Entries Tagged "al Qaeda"

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New al Qaeda Encryption Tool

There’s not a lot of information — and quite a lot of hyperbole — in this article:

With the release of the Asrar Al Dardashah plugin, GIMF promised “secure correspondence” based on the Pidgin chat client, which supports multiple chat platforms, including Yahoo Messenger, Windows Live Messenger, AOL Instant Messenger, Google Talk and Jabber/XMPP.

“The Asrar Al Dardashah plugin supports most of the languages in the world through the use of Unicode encoding, including Arabic, English, Urdu, Pashto, Bengali and Indonesian,” stated the announcement, which was posted on several top online Jihadist forums and GIMF’s official website.

“The plugin is easy and quick to use, and, like its counterpart, the Asrar Al Mujahideen program, it uses the technical algorithm RSA for asymmetric encryption, which is based [on] a pair of interrelated keys: a public key allocated for encrypting and a private key used for decrypting,” GIMF’s statement said. “To use the plugin, both of the communicating parties should install and activate the plugin and produce and import the Asrar Al Mujahideen private key into the Asrar Al Dardashah plugin, which automatically produces the corresponding public key of 2048-bit-length for use. It offers a level of encryption which has not been cracked or broken and can be relied upon entirely to protect the confidentiality of sensitive communication[s].”

Posted on February 13, 2013 at 6:13 AMView Comments

How Terrorist Groups Disband

Interesting research from RAND:

Abstract: How do terrorist groups end? The evidence since 1968 indicates that terrorist groups rarely cease to exist as a result of winning or losing a military campaign. Rather, most groups end because of operations carried out by local police or intelligence agencies or because they join the political process. This suggests that the United States should pursue a counterterrorism strategy against al Qa’ida that emphasizes policing and intelligence gathering rather than a “war on terrorism” approach that relies heavily on military force.

This, of course, should surprise no one. Remember the work of Max Abrahms.

Posted on November 9, 2012 at 6:41 AMView Comments

The Explosive from the Latest Foiled Al Qaeda Underwear Bomb Plot

Interesting:

Although the plot was disrupted before a particular airline was targeted and tickets were purchased, al Qaeda’s continued attempts to attack the U.S. speak to the organization’s persistence and willingness to refine specific approaches to killing. Unlike Abdulmutallab’s bomb, the new device contained lead azide, an explosive often used as a detonator. If the new underwear bomb had been used, the bomber would have ignited the lead azide, which would have triggered a more powerful explosive, possibly military-grade explosive pentaerythritol tetranitrate (PETN).

Lead azide and PETN were key components in a 2010 plan to detonate two bombs sent from Yemen and bound for Chicago—one in a cargo aircraft and the other in the cargo hold of a passenger aircraft. In that plot, al-Qaeda hid bombs in printer cartridges, allowing them to slip past cargo handlers and airport screeners. Both bombs contained far more explosive material than the 80 grams of PETN that Abdulmutallab smuggled onto his Northwest Airlines flight.

With the latest device, al Asiri appears to have been able to improve on the underwear bomb supplied to Abdulmutallab, says Joan Neuhaus Schaan, a fellow in homeland security and terrorism for Rice University’s James A. Baker III Institute for Public Policy.

The interview is also interesting, and I am especially pleased to see this last answer:

What has been the most effective means of disrupting terrorism attacks?
As with bombs that were being sent from Yemen to Chicago as cargo, this latest plot was discovered using human intelligence rather than screening procedures and technologies. These plans were disrupted because of proactive mechanisms put in place to stop terrorism rather than defensive approaches such as screening.

Posted on May 25, 2012 at 6:43 AMView Comments

A Foiled Terrorist Plot

We don’t know much, but here are my predictions:

  1. There’s a lot more hyperbole to this story than reality.
  2. The explosive would have either 1) been caught by pre-9/11 security, or 2) not been caught by post-9/11 security.
  3. Nonetheless, it will be used to justify more invasive airport security.

Posted on May 8, 2012 at 1:14 PMView Comments

Al Qaeda Steganography

The reports are still early, but it seems that a bunch of terrorist planning documents were found embedded in a digital file of a porn movie.

Several weeks later, after laborious efforts to crack a password and software to make the file almost invisible, German investigators discovered encoded inside the actual video a treasure trove of intelligence — more than 100 al Qaeda documents that included an inside track on some of the terror group’s most audacious plots and a road map for future operations.

Posted on May 2, 2012 at 12:41 PMView Comments

Yet More Fear-Mongering from the DHS

Al Qaeda is sewing bombs into people. Actually, not really. This is an “aspirational” terrorist threat, which basically means that someone mentioned it while drunk in a bar somewhere. Of course, that won’t stop the DHS from trying to terrorize people with the idea and the security-industrial complex from selling us an expensive “solution” to reduce our fears.

Wired: “So: a disruptive, potentially expensive panic based on a wild aspirational scheme? Actually, that sounds a lot like al-Qaida. And the TSA.”

Me: “Refuse to be terrorized.”

Posted on December 14, 2011 at 6:17 AMView Comments

Comparing al Qaeda and the IRA

A really interesting article:

Al Qaeda played all out, spent all its assets in a few years. In my dumb-ass 2005 article, I called the Al Qaeda method “real war” and the IRA’s slow-perc campaign “nerf war.” That was ignorance talking, boyish war-loving ignorance. I wanted more action, that was all. I saw what an easy target the London transport system made for a few amateur Al Qaeda recruits and just thought that since the IRA had several long-term sleeper teams in place in London, they could have wreaked a million times more havoc. Which was true, they could’ve. But could’ve and should’ve are different things, and a guerrilla group that goes all-out, does everything it can, is doomed.

[…]

That’s amazing; I’ve never heard of anything like that. It shows how far they’d come by that stage, away from the simple Al Qaeda maximum-blood crap I bought into in that earlier article. In contemporary urban guerrilla warfare, at least in Western Europe, killing civvies is counterproductive. What you want to do, what the IRA had mastered by the 1990s, was messing with the incredibly fragile and expensive networks that keep a huge city going. Interrupt them and you cost the enemy billions of dollars, and they don’t even have any gory corpses to shake in your faces. Fucking brilliant, and I was too dumb to see it!

[…]

It’s hard for an American to get your head around any of this, but the point, and it’s very “counter-intuitive” as they say, is that Al Qaeda did everything wrong, spending all their assets and going for maximum kill, and the IRA, the poster-boy for long, slow, crock-pot guerrilla warfare, did it exactly right.

Posted on July 7, 2011 at 6:36 AMView Comments

Sidebar photo of Bruce Schneier by Joe MacInnis.