Ji­hadi James Bond gad­get: Ter­ror files in cuff links

Hacker Bri­ton plot­ted for IS on­line

Daily Mail - - News - By Re­becca Cam­ber Crime Cor­re­spon­dent

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

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