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Convicted Terrorist Relied On Single-Letter Cipher

timothy posted more than 3 years ago | from the was-the-letter-q? dept.

Crime 254

Hugh Pickens writes "The Register reports that the majority of the communications between convicted terrorist Rajib Karim and Bangladeshi Islamic activists were encrypted with a system which used Excel transposition tables which they invented themselves. It used a single-letter substitution cipher invented by the ancient Greeks that had been used and described by Julius Caesar in 55BC. Despite urging by the Yemen-based al Qaida leader Anwar Al Anlaki, Karim rejected the use of a sophisticated code program called 'Mujhaddin Secrets' which implements all the AES candidate cyphers, 'because "kaffirs," or non-believers, know about it so it must be less secure.'"

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254 comments

More spreadsheet abuse (4, Funny)

MichaelSmith (789609) | more than 3 years ago | (#35686642)

Remember this kids: always use a proper database for your crap encryption scheme.

Re:More spreadsheet abuse (1, Insightful)

somersault (912633) | more than 3 years ago | (#35686654)

This is pretty damn hilarious. Though also, probably an April Fool's joke.

Re:More spreadsheet abuse (4, Informative)

somersault (912633) | more than 3 years ago | (#35686664)

Actually considering the story on The Register is from March, I'll stick with hilarious.

Re:More spreadsheet abuse (1)

L4t3r4lu5 (1216702) | more than 3 years ago | (#35686826)

Not only that, it's over a week old.

This isn't news. This is olds.

Re:More spreadsheet abuse (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35687180)

its old and busted but where is the new hotness!!!!!!!

Re:More spreadsheet abuse (4, Insightful)

WWWWolf (2428) | more than 3 years ago | (#35686756)

This is pretty damn hilarious. Though also, probably an April Fool's joke.

Weirder stuff has happened. There already was some Mafia guy who got caught because he was using Caesar cipher. <predictablejoke>And then there was that one Caesar-based encryption scheme in Adobe DRM. I have problems telling these Mafia guys apart.</predictablejoke>

Still, pretty hilarious. Even ignoring Kerckhoffs's Principle, there's still a big difference between using a cryptosystem the infidels developed, and a cryptosystem the infidels developed and then then abandoned centuries ago because they broke it and Muslim mathematicians no doubt helped cracking it. People who ignore history will only repeat it. This is also a good example of what happens when you play a high-stakes game of "I have a problem - let's throw a little bit of Excel at it to solve it once and for all".

Re:More spreadsheet abuse (4, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35686922)

Muslim mathematicians no doubt helped cracking it.

Close. The Ceasar shift was broken before Islam even began. But the improved version known as the Vigenere cipher was broken (after being considered unbreakable for centuries) by the Arabic scientist Al-Kindi in the ninth century A.D.

Re:More spreadsheet abuse (4, Interesting)

fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) | more than 3 years ago | (#35686932)

IIRC, they 'layman's historical introduction to cryptoanalysis' type overviews do often mention that more or less the earliest clearly recognizable use of frequency analysis cropped up among islamic scholars working on the problem of separating authentic Muhammad quotations from the assorted non-canon stuff that had crept in, by examining word frequency distributions across different passages...

The guy is a moron no matter who cracked the cipher, of course, because it doesn't really matter who, just whether somebody did or not(excluding the edge cases of certain comparatively modern ciphers, that might conceivably have been cracked in private).

Re:More spreadsheet abuse (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35686782)

Not better than this one though:
http://www.debian.org/
(The Canterbury Distribution)

Re:More spreadsheet abuse (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35686656)

Allah has a plan.

Re:More spreadsheet abuse (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35686722)

It seems, some of his beliefs were testable.

Re:More spreadsheet abuse (5, Funny)

azalin (67640) | more than 3 years ago | (#35686750)

In related news: "Microsoft provides Terrorists with software to plan attacks"

Not that a piece of paper could have done the job as well (or probably better given the use of a halfway decent crypto scheme).

Re:More spreadsheet abuse (2)

Narpak (961733) | more than 3 years ago | (#35687008)

Or One Time Pads [wikipedia.org] .

