Information Warfare: Misjudging the Islamic Terrorist Threat

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December3, 2006: In the United States, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) recently issued a warning that Islamic terrorists were planning an Internet based attack on American financial companies. This turned out to be much ado about nothing. Some jihadis were blowing smoke on a wannabe web site, and DHS believed it was necessary to cover their butts by issuing an alert. Wall Street has more to worry about from Russian gangs, who do use DDOS (Distributed Denial of Service attacks) for extortion, and clever hacking to seek out valuable data. No gangster is going to rent his botnet to some Islamic yahoos, and bring Delta Force down on themselves. Islamic terrorists have demonstrated a very low level of Internet skills. Breathless news articles about what Islamic terrorists are actually doing on the Internet, indicates that the jihadists have achieved skill levels commonly found among junior high school level hackers in the West. While there is certainly potential for Islamic terrorists to become dangerous on the net, that potential is very slow in developing. Crying wolf like this will eventually backfire when some jihadis do get their cyber-act together and carry out an attack with some teeth.

 


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