A hacker going by the name MuslimLeets (aka Muj4hida) conducted targeted cyberattacks against the American Human Rights Council (AHRC) and 62 other websites, affecting businesses including those run by doctors, lawyers, real estate firms and more. The websites were defaced with messages calling for jihad.
AHRC executive director Imad Hamad confirmed the hack in post on the organisations' website, adding that hacker had somehow gained access to their servers. The site's webhost Novocam as well as law enforcement authorities are currently investigating the attacks.
Novocam founder Mohammad Abdulaziz also confirmed that the hack originated from AHRC and then spread to dozens of other sites on the same server, Detroit News reported.
"We must be doing something right to be targeted by extremist groups," said Hamad. "That shows that these people have no tolerance; actually they have hate to the culture of human rights and human dignity. We're alarmed by it, but we're not intimidated, and we won't surrender to their tactics, which is to spread fear; and make us think even though we are in America, we're not safe, and they can get to us. We're determined to keep moving forward to fight against this kind of hateful thinking."
Among those sites affected were those belonging to two local Arab-Muslim organisations the - American Muslim Leadership Council (AMLC) and the Arab and Muslim American Political Action Committee (AAPAC).Both sites were completely shut down as a result of the hack.
Grammatically poor messages left by hacker
The hacker left messages on each of the websites, written in grammatically poor English, which read: "This message for Muslims peoples!" "Our brothers in Syria & Palestine & Iraq & Burma & Chichan & Ifriquia & asia are dying Stop follow and imitate western people in Wrong culture And forget about your religion. This message is for The governments of all worlds! I do not admit to the Wrong law. My law is quran. We are going back. Asalamu Alaikum."
Most sophisticated attack so far
Novocom founder said that the firm regularly defends itself against hackers attempting to infiltrate their systems. However, this specific incident was one of the most complex to be mounted against the firm. "There are attempts once a week or so to hack our server, but this is by far the most sophisticated hack we've seen," he said. "I have seven network (administrators) trying to figure out what the source is."
According to a report by Softpedia, Muj4hida allegedly conducted a two-day hacking spree between 14 and 16 September, targeting a total of 63 websites.
Despite the attack, AHRC is determined to move forward. "We are surprised that we were attacked by these hackers. However, this attack does not intimidate us at all. If you work for promotion of human rights, it is natural that you would be hated and attacked by radical terrorists who hate human rights and the advocates of human rights," said Hamad.
Novocam said the messages have already been taken down. Abdulaziz said. "We're just going to destroy the old server," he said. "All these websites have a backup, which will be restored in the next few hours."