Re:More spreadsheet abuse (3, Informative)

daem0n1x (748565) | more than 3 years ago | (#35687112)

I'm glad terrorists are even more retarded than the government officials that try to catch them. Makes me feel a lot safer.

Re:More spreadsheet abuse (1)

JamesP (688957) | more than 3 years ago | (#35687172)

Access!?

alpha (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35686646)

Omega

Religious Extremist....... (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35686652)

If you are a religious extremist you are on the good path to salvation. And being an asshole.... What did you guys expect?

Terrorists are stupid (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35686660)

News at 11!

Thanks for reminding me (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35686670)

I have been meaning to get around to watching Four Lions for a while.

Real story (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35686672)

Required check for any story posted on this date. This one *isn't* an april fools joke - original story is dated March 22 (so not just legit, but a little late too...)

which proves once again (3, Insightful)

brezel (890656) | more than 3 years ago | (#35686674)

that extremists are usually complete idiots.

Re:which proves once again (1)

jamesh (87723) | more than 3 years ago | (#35686764)

Nearly. It proves once again that the extremists who are complete idiots usually make the news more often for things such as using cesar ciphers and not accounting for DST when setting the detonation time on their bombs.

Re:which proves once again (1)

Dr.Syshalt (702491) | more than 3 years ago | (#35686812)

Or just proves that Slashdot readers still don't check calendars :)

Re:which proves once again (2)

TheP4st (1164315) | more than 3 years ago | (#35686962)

Or proves that /. readers don't read the article which were published on 22nd March. ;-)

Re:which proves once again (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35686982)

Or proves that /. readers don't read the article which were published on 22nd March. ;-)

Or proves that if yo had read the replies you would have seen someone mentioned that several posts before you.

He was considerate to the tax payer (3, Funny)

nzac (1822298) | more than 3 years ago | (#35686686)

I would say that once his emails are being read he's screwed. Either he has AES encrypted files which take a lot of expensive equipment to decrypt (and fail to do so in a reasonable time) resulting in lots of surveillance to catch most of the people involved or he forces some poor graduate to use excel and give away the rest of the 'cell'.
I don’t think once your emails are being intercepted you have much hope of carrying out a terrorist attack anyway.

Guess I fell for it (0)

nzac (1822298) | more than 3 years ago | (#35686896)

Only an hour left here of the 1st. One article appears to be new news the rest make it look good.

Though The Canterbury distro is just terrible
http://www.opensuse.org/ [opensuse.org]
https://www.archlinux.org/ [archlinux.org]
http://www.debian.org/ [debian.org]

Can you imagine the holy wars at least 3 different packing systems 4 different kenels and everything from stable to sid all in one distro.

TFA headline is epic troll (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35686688)

"BA jihadist relied on Jesus-era encryption"

hahahahahahaha "Jesus-era" hahahahahaha

Two types of cryptography (3, Insightful)

Karellen (104380) | more than 3 years ago | (#35686698)

According to Bruce Schneier, there are two types of cryptography - that which will keep secrets safe from your little sister, and that which will keep secrets safe from your government.

I don't think this counts as either.

Fail.

Re:Two types of cryptography (1)

fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) | more than 3 years ago | (#35686946)

The problem, of course, is that even people who are quite good(and this guy obviously wasn't) have the nasty habit of coming up with ciphers that they cannot attack and mistaking them for secure ones...

Re:Two types of cryptography (1)

mlush (620447) | more than 3 years ago | (#35687054)

The problem, of course, is that even people who are quite good(and this guy obviously wasn't) have the nasty habit of coming up with ciphers that they cannot attack and mistaking them for secure ones...

And Boys and Girls this is why you don't use a crypto system that has not published the full details as to how it works!-)

Re:Two types of cryptography (1)

L4t3r4lu5 (1216702) | more than 3 years ago | (#35687072)

Crypto is only as secure as the guy with the key.

Re:Two types of cryptography (4, Funny)

zippthorne (748122) | more than 3 years ago | (#35687154)

in this case, it wasn't even that secure...

He chose a cipher that millions of people crack every day on their way to work, before moving on the the more difficult crossword puzzle....

Re:Two types of cryptography (1)

meerling (1487879) | more than 3 years ago | (#35687084)

We played with the alphabet shift 'secret' messages in second grade, the teachers taught it to us.

