‘Another Infidel Defending Cyberspace for God and Country’: Grandfather Turned Hacker Shuts Down Al Qaeda Websites
Yet even that film’s hero, Neo, might not have much on the anti-terrorist computer hacker who calls himself the Raptor. Self-described as an ex-military grandfather (with at least one family member on active duty), the Raptor makes no secret of his mission: he is out to crush Al Qaeda, and radical Islam generally, through the world-wide web.
And he is succeeding. Fox News reports:
Calling himself a patriot acting on behalf of U.S. troops serving overseas, The Raptor claims to be behind last month’s attack on Al Qaeda’s main online forum, Shamukh Islamic Network, and a handful of other sites and forums, including Ansar al-Mujahideen, where jihadists gather online to issue threats and exhort one another to acts of terror. The sites went down on March 22, and most remained dark for nearly two weeks. As the websites stayed offline, The Raptor taunted his targets on Twitter, daring them to “bring it.”[...]The Raptor also maintains a blog and Twitter feed. Some highlights from his blog:
“Our kids keep getting killed because jihadists make better bombs than they do cupcakes,” The Raptor said. “Anything I can do to disrupt and demoralize the enemy is worthwhile and on the table.
“Some say I and others like me are Crusaders; that we hate Islam or desire to offend Allah,” he continued. “That is absolutely and fundamentally wrong. Some of my best friends are Muslims, and I love them. They don’t wish me harm, and I would give my life to defend them. This has only to do with violent criminals who cloak themselves in the wool of a good and peaceful religion to bring death and destruction to the world.”
Many violent extremist Web sites have become one–stop terrorist recruitment, training, and planning centers. As traditional means of travel and communication have become increasingly difficult for terrorists, terrorist-related Internet sites have become the de facto way for them to accomplish their mission objectives. Operating with unprecedented openness, jihadist Web masters are capitalizing on our deep respect for freedom of speech to the point that it is costing the lives of our soldiers and increasingly diminishing our way of life.
These jihadist Web sites are operational tools of terrorists and thus they deserve to be treated like the weapons of terrorism they are. Just as screaming “fire” in a movie theater legally exceeds tolerable limits on freedom of speech, so should these Web sites be addressed through legal means. They should justifiably draw a response from law enforcement. Inciting violence against innocent people should likewise be intolerable to peaceful societies. Yet, governments seem powerless to stop them - lost in a fog of how to legally and ethically respond.
We can wait no longer. It is our duty, as IT security professionals, to respond to cyber threats in a way which protects life, liberty, and justice for all people. Enough is enough.
And this is his Twitter feed’s main image: