A 6 minute Al Qaeda video translated by the FBI calls for extremist followers to perform cyber attacks against the US. According to Foxnews, the video states that US computer systems are as vulnerable to electronic warfare as airline security was leading up to the 9/11 attacks.
In the video those “with expertise in this domain to target the websites and information systems of big companies and government agencies“, are called on to join in the attack.
“This is the clearest evidence we’ve seen that al Qaeda and other terrorist groups want to attack the cyber systems of our critical infrastructure“, said Senator Joe Lieberman who first saw the video last week in a Homeland Security meeting,”Congress needs to act now to protect the American public from a possible devastating attack on our electric grid, water delivery systems, or financial networks, for example“.
Unlike facing America’s military might on the battlefield, cyber warfare can be done on the cheap. According to Lieberman, “Al Qaeda and Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula are focused on cyber warfare because it can be carried out, if you have somebody smart enough, at very little expense“.
This video comes on the heels of a report last month that stated Al-Qaeda was seeking cyber attack capabilities:
While it’s “accurate today,” that the terrorist group isn’t close to having such a capacity, “how fast that can change is my concern,” Rear Admiral Samuel Cox said at a conference yesterday in Arlington, Virgina.
“We are used to what the current threat is, and we lose sight of just how fast that can change and go bad,” Rear Admiral Cox said, “They don’t have to build some technological thing.” They “could hire it, or blackmail it, or find the right person who has that skill set and be able to use that and rapidly increase their capabilities.“
From the video it looks like they are taking the next steps and actively recruiting extremists with technical skills. The US will and should take this threat seriously.