By the time I was in high school I'd invented an ugly bit manipulation that had almost certainly been created and thrown away by real cryptologists and cypherpunks decades ago. But it was fun for messing with my friends, none of whom were the previously mentioned cypherpunks or cryptologists.

These days I'd use one made by an expert rather than my weak attempts. Anything that'll take a server farm more than a week to decode is strong enough. I don't have anything to hide, I just don't like people sneaking peeks at my undies, so I want it to be a lot more inconvenient for them than for me.

I can imagine some spook having spent a week or more decoding an encrypted file I was carrying around, then suddenly pounding his head on the keyboard in frustration as he reads the results of decryption, some poorly written short story I'm too disappointed in to show to anyone, but too invested to just throw it away. Or maybe it just contains the password for the encryption and a reminder to not forget it...

Re:Two types of cryptography (5, Insightful)

namgge (777284) | more than 3 years ago | (#35687252)

There are two types of cyptography: one that allows the Government to use brute force to break the code, and one that requires the Government to use brute force to break you.

must be less secure (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35686700)

Security through obscurity at its finest.

mpm (1)

neokushan (932374) | more than 3 years ago | (#35686704)

ib ib, zpv dbo'u sfbe uijt!

Re:mpm (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35686758)

zpv(sf!epjoh!ju!xspoh"

Re:mpm (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35686860)

yes i can!

Re:mpm (1)

hldn (1085833) | more than 3 years ago | (#35686868)

uibu't xibu zpv uijol gsjfoe.

mpwf zb,
v.t. hpwfsonfou

Re:mpm (1)

neokushan (932374) | more than 3 years ago | (#35687020)

pi opft!

Re:mpm (1)

troon (724114) | more than 3 years ago | (#35686928)

Xibu jt nptu tvsqsjtjoh jt uibu J dbo, boe xsjuf b sfqmz jo nz ifbe!

Re:mpm (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35687208)

Rirelbar xabjf EBG13 vf guvegrra gvzrf zber frpher guna n zrer 1 yrggre fhofgvghgvba.

Re:mpm (1)

Hazel Bergeron (2015538) | more than 3 years ago | (#35687214)

Frobnitz! Frobnosia! Prob Fset Cond! Zmemqb Intbl Foo!

Rubber dinghy rapids! (1)

SteeldrivingJon (842919) | more than 3 years ago | (#35686706)

No lines!

Silly terrorists... (4, Insightful)

the_raptor (652941) | more than 3 years ago | (#35686710)

... everyone knows you don't roll your own crypto.

I guess this is further support for the theory that the ignorant have too much confidence in what they think they know.

Re:Silly terrorists... (2)

trifish (826353) | more than 3 years ago | (#35687104)

Shhh. Terrorists should actually keep rolling their own crypto. Many innocent lives will be saved. ;-)

Re:Silly terrorists... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35687174)

>>... everyone knows you don't roll your own crypto.

Idiot codes, the most secure form of encrypted communication, are only secure if you roll them yourself...

Finally a good one! (1)

PingXao (153057) | more than 3 years ago | (#35686714)

I dread coming to slashdot every year on this date. For several years it was cringe-worthy so the last couple I made it a point to not even bother. Glad I decided to have a look this morning! Always good to start the day with a LOL.

Re:Finally a good one! (2)

iDuck (1435169) | more than 3 years ago | (#35686728)

The biggest lol is that it's true.. (see date of original article)

Actual text of encrypted message - try to crack it (1)

paiute (550198) | more than 3 years ago | (#35686734)

Etsay emthay upway ethay ombbay, Abdulway. Ethay amelcay iesflay atway idnightmay.

Re:Actual text of encrypted message - try to crack (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35686762)

NSA dude: Eway etgay ignalsay.

Re:Actual text of encrypted message - try to crack (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35687060)

Abdul to NSA dude: ouyay avehay onay hancecay otay urvivesay. akemay ouryay imetay!

Yemen-based al Qaida leader.. is stupid (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35686736)

"No, dude, seriously. The non-believers know about that one two."
Problem solved.

In this case it works out well for the good-guys, but failure to talk someone else's language is a problem you see a lot in I.T.

Is the person's concern irrelevant? Maybe.
Does the person's irrelevant concern apply equally to their broken system? Maybe.

