US dismantles CIA-Saudi website used by militant Islamists.
Interesting story was released last week on the Washington Post. It appears that the CIA working with the Saudi government created a Honeypot website forum to intercept terrorist plots against Saudi Arabia. A Honeypot is a website that is used as a trap to lure hackers into them, or in this case to extract information from militant Islamists.
The website worked great for a while, until the US Army claimed that the site was being used by terrorists to coordinate attacks in Iraq. The US Army and CIA disagreed about shutting it down. They were still getting intelligence from it. Finally the US Army won out and put its Cyber commandos to work:
A group of cyber-operators at the Pentagon’s Joint Functional Component Command-Network Warfare at Fort Meade seemed ideally suited to the task. The unit carries out operations under a program called Countering Adversary Use of the Internet, established to blunt Islamist militants’ use of online forums and chat groups to recruit and mobilize members and to spread their beliefs.
“We were very clear in the meetings” that the goal was to upend the site, one participant said. “The only thing that caught us by surprise was the effect.”
One problem with cyber warfare is how interconnected everything is. When the US shut down the server, over 300 servers were inadvertently affected, including servers in Saudi Arabia and Germany. The problem with taking down forums like this is the users simply move to another server. And such was the case, the US military scored a victory in shutting down an enemy military communication site, while the CIA lost a site used to spy on the enemy.