Real Terror Cells Inside MMO Virtual Worlds?

March 2, 2007 -
Could that WoW gold farmer be helping fund Al Qaeda? Could a pair of avatars chatting in Second Life be secretly  planning a terrorist attack?

It's an increasingly plausible scenario, according to intelligence expert Roderick Jones, who operates Concentric Solutions International. In an article for the Counterterrorism Blog, Jones writes:
While the makers of Second Life (Linden Labs) pursue an admirable utopian ideal these metaverse systems can potentially also be used by those seeking to pursue a radical agenda... The rapid and potent way in which communication takes place would seem to be an ideal platform for recruitment into radical groups, especially given the age range of those engaged in the world, which is typically 18-34...

Streaming video can be uploaded into Second Life and a scenario can easily be constructed whereby an experienced terrorist bomb-maker could demonstrate how to assemble bombs using his avatar to answer questions as he plays the video... Just as Real Life companies such as Toyota test their products in Second Life so could terrorists construct virtual representations of targets they wish to attack...

By far the most useful tool currently available to radical groups is the ability to transfer in-world money between avatars that can be translated into real currency...

Comments

"Kurisu, a friend of mine on SL had to deal with a couple of idiots that were strongly antifurry. One nearly crashed their favorite hangout while one got the wrong idea of fursuiting and berated the furs in there, though they and myself have no thoughts on fursuiting."

Being anti furry is like being anti gay, pretty much useless.

And to Hannah, that's why I don't use the term "fursecution." I find it childish and moronic. And that five wingwong thing, ew. That wouldn't do nothing form e at all, but, I get your point\, it can be damned weird.

Mail, e-mail, mobiles, chat rooms (and probably pigeons too) are also communication mediums that terrorists can use to organise. So?

Dear God these terrorists could actually COMMUNICATE! That, my friends, is what keeps the pentagon up through sleepless nights.

I think the obvious reason for this news story is to create fear. Let's just talk about free enterprise in general. If it makes money, it can be used to fund any group's agenda. Consider things with modest-to-great return, and the easier, the better. Ebay, Amazon partners, SPAM, rebates, videogame/DVD/CD piracy, and many more legal and illegal methods.

WOW and SL are not special in this regard. This is press to make video gaming, particularly MMOs, look bad.

[...] MMO Terror [...]

[...] MMO Terror [...]

@MDR/Kurisu:

Um... I think most anti-furry folks (on SL or elsewhere) only make fun of furries because they react in such an amusing way. To put it simply, it's very hard to take any group that uses the term "fursecution" seriously. Yeah, I know it's only the minority who freak out to such a large degree, but they're a very vocal minority, and they seem quite common on Second Life. That game seems to amplify every little bit of internet drama, possibly because there isn't much to do there except cyber, gossip, and grief.

And really, the furry fetish IS pretty weird. Doesn't mean it's wrong, just means that the average person isn't going to understand why you're getting turned on by a crudely-animated skunk girl with 5 penises, and yeah, they might make fun of you for it.

I may be misunderstanding how SL works but I think he brings up a valid point on the money laundering. However I have the odd feeling linden labs keeps a pretty intensive watch on money transfers.

[...] MMO Terror [...]

It seems that groups like Tom Clancy's Net Force and William Gibson's Console Cowboys may not be very far off from reality.

P.S. Mr. Clancy, I loved Hunt for Red October, but Patriot Games was very biased, methinks.

yea... i am going to attack the virtual twin towers.... hope my virtual airplane doesn't get deleted by the virtual CIA.

I might as well farm gold in WoW and sell it to fund my virtual terrorist network to do virtual suicide bombing runs on virtual american troops.

LOL ok.. ok.. enough i am laughing to hard it hurts :X

I have to say that yes, this is pretty fear mongering.

Kurisu, a friend of mine on SL had to deal with a couple of idiots that were strongly antifurry. One nearly crashed their favorite hangout while one got the wrong idea of fursuiting and berated the furs in there, though they and myself have no thoughts on fursuiting.

MDR

*GASP* What's this? People interacting freely in an online game!? Allert the internets!

