British Intelligence at its comedic best :)


Many of my readers will remember the fuss that was made when a company hosting WordPress was closed by its ISP. The host company claimed that it had been ordered by the FBI to pull the site. Anyway, that was not true, but the host company was pulling a bit of a fast one on the other company. The blogs that were affected (including one that I had been running) were restored. What you might not have known is the reason that the FBI wanted certain information. The people who were putting the Al Qaeda affiliate online magazine “Inspire” had set up their blog on that WordPress host site.  They were only interested in that one “customer” but the host company had pulled the whole lot, which was more than 70,000 blogs.

This story is actually related to the Al Qaeda online magazine “Inspire” and I must admit that after reading the first few sentences I could not help but smile over what British Intelligence had pulled :):

The officers, understood to be based at Government Communications Headquarters (GCHQ) in Cheltenham, attacked an online jihadist magazine in English called Inspire, devised by supporters of al-Qaida in the Arabian Peninsula.

A pdf file containing fairy cake recipes was inserted into Inspire to garble most of the 67 pages of the online magazine, including instructions on how to “Make a Bomb in the Kitchen of Your Mom”.

The sabotage took place a year ago, following a dispute between agencies in the US about who should take on the role of attacking the Inspire website.

Publicising the achievement amounted to little more than a propaganda exercise – “just to let them know”, as one British official put it on Thursday.

The head of the US Cyber Command, General Keith Alexander, said blocking the magazine was a legitimate counter-terrorism target and would help protect American troops overseas, according to the Washington Post.

I am impressed, that they actually thought to use cupcake recipes for bomb-making 🙂

There is in fact more to the story than just the tale of how they attempted to scramble “Inspire”. There is a growing issue with cyber-security and cyber attacks. In fact Lockheed had only recently announced that it had been the victim of cyber-warfare.

The response to any cyber attack in the future will not be pretty:

Lieutenant General Rhett Hernandez, head of the US army’s cyber command, told a land warfare conference in London on Thursday, organised by the Royal United Services Institute, that a “world-class cyber warrior force” was being built up.

US state department co-ordinator for cyber issues, Christopher Painter, said on Wednesday that America faced potential threats in cyberspace from freelance hackers, militants and potentially rival states.

Diplomacy and policy were only just beginning to catch up with technology, he said. “Cyber-security is now a policy imperative,” he told Reuters news agency.

Earlier this week, his employer, the US department of defence, announced it was rewriting its military rule book to make cyber-attacks a possible act of war.

A US official was quoted as saying: “If you shut down our power grid, maybe we will put a missile down one of your smokestacks.”

British and US defence and security officials made plain on Thursday that the central problem was how to identify cyber-attackers.

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