[ISN] Pentagon Deputy: What if al-Qaeda Got Stuxnet?

From: InfoSec News <alerts_at_private>
Date: Wed, 16 Feb 2011 02:46:55 -0600 (CST)

By Spencer Ackerman 
Danger Room
February 15, 2011

Points for imagination here: at the RSA information-security conference 
in San Francisco, Deputy Defense Secretary William Lynn worried aloud 
about a terrorist group getting ahold of a malware tool like Stuxnet.

Sure, al-Qaeda hasn’t launched any cyberattacks so far. Nor have its 
operatives manifested any ability to design anything as sophisticated as 
the Stuxnet worm. “But it is possible for a terrorist group to develop 
cyberattack tools on their own or to buy them on the black market,” 
Lynn, the Pentagon’s point man on cybersecurity, warned on Tuesday. “As 
you know better than I, a couple dozen talented programmers wearing 
flip-flops and drinking Red Bull can do a lot of damage.”

Maybe so. But in last week’s congressional mega-hearing from the 
nation’s intelligence leaders on threats facing the country, no 
spymaster assessed that al-Qaeda was looking to launch a giant 
cyberattack. The most likely forecasted method of terrorist assault 
against the U.S. are “small-scale attacks” like homemade bombs, Director 
of National Intelligence James Clapper told a House panel. al-Qaeda 
appears more focused on making inroads to unsuspecting Muslim youth 
through social media.

Lynn left little doubt he had a worm like Stuxnet in mind, even though 
he didn’t mention it by name. He warned about the “accidental release of 
toxic malware” in which “something as trivial as a thumb drive stuck in 
the wrong computer” could have “a calamitous effect on the global 
economy.” What’s that sound like to you?


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Received on Wed Feb 16 2011 - 00:46:55 PST

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