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a way to stop al Qaeda

Let the CIA use you computer to stop terrorism
  (+11, -16)(+11, -16)
(+11, -16)
  [vote for,
against]

OK, basically, al Qaeda use websites to communicate with each other and to share videos of bombings in order to recruit new suicide bombers. These websites contain hundreds of images and videos of soldiers in Iraq and Afganistan getting blown up. My idea is to create a network of millions of peoples computers to launch denial of service attacks on the sites that can't be shut down, like ones hosted in Iraq or other unfriendly countries.

For anyone who doesn’t know what a denial of service attack is, I will explain briefly. Remember when you go to a website that lots of other people are looking at? It makes it really slow and sometimes it doesn’t work at all. Like a news website when something really big has happened. This software would work on that principle. If a million people all access one of the Al Qaeda websites at the same time. No-one will be able to use it. It might even crash the computer the website is hosted on.

The program would run in the background, or as a screen saver. So it would not get in the way or make your connection slow, since it would only be active when you are not using your computer. There are already viruses that work in a similar way, they infect millions of computers and then launch attacks against well know websites, like Microsoft.com.

This would be different because people would be encouraged to download it by the media and Prime Minister / President and let it run on their computer. It would have to get information from a central website so it knew which websites need to be attacked, and this central site could be controlled by the CIA or MI5.

This is one of the major advantages the west has over terrorists: technology and a whole crap load of people with idle computer time. I would sleep well if I knew that over night my PC was endlessly accessing a website so no-one could download pictures of American or British soldiers getting blown up.

The only problem I can think of is people thinking the program will spy on them, but this could be solved by using open source. So the last remaining problems are; getting people to download it and getting the CIA or MI5 to make it.

What do you think?

jonplackett, Jul 26 2005

Yahoo's dumb stories http://img57.images...mg57/6489/bs2ml.jpg
The utter crap the Media feeds us. [EvilPickels, Jul 26 2005]

El Reg on the program jonplackett is referring to http://www.theregis..._al_qaeda_internet/
"There probably is a worthwhile programme to be made about the internet's impact on terrorism, but this isn't it." [Loris, Jul 27 2005]

July 31, 2005 http://www.timesonl...087-1715166,00.html
Finger points to British intelligence as al-Qaeda websites are wiped out [contracts, Jul 31 2005]

[link]






       I'd rather keep them up, find out who the people responsible are, and then turn up one afternoon and pay them a friendly visit.   

       DOS would just drive them underground, and force them to become reasonably competent.   

       Anyway, where did you hear about these recruitment websites? This is the first I've heard of them, and I'd be interested to learn more about them.
zen_tom, Jul 26 2005
  

       Much has been made of Al Qaeda websites in recent news stories. I sympathize with jp's viewpoint: why aren't we aggressively shutting these sites down? And with all that's going on right now, how big a deal would it be to turn off Internet access for Iraq? And if cell phones are being used by terrorists, why not shut off the cell phone networks?
DrCurry, Jul 26 2005
  

       There was a documentary about them on BBC 2 yesterday. that's what made me think of it. They had an interview with one of the guys who ran one of the sites and he said he did it purely to recruit new suicide bombers and to encourage them to go to iraq.   

       as far as forcing them to become competant- i'm afraid they already are VERY competant. the documentary showed how they record all the suicide bombings on DV cameras, sometimes from multiple angles and upload them to a host site (the one this software would target) from there the videos spread out accroess the net.
jonplackett, Jul 26 2005
  

       also, i'm not talking about shutting off access to the whole country. just very targetted sites, in whatever country.   

       I would also like to turn up and arrest these people, but often it is not possible to trace them since they use false identities and proxy servers to hide their location. this is a way of stopping them co-ordinate and reach young muslims with their message of jihad.
jonplackett, Jul 26 2005
  

       [jonplackett] - Not convinced about advocacy of DOS attacks, but I hope someone is keeping tabs on these sites, not to mention some of the other neo-nazi/white power sites and no-goodniks.   

