Al Qaeda Hacked, Crippling Web Communications: NBC News

06/29/2011 05:54 pm ET | Updated Aug 29, 2011

WASHINGTON — A key jihadist Internet forum has been knocked off the Internet, and counterterrorism experts say it appears it was hacked.

Cybersecurity analysts say the al-Shamukh forum appears to have been taken down by a fairly sophisticated cyberattack that hit not only the website, but the server – which is the main computer that enables people to access the site over the Internet.

Evan Kohlmann, a counterterrorism expert who tracks jihadist websites for Flashpoint Partners consultancy in New York, described the site as a key al-Qaida propaganda forum.

He said it bounces around between Internet hosts every few months but has seemingly been allowed to exist as an open secret, possibly allowing a Western government to use it as an intelligence resource.

NBC News first reported the site was hacked.

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