Hacking and stealing money for terrorismJanuary 8, 2013
Indonesian jihadists update financial strategy
The Jakarata Globe has published a good article (excerpt below) reviewing developments in terrorism in Indonesia over the past year, including an examination of “Santoso”—a high-profile terrorist. It was Santoso operatives who committed a cyber-attack against a foreign currency exchange website to make nearly a million dollars:
As the Bali bombing trials illustrated, many Muslim fundamentalists believe that theft for jihad is permissible under Islamic law. This hacking case also demonstrates another facet of ongoing economic cyber warfare against “infidel” banks and stock markets.
Despite lacking in striking capabilities, police discovered in June that terrorism groups might have turned to a more sophisticated method to gather funds. The finding was made after Densus 88 arrested Rizki Gunawan, who is suspected of having made Rp 8 billion ($830,000) as a result of online hacking.
A Densus 88 source said that Rizki’s hacking work had funded the bombing of a church in Solo, in September. The source also said that Rizki had taken part in paramilitary training in Central Sulawesi in January and February last year under the leadership of Santoso, who is still on the run.
During the bombing of several churches in 2000 and the first Bali bombing in 2002, funding came directly from international terror group Al-Qaeda. After the funding stopped, terrorism cells resorted to donations from their own members and sympathizers.
But the 2002 Law on Terrorism, and later the 2010 Money Laundering Law, makes this method almost impossible, prompting many terrorism cells to conduct theft and robbery to finance their attacks.
Saud said the new funding methods were devised by Santoso, who came up with the strategy after realizing that Rizki and his protege, Cahya, were IT experts. The pair decided to hack a foreign exchange trading website.
Cahya was arrested in March for financing the Solo church bombing as well as channeling money to terrorism suspect Umar Patek, who was sentenced this year to 20 years for his role in the 2002 Bali bombing.
Santoso seems to be this year’s Most Wanted Terrorist, with nearly all terrorism attacks — successful and foiled — having had some form of his alleged involvement…