       EDIT- My last comment was not directed at you but at [DrCurry]
wagster, Jul 26 2005
  

       thanks wagster, but i think he may have meant it sarcastically anyway.   

       i think the main prob with peopls opinion of this, is they do not appreciate how important these sites are to al qaeda. and how harmful it would be to them to shut them off.   

       does anyone have any opinions on the practicalities of it. would it actually work?
jonplackett, Jul 26 2005
  

       Fit the DV cameras with tracking devices.
AbsintheWithoutLeave, Jul 26 2005
  

       Had a think, changed vote. [DrC] - I may have done you a disservice.
wagster, Jul 26 2005
  

       wagster: I'm being perfectly serious. Why should we let the tools we provide fall into the hands of our deadly enemies? And many things are fair in war that we would not consider in peacetime.
DrCurry, Jul 26 2005
  

       I think that what you'll find (after a massive campaign by the authorities, probably) is that the recruiters are using wifi, and probably laptop hardware servers from some location (like - not to pick on a particular country) that doesn't share the wired world's concept of technology.   

       I would benefit from input of some electronic security experts here, but I suspect sites that serve images are more prone to DOS attacks than are users that merely download and forward their files on to subscribers.
reensure, Jul 26 2005
  

       Most the servers are in EU countries or in the US. These websites are openly run from the UK and other western countries. The new legislation being put forward by the UK government at the minute is partly targeted at getting these sites shut down.   

       the idea of attacking these sites with viruses etc has been dismissed as western countries have much more to loose than gain by putting more viruses on the net.
etherman, Jul 26 2005
  

       In the UK, the government are currently trying to introduce legislation which will basically make it an offence to encourage suicide bombing. (Edit: Oops - [etherman] was seconds ahead of me) This strikes me as being a bit of a 'shoot-the-messenger' solution. Personally, I think it would be very difficult to shut down _all_ the sources of this message worldwide - and if you can't shut them all down then shutting _some_ down just gives these people another reason to be angry.   

       I'm not going to go into my own views on suicide bombers, because they're confused, and that way will probably end up with lots of capitalized replies. However, my feeling is that this sort of negative, shut-it-down response is not the way to combat this. Let's not forget that most suicide bombers are well-educated. I don't believe they stumbled onto a website and then said, "hey, these guys are right, let's blow ourselves up".
</rant> Sorry. Better stop now before I really get into my stride.
moomintroll, Jul 26 2005
  

       I'm basically with [moomintroll] here. Fighting terrorism has to be done very carefully as they can easily play the "we are David, you are Goliath" card if you wade in with any real strength.   

       [DrC] - I don't think either telecoms or IP routing can be viewed as technologies owned by the west for our benefit. Most of the development was done in the west, much of the manufacture and implementation isn't. I would also be interested in how many other things you would be prepared to deny the 24M Iraqis so that the 100's of real deadly enemies we have there are forced to move to another country. DOS attacks on individual sites are one thing, deliberately keeping a nation (that we have liberated) back in the last century is both immoral and strategically dangerous.
wagster, Jul 26 2005
  

       wagster: It is commonplace during wartime to impose curfews and other restrictions of civil liberties; why would access to technology be any different? Do not lecture me on rights in this context.
DrCurry, Jul 26 2005
  

       Hooo. Morality, al-Quaeda, the Iraq war, ethics of suicide bombing, advocacy of DoS attacks, the battle of good and evil... Overbaked, anyone?
Easy to say now I've added my ha'pennyworth, of course... ;)
moomintroll, Jul 26 2005
  

       I guess it's a question of the context. You seem to think that we are at war with Iraq while I think that we are trying to rebuild Iraq while we are at war with a loose affliation of various Muslim extremist groups that have been labelled Al-Qaeda. As they are spread around all of the middle east and the west we can't really hit them by striking at any one country or infrastructure - we have to try something new. If we were actually at war with a single nation that really threatened us then I would put my moral scruples away for a bit.   

