Raghat, both radiant in life and mutilated in death.

“Why are the Russians bombing Syrian people? What have we done wrong?” she says, on the verge of tears. “We want people to see what is happening in Syria, please tell the world.”

Muhammed Almahmoud contributed reporting

Isis wants an insane race war – and we’ve decided to give them one

Isis wants an insane race war – and we’ve decided to give them one | Frankie Boyle

So we decided to stop children drowning on the beaches by killing them in their beds. It’s hard to think of a more poetic metaphor for our utter lack of ideas than spending several years dropping high explosives on to a desert. Dropping something from a great height can never be precise – this is why Santa still parks up the sleigh. I have to admit that I was sort of disturbed by the palpable excitement in parliament, and couldn’t escape the feeling that our politicians like wars because they make them feel important.

The motion they voted on was a vague list of “necessary measures” and “requests for assistance”, with “specifically airstrikes” at the very bottom – as if someone had shouted it out of the front door as they were starting the car: “Oooh! Don’t forget eggs, milk – and airstrikes!!” One MP argued that IS need a lot of space to move and that airstrikes would limit their territory. The Paris shooters lived in one room with a mattress; we could bomb Syria to the average size of a London flat and they’d still find room to manoeuvre. Bombing Syria will achieve nothing. Let’s at least take a swing at China and have these dull winter skies replaced with a curtain of incendiary light.

What is Cameron’s problem with IS? Ordinary people who in their spare time have formed a huge multinational oil trade and a workforce of thousands willing to be paid in rice and fear – that’s the Big Society right there. Cameron called them “Women-raping, Muslim-murdering, medieval monsters” – he carefully avoided saying “child molesters” in case one of the backbench shouted: “Present!” This is before we get to the fact that he used the word “medieval” to justify a military expedition into the Middle East. Of course bombing will cause delight in Islamic State, where it will form the only entertainment. There’s no music, no dancing, and we’re spending a couple of million quid a night providing the mise en scène for these sadists’ fantasy life.

. I think it’s worth remembering that if you say something and Tories start cheering, then you have said something awful. Yes, Hilary, we bombed Hitler, but we were being attacked here by German planes that were leaving from Germany – not by a teenager in west London who had been assembling a Doodlebug in the garage. Benn’s whole speech was played in celebratory fashion the next night on Radio 4, feeding into my theory that George Orwell was so prescient about our society that he moved to Jura to deliberately encourage his TB.

We learned little from the debate, except for the fact that the word caliphate sounds hilarious in a Northern Irish accent, and so do a bunch of other words. Perhaps we’ll soon be so used to the Middle East being in permanent conflict that retaking a Syrian Village from IS will become one of the tasks on The Apprentice. Perhaps destruction is simply easier than kindness. We find it easier to tell a stranger on WhatsApp we want to have sex with their face than hold hands with someone we might be falling in love with. It’s ridiculous really. Charles Manson or Anders Breivik murder people to try to start a race war and it’s laughably insane, but when IS do it we decide to give them one.

Islamic State practise a brand of Islamic law so strict that apparently Raqqa only has two Irish Pubs. For some reason the BBC website keeps reporting opposing moderate rebel groups, but never names them. I know the names of all the cat-hybrid-vegetable-marine-biologist Octonauts, but the differences between the groups fighting Assad are deemed too complex for me. Moderate seems to be a very fluid term when it comes to offshoots of al-Qaida and whatnot, and moderate groups vary from outfits such as Nuclear Allahcaust, who despise the west, and more reasonable elements such as the Al-Jihadi Infidel Soul Harvest, who despise the east, because if you travel east for long enough, you reach the west.

I wonder if the Commons really understands or cares that they are making Britain a target. How affected will MPs be by terrorism? In their high-security lives, the only fear they have of an attack on a bus is that the waiters will be late for a drinks reception. I think we live in a country that sometimes forgets how effective the rule of law is, perhaps because our governments have often found it inconvenient. We invest a vast amount of money in intelligence and terrorists have to, by their nature, take risks: cross borders, move weapons. I think the most effective place for those guys to end up is not in a martyr video, but in a small but comfortable jail cell. Somewhere in Kent, perhaps. No paradise, no virgins, no meaning leant by us to their stupidity, no glory, no attention. Just a guard wishing them a bland good morning, and a regular change of towels. And if you think that’s insufficient punishment, give them a television that only gets terrestrial, and all our newspapers everyday.

Chris Page’s new novel The Underpants Tree, sequel to King of the Undies World, is now available in paperback from Amazon and ebook from Kindle, along with novel Weed and collection of short fiction Un-Tall Tales.

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