Re:Yemen-based al Qaida leader.. is stupid (1)

SharpFang (651121) | more than 3 years ago | (#35686920)

whoops. sorry for troll mod misclick. Posting to undo.

IT? (1)

moco (222985) | more than 3 years ago | (#35686784)

TFA says he was an IT employee at British Airways. He was a dumb terrorist but also, a lousy IT professional, thinking that his substitution cypher was better than AES.

As they say: even worse than an idiot, is an idiot with initiative.

Is this a bot test? (1)

Adayse (1983650) | more than 3 years ago | (#35686792)

Imagine that a significant percentage of ./ is sock-puppets and bots. It's possible.. Posting an otherwise reasonable comment today, or yesterday is a fair indication of your true nature and a bug in your code.

ROT 13 - Rotational 13 (0)

Grindalf (1089511) | more than 3 years ago | (#35686806)

Regarding the ROT 13 story, this was not an active subvert developed by MIA to "confuse, dismay and throw into disarray,” the Islamic Militia who were subjected to food supply control based forced Christian conversion last year by the Red Cross. Please treat this story as true as of this moment. Thank you for your time ...

Re:ROT 13 - Rotational 13 (1)

rhook (943951) | more than 3 years ago | (#35686836)

You are off your rocker. For one thing the Red Crescent is the Islamic version of the Red Cross.

Kaffirs know about AES so it must be less secure. (1)

rhook (943951) | more than 3 years ago | (#35686824)

I wonder if anyone informed him that 256-bit AES has about the same number of possible combinations as there are atoms in the universe? Although he probably would have used a password that you could crack with a dictionary attack. These people truly are stuck in ancient times.

Invented by Jews. (0)

antifoidulus (807088) | more than 3 years ago | (#35686842)

Many encryption algorithms/protocols were invented by Jews, which obviously would be an anathema to the jihadists.

Re:Invented by Jews. (3, Funny)

rhook (943951) | more than 3 years ago | (#35687074)

We should rename encryption "bacon", then they'd never use it.

Re:Invented by Jews. (1)

omglolbah (731566) | more than 3 years ago | (#35687098)

Mmmm, bacon!

Idiots (1)

Poorcku (831174) | more than 3 years ago | (#35686846)

How about using a one-time pad. It is unbreakable (in a theoretical setting, of course). But better than 40BC tech.

Re:Idiots (2)

ShadowRangerRIT (1301549) | more than 3 years ago | (#35686904)

Because if terrorists had a reliable key distribution network, they'd already be an army, not a loosely organized criminal band with minimal transportation infrastructure? One time pads are only as good as your distribution system. And the moment you run out of key bits and reuse them, your system is broken.

Re:Idiots (1)

mlush (620447) | more than 3 years ago | (#35687138)

Because if terrorists had a reliable key distribution network, they'd already be an army, not a loosely organized criminal band with minimal transportation infrastructure? One time pads are only as good as your distribution system. And the moment you run out of key bits and reuse them, your system is broken.

Could a book code be used?

Re:Idiots (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35686906)

Actually, you don't even need to meet exchange the OTP. All you need is to agree on a common source of the OTP which can be a news site or an international newspaper... "Use the article on 3rd page as the OTP".

Infinite regress (1)

Kupfernigk (1190345) | more than 3 years ago | (#35687134)

So how do you encrypt your "common source" message. Ooops...

In John Le Carré's A Perfect Spy the Soviet agent gives his British mole recruit a copy of Grimmelshausen's Simplicissimus before he even recruits him. This becomes a limitation because sigint eventually reveals that the communication with the mole has to be based on a single one time cipher. (Le Carré is in a position to know about this stuff.)

I have head of (1)

dicobalt (1536225) | more than 3 years ago | (#35686864)

security through obscurity but never security through religion. Or wait, no, nm yea I have.

was it a good idea to publish this? (1)

hcdejong (561314) | more than 3 years ago | (#35686878)

Usually, transparency is a good thing. In this case though, wouldn't the smart play have been to let sleeping dogs lie? Karim can't have been the only terrorist to rely on breakable encryption.