       EDIT - This idea was bound to bring out the politics [moom], I'll let it drop now before I'm told to.
wagster, Jul 26 2005
  

       yes el, seti was one of the things i was thinking about when i thought of it.   

       can i just remind everyone, i am not advocating the shutdown of internet in iraq. just selected servers that hold images and videos of allied troops being blown up, since by their own admission, these serve as recruitment tools.
jonplackett, Jul 26 2005
  

       Right. No way there could be a hidden al @da server buried in the Iraqi desert. Some of us remember that outside sources effectively shut down Iraq's internet communication prior to allied Mideast offensives. Then, the exported media content from Iraq was about 60% from embedded reporters, 40% from native agencies like Al Jazeera (the guys who used to get first crack at clandestine home video), and a minute percent of home-grown video. Today, the home video share of that exported media remains minute, but it still receives its widest viewing when replayed daily on English-network television after it is dubbed for quality, authenticated, and enhanced with date, time, and location text.
reensure, Jul 26 2005
  

       i know you think you're right, but actually, you're not. as i said, i saw a BBC documentary about this yesterday. when american troops entered falluja, they found internet cafes with high speed internet connections. i know it sounds crazy, but it's true, check your facts before you write anything else.
jonplackett, Jul 26 2005
  

       IP routing was first developed as ARPANET by the US military as a comms network that could withstand direct attack with minimum loss of functionality. The Iraqis proved how well it worked.
wagster, Jul 26 2005
  

       This has also been one of my speculations. DOS attacks on web sites like that is a speculation I have often wondered about. I am sure there are genius crackers out there who could effectively shut them down, and down for good. I always wondered why the government didn't have it's own internet cracker agency or something. If we did, we might be able to find out everything about al quaeda and their plans.   

       BTW the difference between a Cracker and a Hacker is Hacker's build stuff, like applications, and Crackers, well, break into computer systems and wreak havoc on the internet. Most realm Hackers hate the media and other idiots mis-associating the term Hacker, with things a Cracker would do.   

       I read a story on slashdot about a 17 year old guy who cracked into US government databases and uncovered evidence of UFO cover ups and stuff, and is now facing up to 70 years for it. He remarked in his interview on how easy it was to infiltrate the system.   

       The term Hacker does not mean to open as most people might think, it means build or make. Such as, you hack 'down a tree' to build your log cabin. Where as the term Cracker means to crack something open. Like a Coconut Shell or Egg. Cracking something is meticulous, where as Hacking is raw brute force. You don't use brute force to open something, you choose the easiest way and exploit the easiest way to open something.   

       I am sure there are freelance Cracker geniuses out there the Govenment could hire and use against Al quaeda.   

       I am as of last night, learning to Program off the web. There are LOTS of stuff I want to do with programming. :D   

       Ah, the possibilities are endless... Mathematical simulations, encrypting, secret translation encoders...   

       I would like to see one of these sites, and learn what is really going on in Iraq. The Media and all the other bullshit out here on the net and real world make it abhoringly impossible to determine what's really going on. I am speculating that those web sites, have more truth than you are going to find anywhere else.   

       But, considering all the websites out there, we might as well shut off internet access to all non-friendly countries and un cofirmed allies. No, seriously. Impose martial law on those Private servers that run part of the internet and use it to shut them down.   

       What I mean is, if you shut down one site, a million others are going to have copies of the vids and picsm anyways. Like the tons of humor web sites out there, each with it's own copy of the 'cat drum' loop vid. Each forum, will have posts of them on there to show them off. Especially if they are like, anti western forums and such.   

       Makes me wonder why we don't set up our own Propganda sites...   

       BTW Don't believe all the crap the Media puts out, more than half of it is Bullshit. 89% of statistics and made up and what-not. I have this picture I took of a Yahoo news page of absolutely retarded news stories.   

       I don't trust the Media more than I trust Bush or Coporations. They keep the public completely in the dark and put up retarded stories on their homepages, aobut how 'Johnny got bit by a Shark because he swam out of the net and lost his leg', and how 'why is the sky blue and not purple'.   

