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Former US Officials Claim IS Aspires to Destructive Cyber-Capabilities

© Sputnik / Andrey Stenin / Go to the photo bankFlag of the Islamic State in the conflict zone
Flag of the Islamic State in the conflict zone - Sputnik International
According to former high ranking officials in the US intelligence communityb the Islamic State terrorist organization does not appear to have gained the offensive capabilities to launch a cyber attack, but it is something they aspire to.

WASHINGTON, January 16 (Sputnik) — The Islamic State terrorist organization does not appear to have gained offensive capabilities to launch a cyber attack, but it is something they aspire to, according to former high ranking officials in the US intelligence community.

“I’ve been surprised that it hasn’t happened yet,” former US Director of both the NSA and CIA Michael Hayden stated at a Thursday conference on US cybersecurity. Questioning the lack of demonstrated IS cyber capabilities, Hayden added, “It would seem to be an easy approach. The cost of entry is low, the ability to disrupt is high, the impact of disruption is high.”

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Hayden stated that while IS has been slow to obtain offensive cyber capabilities, “they’re going to get there.”

Former House Intelligence Committee Chairman Mike Rogers said at the Thursday conference that in the recent period, he observed al-Qaeda-like groups express the intent to develop destructive cyber capabilities.

“When I left [the Congress] two weeks ago, they did not have the capability,” Rogers said of IS capabilities. He noted that he was aware of al-Qaeda and IS “advertising for people with capability” to carry out such attacks, adding, “I know they [IS] have the aspiration.”

The group’s potential capabilities in the cyber domain should continue to be monitored to gauge whether they can “get from the aspirations stage to the operational stage,” Rogers stated.

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IS has been “on the cutting edge” of using social media, Rogers said, targeting a pool of potential recruits who already have some level of technological knowledge. “It takes getting three or four people of the right capability in the room, dedicated to this cause to cause somebody some harm,” the former congressman noted.

On Monday the Islamic State took responsibility for hacking into the social media accounts of US Central Command, but it’s operational military networks were not compromised or disrupted by the hack, according to a US Department of Defense press release earlier this week.

US President Barack Obama introduced a new US cybersecurity initiative this week, saying the hack by IS and recent attacks on the US company Sony Entertainment Pictures, demonstrate the need for the private and public sector to strengthen cybersecurity.


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