Ok, any way, this is nothing more than fear mongering. People interact on the internet, it's what it was made for. Poeple will use it for good and bad, we just have to accept that. There is no reasion to say "ZOMiGh0d terrorist on teh interwebz!" We'll just have to take the good with the bad. I'm shure any way that if some one saw some "terrorist activity" going on in an online game or what ever, they would tell some one.

Terrorists drink coffee too. I guess all coffee shops are now suspect...
-- If your wiimote goes snicker-snack, check your wrist-strap...

Just for the record, if any FBI or CIA agent is looking to pay folks to play WOW for hours on end looking for terrorists, I'm here to sign up.

At the end of the day, why risk using something like an MMO, which frequently keeps back-ups of all chat logs and in-game creations when you could use a proprietry IRC program to communicate just as effectively?

The thing about 'setting up fake hits' in MMO's is a bet of an extension of reality, quite frankly, Google Earth and a lot of cardboard boxes could do the job far more effectively.

I don't see farming making them all that much money, whilst the Gold trade is a lucrative industry in MMO terms, I think it would be quite hard to make enough to fund anything on a major scale, and, has been mentioned, there are more effective ways out there for laundering money.

Basically, whilst I'll admit it is possible, why would terrorists pay a monthly fee to work using an insecure exchange medium when they can pay nothing and use a more secure one?

-.- I can actually see some idiots going onto furry community pages and going "you're all terrorists!!!"

I just don't see this being true,.

In all seriousness, this is possible. But I don't see how it's any more possible than in many other programs. Hell, you could do something like this in Gary's mod for HL2!!!

"Just imagine these explosive barrels are C4"

I'm gonna hijack a zepllin and fly it into the sunspire.

By the title, I thought this was about planned, organized greifing, haha.

LFG FOR JIHAD.

Seriously, I don't see this happening in WoW but it may be possible in SL. I mean gangs are recruiting in myspace now so its not a far stretch. But in heavily monitored communities such as WoW or other MMOs with corporate backing its highly unlikely that would go unnoticed.

As for farmers funding terrorists, that sounds like crap and we all know it. These companies are made to make money for the owner and thats about it.

Now if you'll excuse me I've gotta go and do bombing runs on the burning legion.

OMG! Terrorists! On the Intertubes! No! It just can't be!

If I was a counter-terrorism expert, I'd be much more worried about phishing and its links to funding terrorism than something like this.

Could the gold farmer be funding Al Qaeda? Quite possibly. In fact, I'm sure there are at least a few gold farmers out there who are right now. However, while the Internet is a great -communication- and -organization- medium for terrorist organizations it's still not a huge source of -fundraising-. It's groups like Russian organized crime and IP/Software Pirates (and here I mean Pirates with a capital 'P', the groups who organize, mass-produced pirated material, and sell it on street-corners or in shops in countries with looser copyright laws, not those-here-who-shall-remain-nameless-with-five-ISOs-torrenting-right-now) that profit from illicit or semi-licit revenue channels.

Actually, I don't see things like Second Life or MMOs being big communications resources, either. Much easier and more secure to setup secure, private forums, e-mail servers, or darknets (all of the above, BTW, have been used in the past by various terrorist groups) than to subject yourself to the possible scrutiny of administrated mediums like MMOs, or easily-hacked, open-source applications like Second Life.

Finally, most terrorist groups (especially the Muslim ones) aren't in desperate need of black market funds. Like the IRA back when Sinn Fein reps could go bar crawling in Southie and raise thousands, it's far easier for them to raise money through intermediary groups passing the hat in Muslim communities in the west, and more generally in the Middle East itself (not to mention the large, anonymous funds transfers from wealthier individuals and governments in the Muslim world). Even after we cracked down on a lot of purported "humanitarian relief" groups here in the US like the Holy Land Fund for Relief and Development (sounds nice, doesn't it? They sent money to Hamas to spring for the explosives for suicide bombers' vests, and to ensure their private militias were kept in fresh ammo), there are still plenty left.

Also, terrorists use pictochat to talk to each other through their DSes.

