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back to article Britain mounted secret 2010 cyberwarfare attack on al-Q

British intelligence corrupted the debut issue of a glossy Jihadist magazine last year, creating confusion in the ranks of would-be mujahideen who tried to download a PDF copy of Inspire in the process, the Washington Post reports. Inspire, billing itself as the first al-Qaida literature in the English language, and offering …

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Silver badge
WTF?

Pot meet kettle

These would be the terrorists who might mount a cyber-attack on us? So we need draconian new laws to remove internet freedom and so protect us from this terrible threat to our freedom?

I wonder where those terrorists got the idea from?

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Anonymous Coward

So we use illigal tactics to surpress the views of a middle eastern country

and then wonder why they hate us.

Had we (Europe) just kept to ourselves and not attempted to force our views onto other people (e.g. the Crusades) the world would be a much happier place...Would also be happier had we not sold them the weapons and ammo they use in the first place too.

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Joke

wonder why they hate us?

thet hate us for our freedom!

thats why the govt is trying so hard to stamp it out.

Simples

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Country?

AQ is not a country it's a Terrorist Organization which proliferates across various international boundaries.

It contained information on homemade bombs - corrupting their text was barely more than cheeky gesture.

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FAIL

Warped view of history

The first Crusades were kicked off as a defensive action aginst aggressive Muslim expansion - IE Muslim armies invaded, fought and conquered previously Christian territories. So it wasn't really an act of imposing 'our views' onto the middle east, was it?

It could also be argued that there is a difference in trying to silence an opinion/voice - which obviously should not be done - against silencing a voice actively inspiring violence [in the name of religion *again* FFS] and making available methods to carry out said violence.

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Anonymous Coward

Gibberish?

Let's not forget that the british government have plenty of experience with producing documents loaded with gibberish. You only have to download their manifesto brochures to see that.

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Mushroom

Now I'm curious

I wouldn't mind reading a copy of Inspire - I'm always interested in the nonsense that lunatics come out with. Do I presume that its illegal here in the UK to read it? If so I won't bother. Anyone actually read the thing?

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Boffin

RE: Now I'm curious

Not read it myself, but I'm told by staff in Riyadh that it was pretty openly available out there, often alongside such other "delightful" works as The Protocols of The Elders of Zion and Mein Kampf (the latter is widely read in the Mid East, even in "moderate" countries like Turkey).

It's highly likely that downloading Inspire in itself could be grounds for arrest in the UK under the Terrorism Act catch-all of having information of use to terrorists. A quick Yahoogle of Rizwaan Sabir might be wise.

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Joke

QED

Piracy is widely associated with the distibution of dodgy files, some of them containing viruses. Since terrorists are scared of viruses and will go to great length to avoid them even if it impedes their agenda, piracy helps fighting terrorism.

Now where do I submit my paper?

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Silver badge
Mushroom

Better still

"Inspire, billing itself as the first al-Qaida literature in the English language, and offering tips on kitchen-sink bomb-making and anti-Western propaganda"

Surely a couple of... revisions to the kitchen-sink bomb-making instructions would have been more effective.

You can imagine the look on the wannabe jihadists' faces when their improvised explosive device fails to explode (or, perhaps more contraversially, explodes when they're making it).

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Anonymous Coward

Re: You can imagine the look ...

when the IED turns out to be some nice cake or, perhaps, a plate of biscuits.

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Mushroom

For relative values of 'better'...

There's a public safety issue there, though. Personally, I'd prefer it if wannabe terrorists of any stripe didn't blow themselves up, you know, downstairs or whatnot.

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Thumb Up

Indeed.......

They could modify one of the ingredients to be bacon.

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Mushroom

Change the recipe

They should have changed the bomb recipe so it either blew up in the sink or created a nice pavlova.

They should have similarly spread nonsense throughout the rest of the magazine to make the jihadists look incompetent.

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Bronze badge

sounds like balls

So the secret cyber warfare attack was just putting a corrupt version of a pdf onto file sharing networks.

As others have said, rather than an obviously corrupt document, it would have been a lot more use to subtly alter it, rendering it safer without making it obvious.

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Silver badge

Maybe

Perhaps it was the initial work of the newly established HMSK regiment (Her Majesty's Script Kiddies)? Can never keep those little buggers under control.

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Black Helicopters

it was stupid, stupid, stupid

given the richness of what you can do with pdf files.

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neb
Pint

who cares...

...who did it, nice one uk intelligence service

should have subtly altered it to make it unsafer for jihad joe though

help him get to those 2 score vestal virgins quickerer!

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@neb

"[,,,] nice one uk intelligence service"

No, not really. Either you believe that this was ethically appropriate, in which case they wasted a glorious opportunity, or you believe that even scum like AQ deserve to have their say and publish their little newsletters, in which case it was wrong. It really doesn't matter which way you go (personally, for me, I lean towards freedom of the press, but with the understanding that handing out bomb plans and encouraging people to go out and use them be is probably stretching that freedom further than it should go), but you have to choose one or the other. From my perspective, this mission was bungled.

-d

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Pint

FFS! Muppets!

If they fucking stupid enough to believe a busted PDF is sign of a "transport" file loaded with viruses, tell 'em to all buy Macs and install MacDefender, that should sort 'em out!

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Coat

I refuse to enoble a simple forum post!

I doubt even a terrorist organisation could afford to spend that much money on tech.

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Black Helicopters

The strangest thing is...

... how many "Jihadi" sites are hosted in America.

Presumably exercising their 1st. amendment privileges?

http://www.qando.net/details.aspx?Entry=6479

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I rather hope

The spooks are still editing the magazine and dropping in really weird bits of advice - you know - 'have you tried practicing suicide bombing in an uninhabited area just so you know what it feels like'. Then they could add music reviews, a gallery of unusually shaped vegetables, a 'Dear Dierdre' sex advice column and a 'Where's Ayman al-Zawahri?' competition to win £5.

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Bronze badge

So what does get through now?

I do wonder if the more recent issues of the magazine, while loaded with the same dangerous political thinking, are skipping the practical explosive-making tips.

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WTF?

US Constitution

If it is just a document, I'm sure the CIA / NSA and others would be barred from impeding it's publication / distribution due to the 1st Amendment to the US Constitution. I'm unclear how Wikileaks is affected by the 1st Amendment - however, it's perhaps a bit special as it was leaking official US documents.

Of course, being just British I'm no expert on the US Constitution !

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Anonymous Coward

But...

Your Free Speech is protected only in America, and only as long as it's not anti-American.

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Trollface

Not gibberish after all

GCHQ managed to decipher the gibberish and found out it was in fact Arabic!

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Joke

My Toshiba workshop manual

must have been collateral damage. All the important words are 'gibberish', whatever that means. It looks like a severe kerning problem, with the letters overprinting. Maybe the publisher used the wrong point version of their pdf distiller (if that's what is's called). At least it didn't start with "Lorem ipsum...". Blame Adobe.

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Devil

Open Source Jijad ?

> Copies of the debut issue soon appeared as PDF documents on Jihadist websites. But those that downloaded copies would have found all but the first few pages consisted of gibberish characters ..

All you Kafirs can get a full working copy here. See page 51, "Open Source Jijad", that section must have been written by the Afghanistan Linux Taliban, I knew it: that 'open source' crowd are a bunch of Islamo-Fascist Communists .. :)

http://info.publicintelligence.net/InspireFall2010.pdf

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Mushroom

Hmmm

Kitchen-sink bomb making?

Why would anyone make a bomb out of a kitchen-sink?

Any by extension, can you also make a bomb out of a bathroom sink using similar techniques?

What about baths?

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