Cyber-Attacks: ISIL’s New Deadly Weapon

Cyber-Attacks: ISIL’s New Deadly Weapon


“A century ago, armies discovered that technology could be the key to victory. Since then there has been a steady stream of new weapons, new technologies, and new ways to attack. Perhaps it is best to see the Internet and cyber-attack as the latest in a long line of technologies that have changed warfare and provided new military capabilities. We have only begun to explore the uses of this new capability, and as the world becomes more dependent on networks and computer technology, the value and effect of cyber-attack will grow”

James Andrew Lewis

This is the new warfare ISIL is launching; cyber attacks warfare. This is the new guerilla tactics this terror group is using to spread its dark ideology.

ISIL hackers disabled one of Morocco’s electronic media outlets, namely, and made it crystal clear that they are targeting all websites they believe are not following their understanding of Sharia. This is dangerous.

This bold move proves that they are going beyond classical warfare tactics to destroy what has been fought for decades. They have realized that winning a war will not be only by military arsenal but they are using every available tool.

Now that they hacked to this electronic media outlet, it is just a matter of time before they hacked into any other site and disable it. It is indeed the 21st Century’s warfare.

My question here is whether the Moroccan authorities are fully aware of their tactics as they always claim to be in control of any situation. If so, what are the measures they have put in place to tackle such electronic attacks? This can go further and affect other sensitive institutions, knowing that there is no effective system that can prevent hackers from disabling any site, including governmental ones.

The air strikes will not solve the problem and extract this terror group from the face of the earth. The problem is much more complicated that many have been anticipating. They have been planning their moves for many years before executing them. They have the money and the work force to seem more like a well-organized entity. The issue of ISIL is rooting itself within societies due to many factors, and let us not forget that governments’ political, economic and social policies had, and still have, a lot to do with how things are getting way out of hand and began affecting the lives of ordinary citizens and civic societies more than ever before.

I truly wonder if Morocco, as a government, along with big companies and corporations and other electronic outlets, including media and news websites, have a strategy to protect themselves against any possible attacks! Many nations have been victims of cyber-attacks, and even the Pentagon system was hacked by Chinese hackers, so there is, technically, no immunity against those ghostly militants. When you face your enemy, you know how to fight him, but when you have an invisible opponent, the problem becomes a little complicated as no one can predict his next move and the damage he might cause.

I would suggest that the government takes this matter very seriously, and also all those concerned about their data and websites to rush and implement certain security measures to prevent such a cyber-attack. I am not a computer expert or cyber security analyst, but I read somewhere that there are certain measures, they might be costly, but effective. Those measures can be, according to a U.S. cyber security expert Mr. Marc Ambinder:

1- Build an electronic wall around the country, forcing all Internet traffic to be subject to deep packet inspection; and then, to compare those packets against known signatures from these jihadists or any other hackers; segregate them; eradicate the malware from them, and then let them through.

2- Requiring, or encouraging, major technology companies that serve as Internet gateways for most Moroccans to boost their own cyber defenses, and then share, with immunity, suspected cyber threats with the government in real-time, allowing the government agencies to swoop in and solve the problem.

3- Fight back, engaging in tit-for-tat  brinksmanship, hoping to convince hackers to back off by demonstrating the capacity of the government computer network operations.

4- Provide significant incentives for individuals and corporations to protect themselves, allowing free market mechanisms to determine the structure and rules of economy-wide computer network defense. For this approach to be effective, there has to be a broad understanding of what the threat is, what can and cannot be done about it, and informal rules to shame/encourage those who do not and do participate.

I am pretty sure that Morocco is not powerless, and has all it takes to fight back those terrorists and enact new laws to protect Moroccans against a possible cyber-attack, and those measures mentioned above can become the de facto law of the country.

Whether the government and people accept those laws and fully comprehend the threat this poses on their daily lives, that would be a totally another subject.

One thing for sure, this is just the beginning of a long and tiring war against this group, and every tool and weapon has to be considered to fight those radicals and protect our civil liberties and what we have long fought for.

Morocco belongs to all Moroccans, Morocco is a multi-layered society, Morocco is a land of tolerance, and we shall never permit any person to destroy our heritage and history. Moroccans live in peace, something many nations only dream of, and we shall not allow anyone to take that away from us. We all have a big responsibility towards the country. These terrorists made it clear that this is just the beginning, so let us all put our efforts together to halt them and fight them with all we can. Every Moroccan can contribute to the security of his country, and let us not always rely on others to take care of our daily lives; we dictate how we want to live, so let us make our voices heard.

God bless Morocco, and God bless all Moroccans… Amen!

Mourad Beni-ich
Mr.Mourad Beni-ich is a Political, Intelligence & Strategic Analyst based in Washington, DC.

[symple_box color=”blue” text_align=”left” width=”100%” float=”none”]Mr. Beni-ich holds a BA in Law, a BA in Political Sciences, a MA in Security and Intelligence Analyses, a MA in Global Terrorism and a PhD in International Politics. His studies were pursued in England and the U.S.

Mr. Beni-ich began his career as a lawyer working for the British Home Office (The Ministry of Interior) as well as The British Foreign Office. Mr.Beni-ich gave many lectures in the United States regarding the current affairs in the MENA region, both in universities and organizations. Mr. Beni-ich is currently based in Washington, DC where he lobbies for the Moroccan affairs and coordinates with many U.S. officials and Think-Tanks to promote Morocco’s interests, both in the United States and Morocco.