       Most of the public wouldn't be idiots if the Media were actually Media, and were actually good for something, AND posted stuff that actually informed people rather than tickle their fansies and make people worry about how 'Paris hilton's pet pooch went missing'.
EvilPickels, Jul 26 2005
  

       [EDJ], I think that's the funniest thing you've ever written.
moomintroll, Jul 26 2005
  

       Isn't it largely a topless internet already?   

       [Evil] - Glad to hear to you getting angry about something worth getting angry about. Keep it up.
wagster, Jul 26 2005
  

       I think it would be better to modify those sites in subtle ways but leave them up.
bungston, Jul 26 2005
  

       "We must destroy the infidel pigeons of London! God will bless all those who cut the throats of the evil birds!" That would solve a few problems.
wagster, Jul 26 2005
  

       and reports of suicide bombings in Trafalgar Square...
Ling, Jul 27 2005
  

       Dare I suggest we think a moment before shooting the web server 5 times in the head and 3 times in the body?   

       Sounds obvious, but the ONLY cure for violence is no violence.   

       One minute mardis gras, anyone?
not_only_but_also, Jul 27 2005
  

       There's really only one thing in this whole discussion that bothers me, and that is the comments mixed in that seem to be sympathetic al qaida. It seems rather stupid to me to sympathize with someone who wants to kill your children on their way to school to prove a point, but that's just me I guess. As for why we "don't have some sort of cracker service of our own", as far as I know the NSA has some pretty good code crackers for example, and I would be very surprised if they didn't have some other talented people as well. I haven't the foggiest idea why something like this hasn't already been done but I doubt that it is for lack of ability, or computing power.
brewer, Jul 27 2005
  

       We wouldn't really know if this is being done, would we? I'm sure something like it has been attempted.   

       I think there would be value in keeping them functional so we could monitor them and try to locate sources through them.
waugsqueke, Jul 27 2005
  

       Yeah, I agree. Its a good idea, but I doubt the government isnt already doing something about the websites. The fed cant learn from something by destroying it. Its clearly a logical and straightforward idea but I dont think it will help Americas war as much as you and I would hope. Mr W doesent need crackers to help him figure out what to do about iraq and terrorism, he has clearly stated that God helps him make those decisions. I cannot believe in the year 2005 we are still fighting religious wars.
KaGe2021, Jul 27 2005
  

       You show your ignorance: we Christians worship the same god as the Muslims. Al Qaeda are a bunch of terrorists: it is doubtful they worship any god except nihilism (they certainly do not remotely resemble devout Muslims).
DrCurry, Jul 27 2005
  

       He knew that doc, he was being ironic.
etherman, Jul 27 2005
  

       "It makes it really slow and sometimes it doesn’t work at all. Like a news website when something really big has happened."   

       With the amount of people checking these sites already, I wonder if these sites can take a lot of people looking at them in stride? What I mean is just how big is their bandwidth? How much power do their servers have?   

       I am all for taking images of US and Brittish troops being blown to bits off the net but once you do you leave them using low tech options. "Less is more" as they say.
MrDaliLlama, Jul 27 2005
  

       so although you don't believe the media about what's happening in iraq, you do believe what the media say about a program? have u actually seen it?
jonplackett, Jul 27 2005
  

       Too true. The only people who loose in the 'War on Terrorism' are the ordinary people going about their daily business in places like Baghdad, London and Bali and the young people who buy the rhetoric on both sides and sign up to fight for these bogus causes.
etherman, Jul 28 2005
  

       whats that got to do with this idea though?   

       this is simply a way of stopping al qaeda recuit new bombers. i live in london and use the tube every day. i think if we stop them recruiting more people, then thats good?
jonplackett, Jul 28 2005
  

       No it isn't.   

