back to article Linux Mint-using terror nerd awaits sentence for training Islamic State

A paranoid Welsh Muslim who wore gloves while typing on his laptop, admitted being part of Islamic State, and, gasp, harbored a copy of Linux Mint, has been described as a “new and dangerous breed of terrorist.” Samata Ullah, 34, who also used voice modulation software to disguise his thick Welsh accent while making …

  1. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Trump had better hurry up and ban Mint

    Ubuntu and Debian too, just to be certain. Outlaw .deb files and PPA's.

    1. Trigonoceps occipitalis

      Re: Trump had better hurry up and ban Mint

      And don't forget Trebor, Polo, Fox's, Tic-Tac etc.

      1. Will Godfrey Silver badge
        Happy

        Re: Trump had better hurry up and ban Mint

        Phew! It's a good job my favourites are mint Imperials

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Trump had better hurry up and ban Mint

          (Am sure i heard that Farage went round telling people they'd become mint metrics unless he got their votes... such is the measure of the man...)

      2. Ilsa Loving

        Re: Trump had better hurry up and ban Mint

        > And don't forget Trebor, Polo, Fox's, Tic-Tac etc.

        On the upside, that means distros like Hannah Montana Linux and Biebian (Justin Bieber Linux) would also be cut at the knees too. So I guess it wouldn't be all bad.

      3. Bandikoto

        Re: Trump had better hurry up and ban Mint

        He's on-tape as favoring Tic-Tacs, though.

    2. Ole Juul Silver badge

      Re: Trump had better hurry up and ban Mint

      OK, that does it. I'm switching to Christian Linux.

      1. Kiwi Silver badge
        Angel

        Re: Trump had better hurry up and ban Mint

        OK, that does it. I'm switching to Christian Linux.

        Could be useful for an elderly friend of mine who needs his computer to be usable again. Wonder how readily it'll update to a more modern underlying distro (it's based on Ubu 12). And would mean I don't have to install the extras I often do. Wish I'd come across this one earlier.

        Thanks!

      2. Uncle Slacky Silver badge
        Devil

        Re: Trump had better hurry up and ban Mint

        Sod that - why doesn't somebody update Ubuntu Satanic Edition? http://ubuntusatanic.org

        1. jake Silver badge

          Re: Trump had better hurry up and ban Mint

          Because "satanic" was only funny once?

      3. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Trump had better hurry up and ban Mint

        Went looking for Christian Windows, but only found the one made by Satan.

        1. kain preacher Silver badge

          Re: Trump had better hurry up and ban Mint

          I can't seem to find the kosher edition.

  2. mark l 2 Silver badge

    I'm typing this from my laptop which has Mint 18.1 installed. I hadn't realised it but I must be a terrorist.

    1. NonSSL-Login
      Big Brother

      Ditto but my real worry is the cufflinks look cool enough to order but I get the feeling doing so will put me on a terrorist watch-list...

  3. User McUser

    Low tech

    [The flash disks] contained military manuals for guided missiles, which Ullah was said to have been preparing to translate for the Islamic State terrorist organization

    [...]

    “This is just the sort of information that may have helped people involved in planning devastating, low technical level attacks on crowded places as we have seen in other cities across the world,” added [Metropolitan Police Counter Terrorism Commander Dean Haydon]. (Emphasis added.)

    So guided missiles are low tech now?

    And while we're on the subject, who needs help planning the "drive a large vehicle into a crowd" type of terrorist attack? Seems like everything you need to know is in the description.

    1. SkippyBing Silver badge

      Re: Low tech

      'And while we're on the subject, who needs help planning the "drive a large vehicle into a crowd" type of terrorist attack? '

      Well for starters, Metropolitan Police Counter Terrorism Commander Dean Haydon. Which isn't exactly inspiring...

    2. Ogi
      Black Helicopters

      Re: Low tech

      > So guided missiles are low tech now?

      You know, when you sit and think about it, they kind of are, nowadays.

      The first guided missiles to be used in combat were used by the Nazis in WWII, so we are talking almost 70 yeas ago. If they could make guided missiles 70 years ago, It would surprise me if a team of dedicated people with knowledge of programming and electronics, and with access to machine tools, would be unable to do the same now.

      In fact, consider the arrays of sensors and servos you can attach to an Arduino or Raspberry pi, not to mention the compute power of these small systems eclipse anything available back then.

      Sure, I don't think home made guided missiles would hold their own against the latest military hardware, but if the goal is to hit undefended civilian targets (like airliners) then they could work.

      In fact my biggest surprise is that someone hasn't done it yet I remember a guy who tried to build a DIY cruise missile, but got shut down by the government when it was realised how easy it was for him to do it.

      EDIT - Found the original sites (from 2003). Consider how now there are quite a few autonomous autopilot projects which are open source and open hardware, and it should be even easier to do the below if you were so inclined:

      https://hardware.slashdot.org/story/03/04/29/1857212/build-your-own-cruise-missile

      http://www.aardvark.co.nz/pjet/cruise.shtml

      http://www.interestingprojects.com/cruisemissile/

      ( Black helicopters because I am sure I ended up on some "lists" due to my most recent Google search history in order to dig up this info)

      1. Voyna i Mor Silver badge

        Re: Low tech

        "You know, when you sit and think about it, they kind of are, nowadays."

        I believe Hamas does it. Whatever you think of Israel, directing inaccurate missiles against civilian targets is a shitty thing to do.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Low tech

          I believe Hamas does it. Whatever you think of Israel, directing inaccurate missiles against civilian targets is a shitty thing to do.

          So's stealing somebody else's country, kicking them out of it, and then acting the victim when the third generation of dispossessed are still angry at being born in refugee camps and living in squalor. And so's bombing all the civil infrastructure of a neighbouring country just to make a point.

          1. Voyna i Mor Silver badge

            Re: Low tech

            Hence my inclusion of the phrase "whatever you think of Israel". I just don't intend to go there.

          2. JLV Silver badge

            Re: Low tech

            >So's stealing somebody else's country

            I too dislike Israel's failure to negotiate in good faith. But surely you are clever enough to realize that Hamas' missiles mostly provide a fig leaf to Israel no negotiation stance? As well as subject Palestinian to more Israeli bombing, thus breeding more Hamas supporters?

            The world should boycott, as happened to South Africa, until 1967 occupied territories are withdrawn from and the afferent UN resolution 242 implemented. No need to atone our Holocaust guilt on the backs of the Palestinians.

            Despite that, I also support Israel's right to self-defense.

          3. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: Low tech

            Oh, The stealing is not the problem, this kind of thing happened everywhere since like even before one ape managed to bump another on the head with a rock - not "finishing the job" immediately after 1948 is what is causing all the trouble!

            “If an injury has to be done to a man it should be so severe that his vengeance need not be feared.”

            ― Niccolò Machiavelli, The Prince

        2. Suricou Raven

          Re: Low tech

          Hamas does, but their missiles are not very well guided. Israel has a defense system, but the first thing it does is estimate where an incoming missile is going to come down and ignore all the ones that are just going to hit some empty desert or mountain.

        3. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Low tech

          I believe Hamas does it. Whatever you think of Israel, directing inaccurate missiles against civilian targets is a shitty thing to do.

          Are accurate missiles okay?

          (Sorry, couldn't resist ;)

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: Low tech

            Are accurate missiles okay?

            Must be since all of the "collateral damage" caused by western "precision" bombings does not matter one little bit at all - even though we are about at the same level of Civilian vs "Taliban" as we had with Civilian vs Nazi in f.ex. Dresden or Hamburg back int the day. But, hey, who cares? Stockholders are Happy.

