Government warns of online jihad


The threat of an online jihad is a "clear and proven" one, according to the Government's minister of state for security.

Pauline Neville Jones told delegates at a Wilton Park conference said the internet offered Al Qaeda-linked radicals a place to link up with like-minded people and gather resources.

"Not only do terrorists use the internet for propaganda, providing supposed Qu'ranic justifications for their activities and commentaries to persuade others of their view, they also use it to share information about weaponry, armaments and training, as well as approaches to the taking of hostages, kidnapping and assassination," she said.

"As terrorists diversify their techniques and shift geographically, the range of tools available to them widens and opportunities for differing forms of terrorism, including cyber-attack increase."

She also pointed to the stabbing of MP Stephen Timms, for which 21-year-old student Roshonara Choudhry was jailed for life.

Choudhry appeared to have acted alone without links to any extremist groups, Baroness Neville Jones said, and such "lone wolf" attacks have been supported by the internet elsewhere.

"It has been suggested that she self-radicalised' after watching hours of extremist videos," she added.

Inspire magazine, which featured in an IT PRO investigation into terrorists and their use of technology, has given advice on how to carry out attacks, Baroness Neville Jones warned.

"This points to a possible future increase in smaller scale attacks which are, however, exceptionally difficult to predict or disrupt and which can destabilise public confidence in precisely the way their perpetrators intended," she added.

Inspire is a web-distributed publication aimed at potential jihadis, although written in English. This magazine's aim is to disseminate Al Qaeda's message to Western-based Muslims and subsequently recruit them.

The Government has increasingly warned of online threats, hence why it pledged to invest 650 million into national cyber security.

Tom Brewster

Tom Brewster is currently an associate editor at Forbes and an award-winning journalist who covers cyber security, surveillance, and privacy. Starting his career at ITPro as a staff writer and working up to a senior staff writer role, Tom has been covering the tech industry for more than ten years and is considered one of the leading journalists in his specialism.

He is a proud alum of the University of Sheffield where he secured an undergraduate degree in English Literature before undertaking a certification from General Assembly in web development.