RIYADH, Saudi Arabia – Al Qaeda has established a firm presence on anywhere between 5,600 and 17,000 Web sites, and could add as many as 9,000 more sites a year unless nations agree on ways to counter the terrorist organization.
That dire picture was presented by Saudi Internet security specialist Khaled Al-Firm, who told the conference on Information Technology and National Security that nations need to do more to combat radicalism and terror, according to the Arab News newspaper.
Al-Firm quoted Saudi Prince Abdul Aziz on the proliferation of Al Qaeda sites, which he warned were bent on finding new recruits and "brainwashing people."
“Terrorists do not just focus on military success. There is a third angle to the operation which is the glory of publicity, which compensates for the failure of the operation,” Al-Firm told the conference.
"The real battle with Al Qaeda is no longer on the ground, but rather a media battle, and it is a real threat to national security," he added.
Al-Firm said it was difficult to track the sites because they often change addresses to avoid detection or restart elsewhere once discovered.
Saudi intelligence launched a public Web site this week asking the public to send information anonymously about any suspicious activity, Reuters reported.
"For Al Qaeda, media coverage is more important than the actual operations," Al-Firm said.