      2. a_yank_lurker Silver badge

        Re: Low tech

        @Ogi - Any WWII era or earlier technology is effectively open including nuclear weapons. Too many technically literate people have a reasonable grasp of how these technologies work and how they can be made. In many cases, what stops people is being about to source the materials needed. Guide missiles are easy except for possibly the engines. The engine operating temperature and fuels limit the materials they can be made out of. There are few materials that have right combination of properties to be used in the engine and they tend to be expensive. Ditto for nuclear weapons - getting sufficient pure U or PL is not easy. Chemical and biological weapons are probably easier as the source material is often relatively cheap and fairly common.

        1. jake Silver badge

          Re: Low tech

          Other issues to worry about include G force at launch and vibration during flight. To say nothing of entering/leaving a condensing atmospheric condition and temperature extremes. Static electricity is also a problem. Etc. Not something I plan on reverse engineering anytime soon.

          1. Kiwi Silver badge

            Re: Low tech

            Other issues to worry about include G force at launch and vibration during flight. To say nothing of entering/leaving a condensing atmospheric condition and temperature extremes. Static electricity is also a problem. Etc. Not something I plan on reverse engineering anytime soon.

            Tempted NOT to post this as someone may take it the wrong way, and ban the activities I'm about to mention. Or use said activities to harm others (in whatever way this is done, it is wrong!).

            There's lots of people who build "model" rockets capable of reaching the upper atmosphere, perhaps even escaping the atmosphere (not gravity, but they probably could achieve this). Lots of footage on YT etc. The Apollo "computers" must have been much more sensitive to knocks and vapours. The tech isn't hard and I've figured out several ways to protect electronics from such things, though most of the cameras I've seen launched seem to be stock, no mods to protect them.

          2. jelabarre59 Silver badge

            Re: Why the delay?

            Space Research Corporation (you know, Gerald Bull's company) had been working on hardening satellites to be launched BY CANNON in the 1970's.

        2. Voyna i Mor Silver badge

          Re: Low tech

          "getting sufficient pure U or PL is not easy. "

          Oh, you can get quite pure uranium all right - just dig around in shell craters in Iraq. The problem is that it's the wrong kind of uranium, and it's the extraction of the 235 isotope that, fortunately, presents a difficult problem. If anyone ever invents a simple, cheap means of isotopic separation, goodbye civilisation. A gun-type uranium bomb won't, however, fit into any guided missile whose construction wouldn't attract a lot of attention. Those things are big.

          Fortunately too, not only is Pu hard to obtain, it's hard to make it into an effective bomb.

          1. Dazed and Confused Silver badge

            Re: Low tech

            > Fortunately too, not only is Pu hard to obtain, it's hard to make it into an effective bomb.

            See the "Oppenheimer" TV series for 1% of the difficulties involved.I'm sure they weren't allowed to show any of the other 99%. Interesting series though.

      3. DropBear Silver badge
        Mushroom

        Re: Low tech

        "You know, when you sit and think about it, they kind of are, nowadays."

        One might be inclined to agree - until one remembers how, for instance, a mature and proven rocket went bang testing an attached scramjet prototype just because the rocket's control fins couldn't take the dynamic loads involved, which would not have been present in the much rarefied atmosphere said rocket would have been in by then during a normal flight profile - without anyone involved spotting that this would be an issue...? Yeah, I think rocket engineering is still the rocket engineering of rocket engineering...

      4. KBeee
        Joke

        Re: Low tech

        Yeah, it ain't rocket science. Oh wait...

    3. David 132 Silver badge
      Facepalm

      Re: Low tech

      UserMcUser And while we're on the subject, who needs help planning the "drive a large vehicle into a crowd" type of terrorist attack? Seems like everything you need to know is in the description.

      Indeed. Isn't the sentence "a drive-a-large-vehicle-into-a-crowd terrorist attack" both a factual description, but also more worryingly, technically a terrorism how-to instruction manual as defined by the UK's current hysterical and overly-loose anti-terror laws? I mean, put the words "Step 1:" in front of the phrase and whoops, off to Parkhurst you go.

