So it is probably no wonder then that decision-makers within the Gulf Cooperation Council have recently expressed interest in building their own electronic army, a digital forensics expert confirmed to Al Arabiya English.
While the initiative is presently just on paper, Dr Abdulrazaq Al-Morjan, from Saudi Arabia, is saying the fight against extremists, like ISIS, needs to move from the battleground toward the virtual world, where many militants have found an unguarded place in recent years to recruit young fighters and spread their propaganda.
“We need to establish a Gulf electronic army that will move to fight against terrorists and ideological extremists who find sympathizers online. While (governments) know these are cybercrimes taking place, most of these social media accounts have been originating outside our countries, so out of our control,” Morjan told Al Arabiya English.
The statistics surrounding ISIS’ sophisticated use of the internet in recruiting members and spreading its extremist ideologies re enforce the urgent need for establishing a virtual army.
From 2013 to 2015, ISIS established a presence in at least 19 countries and were able to recruit 30,000 fighters from outside their territories in Iraq and Syria. Later reports have suggested the numbers significantly increased since then.
But digital forensic experts, among them Morjan, say an electronic army, of sorts, is only one tool and should not be an end-goal. He suggests a civilian, not military, infrastructure be established, that would lead a so-called electronic army one day.
“Security is everybody’s responsibility. What I am proposing is a framework toward establishing a system where societies, especially in the Gulf, can actively participate in fighting terrorists’ groups online,” he said.
“So this will include preventative measures by observing trending hashtags that promote violence and terror but more importantly to raise awareness toward targeted audiences, and getting to them before ISIS reaches and brainwashes them,” Morjan explained to Al Arabiya News Channel.
So far, Saudi Arabia has been some efforts of sorts through the the Sakinah Campaign, a non-governmental program working closely with the Ministry of Islamic Affairs where qualified scholars are hired to enter online chat rooms to hold discussions with users on Islam and the dangers of extremist ideas.
A chief distinction, Morjan warns, is nothing similar to Israel’s Hasbara campaign, which refers to the active public relations efforts to disseminate positive propaganda abroad about Israel and its actions. Nor is he saying that a Gulf electronic army will mirror Iran’s Cyber Army, which Al Arabiya has reported on its aims in hiring Iranian hackers in order to cyber-attack other countries, including Saudi Arabia in the past.
“What I’m specifically proposing is the creation of an army that is proactive, instead of reactive, in countering cyber terrorism that targets all countries in the Gulf. The Saudi Sakina campaign conducted a study and found that 30 percent of Saudis who joined Daesh (ISIS) were recruited on social media,” he said.
“In order for this to happen, my proposal focuses on the need for governments to work with social media companies because we are struggling right now to enhance our cooperation with Twitter and Facebook in helping them monitor dangerous and extremist content online,” Morjan added.
Iran Briefing | News Press Focus on Human Rights Violation by IRGC, Iran Human Rights
Apr 11, 2017 Comments Off on Iran: New Valfajr Torpedo Launched from Ghadir Submarine
Apr 05, 2017 Comments Off on The Involvement of the Revolutionary Guards in Iranian Infrastructure and Development Projects
Mar 31, 2017 Comments Off on The surprising rise of the head of Iran’s most influential charity
Mar 22, 2017 Comments Off on In Dealing With Iran, Start With The IRGC
Apr 25, 2017 Comments Off on Iran’s Nuclear Weapons Program: On Course, Underground, Uninspected
Apr 24, 2017 Comments Off on Iran, Russia Boost Military Ties Amid U.S. Action in Syria
Apr 22, 2017 Comments Off on Iran bars Mahmoud Ahmadinejad from running for president
Apr 20, 2017 Comments Off on Iran Guards member begins work as Iraq ambassador
Apr 24, 2017 Comments Off on Iran, Russia Boost Military Ties Amid U.S. Action in SyriaIran, Russia Boost Military Ties Amid U.S. Action in Syria Iran and Russia are moving closer together in their military alliance, working to boost ties and coordination in Syria and elsewhere in the region following the...
Apr 22, 2017 Comments Off on Iran bars Mahmoud Ahmadinejad from running for presidentIran bars Mahmoud Ahmadinejad from running for president When Mahmoud Ahmadinejad put his hat into Iran’s presidential ring a couple of weeks ago, onlookers literally gasped. The hard-liner had, of course,...
Jul 14, 2016 Comments Off on Corps’ one hundred thousand of triggered missiles in Lebanon:An official Israel-threatening by CorpsIran Briefing: Since August 7, 1979, when Ayatollah Khomeini declared the last Friday of Ramadhan as “Quds Day”, the Islamic Republic has always tried to hold an imposing ceremony by using state resources as well as requiring people’s involvement. This year’s Quds march had fundamental...