Al Qaeda No Cyber Warrior
In light of yesterday’s news that explosives-laden toner cartridges bound for a Chicago synagogue had “all the hallmarks of Al Qaeda,” here’s one more on the exaggerated cyber war threat from Hersh’s New Yorker piece:
There is surprising unanimity among cyber-security experts on one issue: that the immediate cyber threat does not come from traditional terrorist groups like Al Qaeda, at least, not for the moment. “Terrorist groups are not particularly good now in attacking our computer system,” John Arquilla told me. “They’re not that interested in it—yet. The question is: Do vulnerabilities exist inside America? And, if they do, the terrorists eventually will exploit them.” Arquilla added a disturbing thought: “The terrorists of today rely on cyberspace, and they have to be good at cyber security to protect their operations.” As terrorist groups get better at defense, they may eventually turn to offense.
Yesterdday’s packages originated in Yemen, where American citizens appear to be helping the local branch of Al Qaeda take aim at the United States. Some details of the terror plot come to light.
Photo: The device found attached to a toner cartridge in a package on a U.P.S. cargo plane at East Midlands Airport near Nottingham, England, from the NYTimes slide show on yesterday’s suspicious packages.