Jihadi James Bond gadget: Terror files in cuff links
Hacker Briton plotted for IS online
A DAnGErOUS IS hacker who stored his secrets on a James Bond- style memory stick disguised as a cufflink is facing jail after admitting terror offences.
Samata Ullah wanted to help terrorists plotting ‘devastating’ attacks similar to those carried out in Paris and Belgium by advising them how to avoid detection.
The insurance worker from Cardiff joined a group of online jihadis called the Cyber Caliphate Army which specialises in computer hacking and drawing up ‘kill lists’ of targets including churches, synagogues and airports.
He made online videos teaching extremists about cyber security in which he hid his face, wore gloves and used a voice modification system to hide his Welsh accent.
The 34-year-old became the subject of an international manhunt by British and American security services.
Ullah, who is said to have mixed with Cardiff extremists linked to jailed hate preacher Anjem Choudary, bought 50 pairs of cufflinks containing hidden USB computer memory chips from a Chinese website. He then sold them through eBay. And he used the secure messaging app Telegram to provide
‘We should recruit from defence firms’
other fanatics with advice on encryption and suggested IS should secretly recruit military staff with knowledge about drones.
When police raided his home in South Wales on September 22 last year, officers discovered a large number of media devices including 30 tiny USB drives inside metal cufflinks. One was loaded with a computer operating system concealing extremist data. Officers found a ‘wish-list of skills’ needed for IS, along with the back catalogue of the terror group’s propaganda magazine, Dabiq. He also had a 500-page missile manual entitled ‘Guided Missile Fundamentals’ and another called ‘Advances in Missile Guidance, Control, and Estimation’.
Ullah offered to scan the information on rocket design for those fighting for IS so they could develop similar weapons, saying: ‘Ask the brothers in Turkey and Dawlah [the Arabic name for Islamic State] whether the book would be useful for them.’ He also suggested recruiting staff from defence companies who may be able to pass on information on how to jam Allied drones.
He said: ‘We should also [be] recruiting people from Turkish and Pakistani defence companies as Turkey and Pakistan already have the technology needed to destroy or jam drones and planes – but that takes stealth as you don’t want to approach them saying, “Hi, we are ISIS, do you want to work for us?”’
The autistic loner is said to have spent hours in his bedroom poring over IS material.
After resigning from his job, he filmed videos showing IS members how to use computer software to preserve their anonymity. He also set up a blog entitled Ansar al-Khilafah, which means ‘Call to Islamic State’, offering information about the terror group. It can now be revealed that the security services had been trying to track down Ullah for months. Their breakthrough came in April last year when a terror suspect was arrested in Kenya whose mobile phone revealed encrypted Telegram chats involving Ullah.
Earlier this month Ullah pleaded guilty at the Old Bailey to being a member of IS, preparing acts of terrorism and providing training in encryption programmes. A further charge of directing terrorism for IS by hacking its enemies’ military information was left on file.
Yesterday Scotland Yard Commander Dean Haydon said: ‘Just because Ullah’s activity was in the virtual world, we never underestimated how dangerous his activity was.
‘He sat in his bedroom in Wales and created online content with the sole intention of aiding people who wanted to actively support ISIS and avoid getting caught by the authorities.’
Detective Superintendent Lee Porter, head of the Wales Extremism and Counter Terrorism Unit, said: ‘Ullah’s activities came as a shock for those who knew him, including his family and the local community.’
Ullah will be sentenced on April 28.
Guilty pleas: Welsh insurance worker Ullah bought cufflinks which hid memory chips