    4. P. Lee Silver badge
      Trollface

      Re: Low tech

      >So guided missiles are low tech now?

      How else would you describe a book called "How to Throw a Rock"?

      1. a_yank_lurker Silver badge

        Re: Low tech

        @P.Lee - Modern military missiles are high tech but the basic technology was worked out by the 60's at the latest. Also, it is relatively well understood by too many so putting together a team to make a guided missile is not hard. The issue is some of the technical problems that dog military designs from the 40s forward are still present and that will take a certain level manufacturing competence to solve. In other words, the engineering knowledge to make a nuclear armed guided missile is readily available. But what stops many it manufacturing needed to make some of the critical pieces and the availability of the raw materials. So in the sense that the knowledge is there, low tech, but some of the infrastructure requires a good bit of money to build if does not exist locally.

  4. This post has been deleted by its author

  5. Someone Else Silver badge
    WTF?

    And this what to do with Linux, again?

    <crickets />

    1. ITS Retired

      Re: And this what to do with Linux, again?

      It's not MS Windows, so it must be be some scary operating system that actually works as advertised.

      To say nothing about being able to use it without the OS tattling on you to the mother ship. Who, but never-do-wells would ever use such a system?

  6. Robert Moore
    Coat

    USB cufflinks.

    I had no idea this was even a thing.

    USB tie clips too.

    Off I go to shop.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: USB cufflinks.

      A Linux user with a tie?

      1. shifty_powers

        Re: USB cufflinks.

        in fairness the article nor the commentard said they were wearing them...

      2. jake Silver badge

        Re: USB cufflinks.

        A Linux user with cuff links?

        Wassat? Common User File Format? I know what links is, although I use lynx ...

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: USB cufflinks.

          >Wassat? Common User File Format?

          $ apt show cufflinks

          "Cufflinks assembles transcripts, estimates their abundances, and tests for differential expression and regulation in RNA-Seq samples. It accepts aligned RNA-Seq reads and assembles the alignments into a parsimonious set of transcripts. Cufflinks then estimates the relative abundances of these transcripts based on how many reads support each one."

          1. Rich 11 Silver badge

            Re: USB cufflinks.

            $ apt show cufflinks

            Careful now. Someone might think you are designing a genetically-modified virus which targets people who pray in the wrong direction.

            1. Sir Runcible Spoon Silver badge

              Linux users & cufflinks

              Perhaps some kind of sock-clip to stop them falling down towards their sandals then?

            2. Anonymous Coward
              Anonymous Coward

              Re: apt?

              Oh, you mean the town in France....

              The USA can't easily ban 'apt' now can they? Remember that France has nuclear weapons.

              D.T. needs to be careful here or a stray missile might just possible go off course and wipe out one of his Golf Courses. That won't be a crime on humanity as nothing ever worth doing ever took place on a golf course.

              1. allthecoolshortnamesweretaken Silver badge

                Re: apt?

                "... nothing ever worth doing ever took place on a golf course."

                Dave Lister lost his virginity at the tender age of thirteen to a girl called Michelle on the ninth fairway, in a sand bunker on Bootle municipal Golf Course.

              2. jelabarre59 Silver badge

                Re: apt?

                D.T. needs to be careful here or a stray missile might just possible go off course and wipe out one of his Golf Courses. That won't be a crime on humanity as nothing ever worth doing ever took place on a golf course.

                Hey, careful there. One of those courses is a couple miles away from an inherited piece of property we haven't managed to sell off yet. OTOH might get enough of a settlement on it we could just abandon it.

      3. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

        Re: USB cufflinks.

        "A Linux user with a tie?"

        Quite. I was thinking "must get some of those cufflinks" before I remembered I never wear cufflinks.

      4. Frumious Bandersnatch Silver badge

        Re: USB cufflinks.

        A Linux user with a tie?

        Don't knock it. It stops my pants from falling down.

        1. jake Silver badge

          Re: USB cufflinks.

