Cyber Terrorism May Accelerate!

By Kevin Coleman — Defense Tech Cyberwarfare Correspondent

No one can dispute the huge success of the United States military and intelligence forces last week in the raid that killed Osama bin Laden. SEAL Team Six eliminated an evil presence that posed a real threat to the United States. The digital data collected by those SEALs paints a compelling picture of the significant role Osama bin Laden played in planning and directing attacks by al Qaeda as well as its affiliates in Yemen and Somalia. The intelligence contained on over 200 different devices and storage media is an unprecedented event in the history of the U.S. Intelligence Community. The analysis of the seized data has already yielded benefits. Not only did we discover threats to our rail systems, but we also gained a different view of bin Laden’s role in the global al Qaeda organization. Perhaps bigger successes await the world as the intelligence gained by the analysis of the hundreds, if not thousands of gigabytes of data seized in the raid is exploited.

Additional information about al Qaeda’s number two, Ayman al Zawahiri was discovered and suggests he may not be bin Laden’s successor. Instead, Anwar al-Awlaki , a graduate of Colorado State, seems to be the most likely successor to lead al Qaeda. This is not good news when it comes to cyber terrorism!   Awlaki is computer savvy and has leveraged the Internet in several ways to further al Qaeda’s goals and aspirations in the past.


  • Randall Combs

    1000’s of gigabytes? I don’t know, maybe there are several terabytes worth of data. But I doubt there was that much actual digital data unless it was stored uncompressed. Just saying.

    However what I’m really interested in is the encryption they used. I’m sure it is some off the self consumer tech but what kind in particular? Beside multiple regional languages how was it stored? Multiple encryptions? Additional, multiple old school tricks like cyphers?

    While I’m sure the NSA and other federal agencies can crack whatever data is given to them with enough time. It will be interesting to know their style none the less.

    • blight

      I guess it’s to mean that you seize ten laptops with ~100 GB HD’s each to reach the 1 TB factor, then throw in a fudge factor scale?

      Alternatively, it suggests that they seized lots of media locally, then used it to “find” more data out there in the ether?

    • Rheim

      I am guessing that Videos comprise a large majority of the data collected. Typically not very compressible and if HD, then they could be very large indeed.

  • Technolytics

    2.7 terabytes - “Enough to fill the library of a small university”

  • Curious

    I would just like to know why the Administration felt compelled to make public that they’ve seized computer hardware full of data during the raid. If you really have sensitive and very useful data, why tip off the enemy that you have potential intelligence on them? Or, rather, was it announced as such for some tactical purpose because what they really did seize did not in reality contain much previously-unknown intelligence? I elect to give them the benefit of the doubt, but for national security reasons I do not understand their reasoning for publicly disclosing these seizures.

    • Technolytics

      That is the same question I have. I would have NEVER disclosed any of the digital device collection.

    • Nathan

      Deterrence. Doubt al Queda will try their 9/11 anneversary train plot now we released that information, for example.

      Plus, if any senior al Queda coordinated on those records, they’d expect the US would seize them after we took bin Laden out anyways. No surprise there.

      Rest assured the CIA won’t release anything that compromises any strategic advantage we gained. Who knows… we could have already taken out #2 and #3 and are just waiting on DNA tests. :) Let’s hope…

  • Bowmanave

    This is why we should never, ever give up control of the internet to
    the United Nations. This type of thing would become rampant.

    • anon

      nobody “controls” the internet, rootservers are all individually privately maintained

      • Oblat

        Yes hilarious isn’t it. You’d thin k that inter-net might be a clue. But no.

        Reminds me of the study that shows the more you believe in cyberwar the less you know about the internet.

  • goro’s