Al Qaeda is turning its attention partially away from bombings and other forms of killing to focus on what one al Qaeda oeprate calls an “electronic jihad” against the United States. The operative suggests that attacking America should happen on the computer network level where aviation security and other breaches are more readily available.
In a video released online the operative calls on “covert mujahidin” to launch cyber attacks against the U.S. networks of both government and critical infrastructure. Among the groups attack points are the countries various electrical grids.
While the video was captured by FBI agents last year it was only just released this week by the Senate Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs.
In a statement Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee Chairman Joe Lieberman wrote:
“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.”
In the meantime officials have long warned that cyber attack is a real threat to the United States as terrorist operatives close the gap on their capabilities to attack via electronic means. In many cases US operatives believe al Qaeda and other terrorist based agencies will simply hire renowned hackers to handle their dirty work.
Al Qaeda is not the only group looking to attack America through cyber attacks, various reports have suggested that Iran is also looking at cyberspace attacks as a means to strike first against the United States.
Highlighting the importance of stopping cyber attacks Joe Lieberman notes:
“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. As numerous, bipartisan national security experts have said, minimum cyber security standards for those networks are necessary to protect our national and economic security. That is why the Senate needs to act on our bipartisan Cyber Security Act that requires minimum security performance requirements for key critical infrastructure cyber networks.”
Since October 2011 the Department of Homeland Security received more than 50,000 reports of cyber intrusions or attempted intrusions, that number is up from 10,000 reports in the prior year.
Are you worried about an Al Qaeda led cyber jihad?