          Sounds pants to me. I use a T1 patch cord.

      5. John Brown (no body) Silver badge
        Pint

        Re: USB cufflinks.

        "A Linux user with a tie?"

        Of course. Many do. You just can't see it due to the beard!

    2. Mycho Silver badge

      Re: USB cufflinks.

      The usb cufflinks look cool, but subtle they ain't. If I were going to smuggle data internationally I'd fly United and disguise my usb drive as part of a smashed camera.

      1. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

        Re: USB cufflinks.

        "The usb cufflinks look cool"

        No way. If you're going to wear cufflinks they've got to be gold. The best I could see on eBay were only silver.

        1. Sir Runcible Spoon Silver badge

          Re: USB cufflinks.

          Best place to hide a USB drive is inside another USB drive.

          1. jake Silver badge

            Re: USB cufflinks.

            I've got an 8G inside a functional standard sized wine cork, and another inside a functional 9V (PP3) NiCad rechargeable, and a 1G inside what looks like a 1961 thruppence[0] (took two real coins to make, it's a hair over 3mm thick). All were gifts, I don't actually use them for anything.

            [0] Thruppence ... trump pence ... I don't give trumppence about the current state of the Oval Office ... There is a really bad, if accurate, joke in there somewhere.

            1. Jamie Jones Silver badge

              Re: USB cufflinks.

              0] Thruppence ... trump pence ... I don't give trumppence about the current state of the Oval Office ... There is a really bad, if accurate, joke in there somewhere.

              Ever since the first Trump-Pence banners went up, I've been calling him "Thrup"

              (and BrExit is Britain Leaves EU - i.e. we BLEU it)

    3. Tom 38 Silver badge

      Re: USB cufflinks.

      The cufflinks are cool, I have a set from Amazon from Chinese sellers, £4 each. Weirdly, they were sold by drive unit rather than as a pair of cufflinks. They didn't mention that in the description, so it meant that after waiting a month for the first to show up, I had to wait another month for the matching one to be delivered!

  7. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Finally, recognition that terrorists wear suits.

    1. Chemist

      "Finally, recognition that terrorists wear suits."

      No - he just wears a tie ! (Hopefully a very long and wide tie )

  8. Jonathan 27 Bronze badge

    "who also used voice modulation software to disguise his thick Welsh accent"

    Didn't work, there is no voice modulation software in the world good enough.

  9. Daggerchild Silver badge

    Psych report pls!

    Every now and then I see a highly technically-intelligent person with not just the standard lack of common sense, but actively hatstand judgement skills. We had at least two get through interviews. It got some important systems *completely* and technically-impressively wrecked.

    I've noticed you can often see it in how they drive. e.g. the brown-trouser passenger-realisation that they assume everyone *else* will always swerve so they don't need to.

    Yo, NSA! Start sniffing in GTA online for bad drivers. It's a sure thing!

    1. moiety

      Re: Psych report pls!

      Don't say that FFS! I already have Linux Mint and a long eBay history of iffy purchases. I'm not Welsh, but am not sure how much that helps.

  10. Crazy Operations Guy

    Voice Modulator

    I would have grabbed a copy of Adobe's Voco and did all the audio in Trump's voice or some equally pompous moron that is blundering at full speed into helping Daesh...

    1. Kiwi Silver badge
      Thumb Up

      Re: Voice Modulator

      I would have grabbed a copy of Adobe's Voco and did all the audio in Trump's voice or some equally pompous moron that is blundering at full speed into helping Daesh...

      Please! Would be so much fun to see chump arrested for supporting/promoting terrorism (though he does that already). Do this and on word of Trumps arrest I'll give you full access to my bank accounts!

      I'll even try to make sure they don't have a dash in front of the dollar sign... :)

    2. jelabarre59 Silver badge

      Re: Voice Modulator

      I would have grabbed a copy of Adobe's Voco and did all the audio in Trump's voice or some equally pompous moron that is blundering at full speed into helping Daesh...