Re:was it a good idea to publish this? (1)

ShadowRangerRIT (1301549) | more than 3 years ago | (#35686912)

The Venn Diagram of terrorists who use crap encryption and those who read Slashdot has no overlap.

He was right, just took the wrong algorithm (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35686902)

A slightly different application would have made this the strongest encryption ever.

I had better when I was 16 (3, Interesting)

no known priors (1948918) | more than 3 years ago | (#35686908)

I read this story a few days ago. What strikes me is that I had invented better a encryption scheme when I was 16. See, I had read somewhere that certain letters (such as 'e') show up more times in English than other letters (such as 'x'). I also read that using frequency analysis [wikipedia.org] is one way you can break single letter cipers. So, I did something that I was (was) rather proud of.

I found out the most frequent letters, and instead instead of having single letter ciper, I replaced each one with more than one other character. So, 'e' might have been '6', 'j' and 'q', while 's' in this scheme might have been '3', 'f' and 'o' (or whatever). I was attempting to foil any frequency analysis that someone (who I don't know) might have done on my secret messages.

Only trouble was, the first version of the program had a bug. I think it was underscore was replaced with the wrong character in the decryption phase. Once I caught that though, it was all good.

Of course, a couple of years latter I learnt about PGP and GPG and RSA and all that good stuff. I no longer rely on home-built faulty encryption that requires both parties to have the code to decrypted the message.

Ironic given the role of Arabs in history of crypt (3, Interesting)

langelgjm (860756) | more than 3 years ago | (#35686960)

Yeah, one day in undergrad I decided I wanted to make my own polyalphabetic substitution cipher, so I sat down and basically reinvented the Vignere cipher [wikipedia.org] (actually the Gronsfeld cipher, which is identical except that the key is numeric. Also FWIW I was not in a technical major).

This story is made ironic by the fact that the Arabs were responsible for many historic advances in the history of pre-modern cryptography. [wikipedia.org]

Re:Ironic given the role of Arabs in history of cr (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35687056)

Also FWIW I was not in a technical major

This story is made ironic by the fact that the Arabs were responsible for many historic advances in the history of pre-modern cryptography. [wikipedia.org]

I guess you weren't in a geography major either, since calling a Bangladeshi Arab is... weird.

Re:Ironic given the role of Arabs in history of cr (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35687080)

The Arabs weren't. These advances were done by the people conquered by the Arabs. It's an easy mistake to do, but a mistake nonetheless; being invaded by the arabs is actually one of the worst thing that could happen to your country in terms of scientific advance.

Wow (1)

prefec2 (875483) | more than 3 years ago | (#35686918)

Is this the April-fools-day message? If not. It has been proven that terrorists can be as stupid as governments. What a relieve.

Re:Wow (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35687240)

He didn't send the message as a PDF file with black bars covering the text, though.

This shows the IQ level of your average radical (1)

Viol8 (599362) | more than 3 years ago | (#35686940)

So while they're certainly dangerous they're not the world toppling danger they're made out to be. Far more dangerous are the corrupt governments around the world with proper armies, proper weapons and very smart intelligence people.

Re:This shows the IQ level of your average radical (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35686998)

Do you actually believe this story?

The facts in the story are controlled by a gov, in a story which the gov in question has an interest.

Why would anyone with two brain cells not question this connection?

Re:This shows the IQ level of your average radical (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35687176)

Meanwhile the US uses the TSA to defend itself against them.

There's many a way of being an eeejit.

Irony (1)

MikeRT (947531) | more than 3 years ago | (#35686944)

They'd rather use a cipher created by ancient pagans than one created by a nominally Christian culture (Christianity being allegedly a protected, semi-respected religion under Sharia).

Re:Irony (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35687014)

Imagine that. Muslims are a bunch of shitballs. Who woulda guessed it?

Lol. The enemy of my nation is stupid! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35686966)

If you believe this story, you are a fucking idiot.

Obvious propaganda.

Anyone interesting enough to be an actual threat is not this dumb. And if the gov had been scaring you about idiots like this before? Maybe you should not listen to the gov so much...

the real reason they rejected sophisticated softwr (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35686976)

is that the guy who suggested it was 'Anlaki'

There is no cure for stupidity.... (1)

macson_g (1551397) | more than 3 years ago | (#35686992)

There is no cure for stupidity....

