An Analysis of the Technical Mujahid – Issue Two

Good afternoon everyone, shall we enjoy some fried cyber jihadists for lunch? I’d say let’s go for it. After analyzing issue one of the Technical Mujahid couple of months ago, the post continues to be among the most popular ones at this blog, and best of all – I’ve virtually met with people whose knowledge intimacy I’d never ruin by physically meeting with them. In a globalized world, OSINT is your early warning system and a tool for establishing social responsibility as a citizen of world, and I’m still sticking to my old saying that an OSINT conducted – a tax payer’s buck saved somewhere.

During March, 2007, the Al Fajr Information Center released the second issue of the Technical Mujahid E-zine (72 pages), a definite proof of their commitment towards educating the prone to brainwashing and radicalization wannabe jihadists. What has improved? Have the topics shifted from the general IT ones to start covering conventional weaponry discussions? Disturbingly yes. Whereas the topics still largely remain IT related, much more PSYOPS and discussion on weapons systems such as MANPADS- is included in the second issue. The myth of terrorists and jihadists using steganography is “thankfully” coming out of the dark despite how uncomfortable you may feel about it, from a strategic point of view, the low lifes are putting more efforts into educating the average jihadist on how to generate noise, so that the real conversation can continue with wannabe jihadists getting caught, and the true master minds remaining safe.
Case in point – the first issue of the magazine was covered by the several sources who seem to be aware of the forums where the real discussion and announcements are going, but the release of the second issue wasn’t that well covered in comparison to their previous coverages. But how come? Is someone interested in getting a higher proportion of the upcoming departamental budget allocation with stories like we need petabytes of disk space and CPU on demand to analyze the ongoing conversations, or is the average citizen feeling more secure not knowing how aware both cyber and real life jihadists are? A picture is sometimes worth a thousand fears. Let’s discuss the second issue of the Technical Mujahid by starting with the key summary points :

Key summary points :
– The second issue of the magazine is diversifying its content to include conventional weaponry articles, especially the nasty MANPADS
– Propaganda is largely increasing, thanks to automated translation software and keywords density analysis
– With articles such as the ABC of running and operating a Jihadist site online, the authors of the magazine are aiming to generate even more noise
– There’s a very experienced team of multimedia/creative designers applying professional layouts to the magazine and the articles

01. Article One – An Overview of Steganography and Covert Communications

Article one is continuation from the discussion opened in the first issue on the basics of steganography and encryption. Rich on visual material as always, it covers a surprising number of steganographic techniques starting from watermarking, and also commenting on the process of steganalysis and how degrading the quality of an image let’s say, is a major trade-off compared to encryption for instance. The article also includes a comparison of colors histogram of an original image and a steganographic one to showcase the trade-off. What makes an impression is the evolving editorial and DIY tutorials with definitions of technical terms at the end of each article and their Arabic translation..

Key terms from article one :

Steganography (Steganos graphy); Steganalysis; Morse Code; Digital Signal and Image Processing; Watermarking; LSB (Least Significant Bit); MSB (Most Significant Bit); Histogram (Frequency distribution of RGB); One Way Encryption; Discrete Cosine Transform (Coefficients); Enhanced LSB Layers Analysis.

Moreover, an exampe is given where Islamic military communications in Iraq are hidden in a 100×50 pixel picture. Feeling uncomfortable with the idea of jihadists using steganography for communications? So do I, but keeping it realistic instead of denying the reality is even worse than actually admitting it. Something else is important to understand as well, and that’s to overall lack of situational awareness of the average citizen in any contrying, still living in the stereotype of bunch of folks making plans on the sand in a distant cave somewhere in the mountains. Your desire to remain what you are is what limits you.

It also worth discussing why are they including English-to-Arabic translations of technical terms, and I think the main goal is to provoke readers to start searching the Arabic web for related articles, perhaps a good moment to break the stereotype a mention that online jihadi communities is where visitors convert to talkers, and later on doers.

02. Article Two – Creating a Jihadist’s Site for Newbies

In order for jihadists to generate more noise and build a loyal army of believers, the authors have taken the time and effort to explain the basics of web design, web hosting, and various other issues related to building a jihadists site from scratch. In times of “war on ideologies”, the bigger the community, the higher chance for possible recruitment.

03. Article Three – An Overview of Short Range Shoulder-Fired Missiles

From ITsecurity to conventional weaponry articles, the shift is very interesting one, especially the in-depth knowledge on various systems and the countermeasures aircraft have against MANPADS. What’s worth mentioning is the PSYOPS motive of jihadist’s sandal on the top of a scrap from an obviously taken down helicopter. The articles concludes with detailed technical specifications of MANpads and by highlighting the dominance of the Russian IGLA system.

Key terms from article three :

Infrared (wavelength greater than 0.7 micron); Ultraviolet (UV: wavelength less than 0.4 micron); Infrared seeker head; IFF (Identification Friend or Foe) antenna; Digital signal processing (DSP); Counter-Countermeasures(CCM); Directed infrared countermeasures [DIRCM]; Sensor- Mercury Cadmium Telluride (HgCdTe) 1- 24mm; Sensor- Indium Antimonide (InSb) 1-5.5mm

04. Article Four – Basics and Importance of Encryption
Even wondered how Alice and Bob talk exchange keys in Arabic? This article explains in detail the basics and importance of encryption, and compared to issue one of the technical mujahid which was recommending PGP, the author is now recommending the Mujahideen Secrets encryption tool.

05. Article Five – Basics of Video Recording and Subtitling Clips
Wonder how did the whole jihadist multimedia revolution start? As it seems, there’s a team of “reporters” attached to militant groups to take recordings of the battles and later one include propaganda background music and subtitle them to acheive an even more influential effect on their audience.

Dear wannabe jihadists – if your definition of existence consists in your futile attempt to achieve a knowledge-driven jihadist community in the form of generating noise with armies of religiously brainwashed soldiers, you face extinction it’s that very simple.

Author: Dancho Danchev

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *