Bahrun Naim’s Hacking Manifesto: How A Historical Model of Cyber Threat Mischaracterization Helps Us Diffuse a Dead Cyberterrorist Influencer


  • Tim Pappa National Intelligence University



Bahrun Naim, Cyberterrorism, Islamic State, Cyber behavioral analysis, Signaling theory


The late Bahrun Naim is generally considered one of the most recognizable names of historical Indonesian cyber terrorist actors, where he continues to be characterized as a “computer guru” and hacker who supported Indonesian extremist and Islamic State hacking.  This paper is the first reexamination of Naim’s lengthy e-book manifesto chapters on hacking, finding that most of the tutorial demonstrations on hacking tools readers might believe Naim performed were screen shots of other online content that Naim appeared to have plagiarized.  This practitioner’s paper suggests that Naim is a historical model of cyber threat mischaracterization, questioning who Naim was signaling with his hacking manifesto and why so many audiences including cyber threat analysts may have been influenced by reports on him.  This paper evaluates Naim’s native and researched technical knowledge based on his manifesto, suggesting the perception of Naim’s native technical knowledge may have been embellished.  This paper offers a conceptual interdisciplinary model for practitioners and researchers evaluating cyberterrorists’ technical pedigrees and social environments.  This model can also be applied to countering the range of cyber warfare including narrative warfare conducted by cyberterrorists, often revealing shortcomings in the mythos of cyberterrorists’ influence and technical skills.