July 09, 2014

Tunisian Hackers Announce Cyber Jihad Against US Banks, Airport Computer Systems

EXCLUSIVE: By: Anthony Kimery, Editor-in-Chief 07/04/2014 (10:44am)

Beginning July 5, The Tunisian Hackers Team (THT), a group of Tunisian hackers known for its 2013 attempts to attack US banks, including Bancorp, announced via social media that it intends to launch a cyber attack on US banks and airport computer systems during the coming week, according to the Middle East Media Research Institute’s (MEMRI) Cyber Jihad and Lab Project.

MEMRI's cyber lab constantly monitors the activity of online jihadi and hactivists groups from the Middle East and South Asia.

MEMRI said, “In a video posted on the Internet on April 12, the Tunisian Hackers Team threatened to attack the US financial sector and air traffic control in July unless US forces are withdrawn from Muslim lands. In an address to President Barack Obama, the Department of Homeland Security [DHS], the FBI and the CIA, the group claimed to have carried out cyber attacks in September 2013 and to have hacked into the Bancorp bank.”

“We first heard of The Tunisian Hackers Team in April when they announced in a video message directed to the U. government that the week of July 4th they would begin cyber attacks on US banks,” Homeland Security Today was told by MEMRI Executive Director Steven Stalinsky.

“These threats and the group itself are reminiscent of the Qassem Cyber Brigades,” Stalinsky said. “It's unclear how strong the THT's capabilities really are -- but their warning that they will be working to gain control of American airport computer and communication systems should be taken seriously by homeland security officials. These types of threats by Middle East and South Asia cybergroups are the new norm and will only be increasing in the future.”


MEMRI’s upcoming report on THT includes a transcript of a video the group released in April announcing what it calls the "Week of Horror;” posts from its Twitter and Pastebin accounts listing websites it has hacked; and similar threats posted to its Facebook page.

THT stated that its goal is to remove the US military from its "beloved lands of Muhammad."

In the group’s April video address to Obama, DHS, FBI and CIA in which it threatened attacks on US banks this month, a digital voice said: "Dear President of the United States, dear Department of Homeland Security, dear FBI administration in Washington, dear Central Intelligence Agency – this is the Tunisian Hackers Team."

"We warned you a few months ago, in Operation USA, released by our team, that if you keep ignoring us, we will carry out Operation Week of Horror in July 2014," the group continued, adding. "We promise that it will be more painful than a secret attack by Tunisian Hackers Team members in September 2013 against your financial sector. Today, the first Bancorp Bank has been hacked, and more than 12,000 users are in danger, and more … So we repeat it again: If you don't declare that you will remove your army from our beloved lands of Muhammad, we will increase the level of our operation. We will attack not only your financial sector, but next time, there will be an attack on your airness [sic]. We will work on gaining control of your airports' computers -- and you know very well that we can do this -- and of the electronic sector.”

"So we will give you more and more time to think,” the group said, “and reply to us on Twitter via @XhckerTN, or else we will realize our plan. Expect us. We are the cyber boss. We are the Tunisian Hackers Team."

According to the MEMRI Cyber Jihad and Lab Project, “The Tunisian Hackers Team Twitter account, @XhckerTN, mentioned in its April video and on its YouTube page, has, as of July 2, 2014, 575 followers and 1,487 tweets. The group has tweeted numerous times about the ‘Week of Horror’ and about its their ability to hack into US government and other sites, such as the Atmospheric Radiation Measurement (ARM) Climate Research Facility, Homeland Guantanamo, and the State Department.”

The group’s Pastebin account lists previous cyber attacks worldwide, including against the US government.

“The group's Pastebin account has, as of July 2, 2014, 30 pastes, 7,705 Pastebin hits and 20,526 total pastes hits,” MEMRI reported. According to this account, it has targeted several US sites within the past three months, among them the Department of Agriculture and the Central Bureau of Statistics. They list a link to ‘12 Websites of the US government defaced,’ most of them state government sites, including those of Roslyn, NY and Riverdale, NJ.”

On its Pastebin account, THT posted its targets for its so-called “Week of Horror” cyber attacks, including its schedule for the attacks the group said  would begin July 5: Day 1, Whitney Bank; Day 2, Union Bank; Day 3, Zions Bank; Day 4, New York Community Bank; Day 5, TCF Bank; Day 6, Prosperity Bank; Day 7, Banner Bank.

According to MEMRI’s Cyber Jihad and Lab Project, the group's official Facebook page, which, as of July 2 had 1,765 likes and was created April 10, 2013, posts reiterated threats against the US to be carried out during the "Week of Horror.”

On its Pastebin account, THT has posted its targets for the Week of Horror, along with its schedule for the attacks beginning July 5: Day 1, Whitney Bank; Day 2, Union Bank; Day 3, Zions Bank; Day 4, New York Community Bank; Day 5, TCF Bank; Day 6, Prosperity Bank; Day 7, Banner Bank.

The group's official Facebook page, which, as of July 2, 2014, has 1,765 likes, was created April 10, 2013. The posts on the page reiterate threats against the US to be carried out during the "Week of Horror."
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