Al Shabaab is a Somalia based militant organization with strong ties to Al Qaeda. Al Shabaab was the militant wing of the Somali Council of Islamic Courts that seized southern Somalia in late 2006 until 2007. Since then, it has continued to fight in southern and central Somalia, relying on guerilla warfare and terrorist tactics. Al Shabaab is not centralized or monolithic in its agenda or goals. It consists of disparate clans; consequently, it is susceptible to internal strife, clan politics, and brittle alliances. It does not appear interested in a global Cyber Jihad.

The group conducted attacks on Uganda’s capital in 2010, a raid on a Nairobi mall in 2013, and an attack on a Kenyan University in 2015. The group was an early adopter of the internet and shares many of the strategies as Al Qaeda; although, it is definitively less sophisticated. The group predominantly uses the internet in a limited capacity to disseminate propaganda, to recruit from external Somalian communities, and to sporadically antagonize its opposition on platforms like Twitter. Occasionally, the group posts online videos and recruitment material in English, Somali, and Arabic. Al Shabaab has also limited its capabilities by restricting use of the internet in the regions that it controls, such as in January 2014, when it banned mobile internet use and fiber optic connections in its operating region. Overall, Al Shabaab’s disjointed internet strategy and lack of technical proficiency prevents it from posing a real threat in cyberspace.

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