Wish there was a delete key. Anyhow, this is interesting because it does raise a good point, SL may very well be used to move money through hard to trace channels. Also, this will be very VERY handy for Republicans in upcoming elections since many dems have set up offices in SL, they can connect them with terrorism!

so... what about the "terrorist" posts here that are just crap advertisements, GP? i think MMODump.com and findfastonline.com are probably supporting the bad guys.

[...] Terrorism and the virtual world Here’s a sneak preview of a post that will be published on The Guardian’s gamesblog on Wednesday: GamePolitics throws out an issue I’ve been thinking about for a few years now, but have been loath to blog about - could the humble MMO be harbouring nefarious groups hell-bent on doing Evil to Western Civilisation? Could a terrorist actually be the person behind my so-called friend the Furry? Is s/he/it trying to draw me over to the dark side? What about all those cabals I’m not friendly with in my online games? Could they actually be groups of terrorists plotting against all that is Great and Good? [...]

 
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Matthew Wilsonthere is vertical fov, not just horizontal fov11/27/2014 - 6:38pm
Andrew EisenWell, you can widen it to 3:1 or even 10:1 but I don't know why you'd want to. From what I understand it's the missing visual info at the top and bottom that some object to, not that there isn't enough on either side.11/27/2014 - 6:36pm
Matthew WilsonI think it widenss the fov, so you get to see more.11/27/2014 - 6:31pm
Andrew EisenI don't see how as doing so would not add any visual information to the top or bottom of the screen.11/27/2014 - 6:04pm
Matthew Wilsonfrom what I read, getting rid of the black bars and stretching it out made for a better play experience.11/27/2014 - 5:59pm
Andrew EisenFrom what I hear, there's a ton of "look up and shoot at the guys above you" stuff in the game that the wider frame doesn't accommodate such actions well.11/27/2014 - 5:55pm
Andrew EisenHaving a game run in scope is not necessarily a bad thing but like any aspect ratio, you have to compose your shots correctly.11/27/2014 - 5:55pm
Neo_DrKefkaThe Evil Within was pretty bad and to make it worse the way the screen size made it hard for you to see even on a big screen it really hurt the game. Being Artistic is great but when you focus on art rather than what sells you run the risk of that happen11/27/2014 - 5:33pm
Matthew WilsonI kinda hope this is not true. http://www.nintendolife.com/news/2014/11/nintendo_might_not_be_making_more_gamecube_controller_adapters_at_the_moment11/27/2014 - 1:34pm
Matthew WilsonI saw that. I wish people would stop preording, but sadly that will never happen.11/27/2014 - 1:26pm
Papa MidnightUbisoft has cancelled the Season Pass for Assassin's Creed: Unity (http://www.reddit.com/r/pcmasterrace/comments/2ni2ac/ubisoft_cancel_season_pass_for_ac_unity/)11/27/2014 - 1:08pm
NeenekoBut now I can use the christmas discount justification too,11/27/2014 - 11:46am
NeenekoI am also sorely temped by Civ:BE, mostly because I have a demo coming up and I know my productivity will tank.11/27/2014 - 11:45am
MaskedPixelanteThe Evil Within is only a month old, right? And it's already 66% off...11/27/2014 - 10:29am
MechaCrashI held off on Civ:BE because I am pretty sure it'll get a bigger discount during the Christmas sale.11/26/2014 - 11:09pm
MechaTama31I'm sorely tempted by Civ: BE, but I have to stay strong and remember what it felt like to be repeatedly kicked in the junk by Civ V...11/26/2014 - 10:58pm
MechaCrashNah, just providing more proof that GGers are lying when they claim it's really about ethics in game journalism and not a proxy war against feminism.11/26/2014 - 9:58pm
MaskedPixelanteMSS is Murdered: Soul Suspect.11/26/2014 - 8:34pm
Andrew EisenWhy the interest in Ghomeshi? Is it relevant to something we've been discussing? (Not saying it's not but it seems a rather random thing to bring up.)11/26/2014 - 6:39pm
WonderkarpJian Ghomeshi arrested on sex assault charges, released on $100K bail http://www.citynews.ca/2014/11/26/jian-ghomeshi-arrested-on-sex-assault-charges-released-on-100k-bail/11/26/2014 - 5:55pm
 

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