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Posted: December 17, 2015

Is ISIS trying to take down the internet?

By Debbie Lord

Cox Media Group National Content Desk

A smartphone app said to be used by  members of ISIS could be the next weapon in the terror group’s arsenal, according to the man who created and sold the first Internet security software.

According to a story from The International Business Times, the app – IS AMaq Agency – is thought to have played a part in a DDoS (distributed denial of service) attack last month that targeted Internet servers.

The attack happened, according to scmagazine, between Nov. 30 to Dec. 1, and included 13 Internet root name servers . Those servers are considered the core infrastructure of the Internet.

The attack jammed servers, and, at its peak,  flooded them with 5 million queries per second.

>>Related: ISIS primer: What is a caliphate?

According to a cybersecurity expert John McAfee, who spoke to the International Times UK, the addresses of the root servers were discovered in the app’s memory.

"I feel certain that the IS news app was the source of the DDoS attack," John McAfee said of the attacks. "One of my researchers has discovered encrypted packets being sent to the Amaq Agency news app.

"We found the 13 root server addresses in the app memory while the app was running. The addresses did not appear inside the static app. The addresses therefore had to be decrypted at run time. Why would they encrypt the addresses inside the app unless they were trying to hide the true purpose of the app? This is the smoking gun we were looking for."

McAfee, who created the first  commercial antivirus program, issued a dire warning to Western countries that the next World War is on the way, it will be fought in cyberspace, and that ISIS will be better prepared than Western countries.

“No one can predict the future. We can make educated guesses or, more prudently, explore the different possibilities and scenarios. And for a scenario of cyber war we are woefully unprepared — one could even say defenceless,” he wrote  in a piece for Internation Business Times.

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“Our arsenal of bullets, bombs, tanks, planes, boats, missiles and our nuclear capabilities are rivalled by few, and likely exceeded by none.

“None of this matters in a cyber war — a fact that could damage us when our weapons and equipment are turned against us using computers.”  

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