So what exactly is a ‘cyber-jihadi’ anyway?

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If you caught this article on the Drudge Report or another online forum, it’s likely you were drawn in by the headline “London court jails ‘cyber-jihadis’ for online terror.”

I’m left wondering exactly what a ‘cyber-jihadi’ is, but I’m hoping terrorist groups aren’t handing out security certifications or running hacking boot camps.

The three men who were jailed in the United Kingdom, Tariq Al-Daour, Younes Tsouli and Waseem Mughal, were each sentenced to at least six and a half years in prison for encouraging others to commit acts of violence, although Woolwich Crown Court Judge Charles Openshaw said the men had not carried out acts of violence themselves.

So were the members of this group actually cyberterrorists, or cyber-jihadis? Well, it depends what the meaning of the word ‘cyberterrorist’ is. If that’s defined by hacking into critical infrastructure or military networks to wreak havoc, then no. But if it means using the web as a propaganda tool to encourage acts of violence against government or military personnel or civilians, then yes.

And let’s not forget that this trio did consume the time of intelligence personnel who are trying to sort out the real terrorists from the wannabes on the web.

While it’s debatable whether the group was made up of cyberterrorists or just cyberpropagandists, the arrested men were criminals. Al-Daour, Tsouli and Mughal all pleaded guilty to a 1.8 million pound - that’s US$3.6 million - conspiracy to defraud banks and other financial firms, according to wire reports.
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