Re:There is no cure for stupidity.... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35687120)

...other than death.

Offensive word "Kaffir" (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35686994)

The word "Kaffir" is extremely offensive in South Africa where it was once used by whites to refer to blacks. I suggest updating the article to exclude this word to protect you from Julius Malema who vowed to bring down twitter. He might just put his sights on slashdot.

http://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/africa/ill-close-down-twitter-says-ridiculed-anc-youth-league-leader-2125687.html

Re:Offensive word "Kaffir" (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35687086)

It's about as offensive as the "N"-word in the USA.

Guess what, the arab traders used it before the whites.

So next time I want to tell Julius precisely what I think of him, I just call him a bloody non-islamite. Win-win.

But Julius putting his sights on /. might turn out to be the longest-running April fool we might witness. Perhaps I should fire off an e-mail to alert the guy? Since I doubt that he or any of his loyal bootl.... err, followers might read here.

Maths from Islam (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35687006)

It pretty much all went downhill for this guy once muslims taught christians about basic concepts like zero and algebra....

Surely his history book covered this in the 'awesomeness of historical Islam' section?

--Q

Re:Maths from Islam (1)

quarrel (194077) | more than 3 years ago | (#35687024)

Doh. Login fail :(

--Q

Re:Maths from Islam (1)

east coast (590680) | more than 3 years ago | (#35687064)

Zero predates Islam and Christianity.

Re:Maths from Islam (1)

MichaelSmith (789609) | more than 3 years ago | (#35687114)

Yes, in fact it was right there at the beginning...

Some old ciphers can be pretty secure, but... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35687046)

Some old ciphers can be pretty secure, but for the fact their key space means a computer (and not even a powerful one, your mobile phone is more than a match for colossus these days) can brute force them in a matter of seconds. But in Vietnam POW camps they used a playfair modification called tap code to communicate in the camp without the camp guards ever cracking it, and the security of that is nil, even if they keyed the grids, it only takes a bit of pairwise frequency analysis to solve.

Re:Some old ciphers can be pretty secure, but... (1)

MichaelSmith (789609) | more than 3 years ago | (#35687130)

If your message is easily confused with noise then it might be fairly safe.

unconvicted holycost terrorists control all media (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35687128)

wholly owned by the chosen ones murderous media mogality; the bad history channel? bill nye? the depopulation channel includead. eugenics today channel? the tax/kill the poor channel? fake news world wide channels? 1800 god channels? etc.. we must focus, on the images? single digit? that's how many we're supposed to have?

Thank God (1)

ledow (319597) | more than 3 years ago | (#35687168)

Thank God most terrorists / criminals are this dumb. Otherwise we'd probably all be dead.

If you *want* to talk secretly, describing messages that will end up with you in jail if they are discovered, use something a bit better than a schoolboy cipher. Seriously, I was doing better than that when I was 11/12 and programming.

When I have idle moments, I try to "counter-think" terrorists in order to see what I would do if I were one. Almost all of the things I come up with are less risk, more impact, cheaper and easier than the things that are reported in the news. Thankfully, it seems that terrorists, on average, consist mainly of dumb people who can't do that.

It's like the criminals who break into banks and don't covre their faces. Catching them is actually less fun than letting them do the crime and seeing how they try to get away with it.

Just goes to show... (4, Insightful)

ZDRuX (1010435) | more than 3 years ago | (#35687194)

This just goes to show how the whole Patriot Act has nothing to do with catching terrorists. They can barely communicate effectively, most of them just set their underwear on fire, and the rest live in far off lands, yet the nanny state is always local, ever present, and ever watchful... give me a break!

Excel for Terrorists? (3, Funny)

richie2000 (159732) | more than 3 years ago | (#35687222)

I always thought the Excel menu option "terrorist cell" was a bit suspect.

Kaffir != non believers. (1, Informative)

140Mandak262Jamuna (970587) | more than 3 years ago | (#35687246)

Infidels are the non believers, usually restricted to the Jews and Christians because they are the people of the Book, but they just don't accept Mohammad. Kaffirs are more like pagans, heathens, idolators. Then there are najis, the dirty. Then there are apostates. The ranking is muslim > infidels > kaffirs > najis > apostates.
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