       Terrorists do not principally attack telecommunication infrastructure. I agree with those who imply that terrorists as a whole don't appreciate or understand abstract concepts like "the internet". They or their handlers (the real criminals) target brick and mortar infrastructure and do so more recently by vehicle borne explosives. I think no one needs remediation on why that is happening.   

       Why do people wander away from an Idea [jonplackett]? Reasons vary, but I can tell you that in my case and for reasons I just stated I think your assessment of terrorist use of the internet is overstated. What might work is more legs on the ground, entering the mosques and hovels where the discontented sit and wonder "what's next?" by their oil lamps.
reensure, Jul 28 2005
  

       i disagree. it has been shown that terrorists used the internet to communicate and plan the 911 attacks. it is also very likely that suicide bombers are being recruited to go to iraq by websites. i agree that more feet on the ground would be good. going into mosques would be good. but there are separate reasons that does not happen. lack of money for one, civil rights issues for another. lack of people wanting to join the army for another. this is just one way of stopping suicide bombers, and it would work, not entirely obviously, but it would help.
jonplackett, Jul 28 2005
  

       There's always the Spanish solution.
DrCurry, Jul 28 2005
  

       Spam Spam Spam ...
reensure, Jul 29 2005
  

       Ignoring the rationale behind this scheme, I foresee a technical problem with this: for it to be really effective, it'd have to work quickly. As soon as a site was detected you'd want to close it down immediately. For this to happen the SETI-like background program would have to be calling in to MI5 or whoever to get a new list of sites every minute or less. With the millions of participants you want, you'd be in danger of having organized your own DOS attack. SuiDOS maybe?
Gordon Comstock, Jul 29 2005
  

       // for it to be really effective, it'd have to work quickly.// Why? I mean, soon, yes, but why immediately? Better late than never.
Basepair, Jul 31 2005
  

       "Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the government for a redress of grievances."   

       So this doesn't apply anymore?
Aq_Bi, Aug 01 2005
  

       "Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the government for a redress of grievances."   

      
Get real man, the U.S. Government stoped caring about what is written in the constitution a long time ago. We could devote 100 forums to the degradation of the rules our founding fathers laid out. No point to cry about it now. Not to mention the fact that it is a different world, where things they never could have dreamed of happen. Its better to just pretend they dont exist(Like the fuzz do).
KaGe2021, Aug 01 2005
  

       "Censoring" the internet is never a good idea, even if it is for a good cause. For one, the internet is very censorship-resistant by design, and secondly, you're going down a slippery slope if you encourage censorship technologies.   

       Anyhow, it wouldn't work. Terrorists would simply find the next better method of distributing information. They could switch to encrypted email and p2p, for example (anonymous p2p if need be).
kinemojo, Dec 15 2006
  

       All of this would be interesting if the so called governments were smarter than the terrorists.   

       I say so called because America in particular does NOT have a government, within the true meaning of that word, but an Exxon/Mobil directed junta, headed up by their wooden topped Bush marionette.   

       Terrorists only have to have one "success" every few years in terms of a 9/11 type attack. This is simply achieved, and is repeatable regardless of deterrents.   

       Al Qaeda has run rings around the CIA before, and why wouldn't they ? After all it was American money and expertise that set them up in the first place in Afghanistan to create a crucible in order to crush the Russians and "win" the cold war.   

       Only dialogue will diffuse terrorism, especially this new global variety. America coerced Britain into talks with the IRA, and allowed their leadership free access to the White House in the very middle of their bloody campaign of ethnic cleansing in Northern Ireland. They should be made to do likewise with Al Queda.
xenzag, Dec 15 2006
  

       I think you'd have better luck blog spamming their content to thousands more sites with subtle (and not so subtle) changes to content and misdirection to undercover operatives.   

       That would let you muddy and confuse the core message of al-Qaeda while creating honeypots for potential recruits. With the stolen content you could also make claims of original authorship and start spreading disinformation about the original sites. Spread massive distrust among extremist and you get some very frustrated and confused folks.
Obscuro, Nov 02 2007
  
      
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