      There's always Voiceroid voicebanks, except then you'd have to translate to/from Japanese. On top of that, ONE and Tohoku Zunko would just be too darned sexy for an ISIS-sympathiser to handle.

  11. Len Goddard

    Mint is not harmless

    Ask Ubuntu

  12. the Jim bloke Bronze badge
    Devil

    Expect Microsoft

    To assist the prosecution

  13. noddybollock
    Joke

    Voice Modulator ??

    Every time I try and do a welsh accent it sounds Asian/Indian/Pakistani anyway so why bother!

  14. Mnguy

    What a weak little dip shit

    Grow up little boy and become part of the human race.

    1. Voyna i Mor Silver badge

      Re: What a weak little dip shit

      I am assuming that the word "paranoid" came from the court and not the headline writer. If it is correct this is just another example of how our failed mental health policies expose us to unforeseen risks. As I recall the perpetrator of the Brick Lane nail bomb attack was a paranoid schizophrenic, though it was ruled he was sufficiently sane to know he was murdering people. He was also white. Would you have told him to grow up, or would you suggest that a better system for identifying people with mental health problems and ensuring that they get monitoring and medication might be a better idea?

  15. Walter Bishop Silver badge
    Terminator

    New and dangerous breed of cyber terrorist

    Not much of a 'cyber terrorist' if he got caught, where are they training them lately. If the pensions people had given him a more interesting job them maybe he wouldn't have got caught in his imaginary online terror life. It is a truth universally acknowledged, that a single man without a girlfriend, must be in want of a project. Also the 'terrorists' are generally sponcered by some organ of the state.

    1. ckdizz

      Re: New and dangerous breed of cyber terrorist

      > It is a truth universally acknowledged, that a single man without a girlfriend, must be in want of a project.

      Not sure about that. I'm 8 years into my relationship and I'm pretty sure that most of the tension around here relates to the several grand's worth of new but unused PC equipment for my 'projects' lying around the house.

      > Also the 'terrorists' are generally sponcered by some organ of the state.

      Doesn't say, but maybe he did draw his salary from the DWP...?

      1. jake Silver badge

        Re: New and dangerous breed of cyber terrorist

        "It is a truth universally acknowledged"

        By whom, pray tell? I've never heard this postulated ...

      2. Karl Vegar

        Re: New and dangerous breed of cyber terrorist

        Note: It doesn't say that non single male are not in want of a project. It probably should state that non single males no longer have the luxury of time to do anything about said projects.

  16. Boohoo4u

    I'm not sure how Linux Mint became relevant...

    But, isn't anyone wondering were the "military manuals for guided missiles" came from?

    This guy seems like a garden variety idiot, but the person that gave him the manual could be a real problem...

  17. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    He didn't know anything about security and encryption. If he did this story would be about how he refused to hand over his passphrases instead of being caught bang to rights.

    And that wouldn't have been Mint. It would have been TAILS or TENS and GCSB bitching about how people having the ability to create privacy was negatively impacting on everyone's lives.

  18. mhenriday
    WTF?

    Harmless ?

    « On one of those was a copy of harmless open-source operating system Linux Mint, ...» «Harmless» ?!! Them's fighting words, Gareth !... ;-)

    Henri

  19. Chairman of the Bored Silver badge
    Headmaster

    Guided missiles

    Back when I had an all-expense-paid vacation in Iraq - 2004-2005, the more devout opponents would close their eyes and pray that Allah guide their RPG. Unfortunately those guys didn't survive in large enough numbers to reproduce, so now one has to worry about aimed fire. Next step is guided munitions, but I'm not sure whether such lack of trust in divine guidance is haram? What's this got to do with IT? Well, you could say my service rifle has an outstanding point and click interface...

  20. Chuck Long

    I was gonna rage post about needlessly including Linux Mint in the headline, but I see the readers have already taken the piss on the Register so much there's a video of it in the water-sports section of PornHub.

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