Does Hacking Terrorist Websites on 9/11 Help Deter Terrorism?


For the past couple of years, online forums for Islamic extremists have been hacked around 9/11. Would you believe that the U.S. and its allies are thought (and in some cases admit) to be involved? The rationale has always been that September 11 marks a prime opportunity for jihadists to propagandize and recruit. But there’s been disagreement over whether the intelligence lost (now that everyone knows the U.S. is peeking in) is worth shutting down the recruiting holiday. Jihadism scholar Thomas Hegghammer, who also suspects the Western governments are behind the hacks, says the strategy may weigh in the West’s favor. Pervasive paranoia after the annual cyber attacks have weakened online forums as a recruitment platform. So the U.S. can’t spy on jihadists, but there are fewer jihadists to spy on. Is no one worried that they are just recruiting offline and leading with the sentence: Did you know those infidels tried to hack our site?

This Sept. 11, Will Terror Sites Get Hacked Again? [Wired]