Related Links

  • MI6
  • Reed Exhibitions Ltd is not responsible for the content of external websites.

Related Stories

  • Security at the dawn of a new age in computing
    A new age of “anytime” and “anywhere” computing, combined with “any device” has brought with it new challenges for enterprise security. Join Infosecurity for our Virtual Conference session on “Security in the Age of *Any* Computing” to explore this timely topic.
  • ISF tackles the problem of IT consumerisation in the workplace
    The Information Security Forum (ISF) is advising IT security professionals not to ignore the increasing use of tablet, smartphone and portable PC usage in the workplace, and to adapt their organisation's security policies to this changing landscape.
  • Is traditional endpoint security dead?
    With many security pros advocating for a new, data-centric approach to information security, Infosecurity has gathered a panel of three experts to explore this provocative question.
  • The dangers of smart devices and mobile applications
    Infosecurity has brought together two authorities on one of the hottest topics in IT security: the proliferation of smart devices, and their applications, within the enterprise.
  • Indian security agencies gear up for wide-ranging Web 2.0 surveillance
    Whilst UK and US security agencies keep their IT/communications surveillance systems and plans under carefully guarded wraps, the Indian government has taken the approach of being quite open. According to a report in the Economic Times, the Indian Centralised Monitoring System (CMS) is now being tendered for.
  • Jericho Forum professional explains challenges ahead in digital security
    James Whyte, head of IT service delivery with F&C Investments, and a member of the Jericho Forum, says that there is now a clear need for an effective - and secure - digital ecosystem in cyberspace.

Top 5 Stories


MI6 attacks al Qaeda magazine; infects site with cupcake recipes

03 June 2011

UK spy agency MI6 is reported to have hacked one of the Jihadist publications that supports al Qaeda's cause, replacing bomb making recipes with ingredient and cooking instructions for that most dastardly of culinary weapons: cupcakes.

According to newswire reports, unknown hackers closely associated with MI6 managed to insert a PDF file containing tasty cupcake recipes into Inspire, a Jihadist magazine that has features such as "Make a Bomb in the Kitchen of Your Mom."

Unconfirmed reports suggest that Inspire's publishers tried to unpick the MI6-driven hack, resulting in the data files turning into unintelligible code.

This means, Infosecurity notes, that when supporters of al Qaeda tried to download the latest issue of Inspire, not only were they unable to learn the latest subversive secrets, but they were also prevented from access to the latest tasty cupcake recipes.

According to the Associated Press, this is the first time that the UK secret service has sabotaged the English-language magazine that is linked to US-born Yemeni cleric Anwar al-Awlaki, an extremist accused in several recent terror plots.

"We're increasingly using cybertools as part of our work," a British government official who spoke to the AP newswire on condition of anonymity, that the Inspire magazine had been successfully attacked.

The newswire claims that the hackers were "working for Britain's eavesdropping agency, GCHQ, which has boosted its resources in the past several years."

"Christopher Painter, the US State Department co-ordinator for cyber issues, said at a cybersecurity conference in London that one of the biggest problems was identifying hackers – whether they [are] from foreign governments trying to steal secrets or lone hackers", says the newswire.

"But choosing to hack into al Qaeda-affiliated websites or other systems is also risky business for intelligence agencies. Infiltrating a site can often expose sources and methods, a second British official said, also speaking on condition of anonymity to discuss cybersecurity matters", the newswire adds.

Anwar al-Awlaki is reportedly a regular contributor to Inspire, offering advice on everything from spiritual questions to recruiting.

The AP newswire, meanwhile, quotes a spokesperson for the Quilliam Foundation, a London-based anti-extremist organisation, as saying that, whilst a recipe for cupcakes is better than a recipe for bombs, it would been more productive if they had put up counter-arguments to al Qaeda.

"They could have also attacked Awlaki himself. It should be about discrediting these individuals", said the spokesperson.

This article is featured in:
Compliance and Policy  •  Security Training and Education


Comment on this article

You must be registered and logged in to leave a comment about this article.

We use cookies to operate this website and to improve its usability. Full details of what cookies are, why we use them and how you can manage them can be found by reading our Privacy & Cookies page. Please note that by using this site you are consenting to the use of cookies. ×