back to article Don’t panic over cyber-terrorism: Daesh-bags still at script kiddie level

There’s no need to panic about the threat of a major online terrorist attack, since ISIS and their allies are all talk and no trousers. That's according to the former head of the US National Counterterrorism Center. Matt Olsen, who has also served as the NSA’s top lawyer, told the RSA security conference today that the levels …

  1. Pascal Monett Silver badge

    "saner heads should prevail"

    Unfortunately at this point in time, there are no more sane heads in the White House.

    I guess it's time to panic.

    1. Anonymous Coward

      Re: "saner heads should prevail"

      Not to worry. President Trump never goes anywhere without a service officer carrying "the football" with America's nuclear launch codes within a few rooms of his location.....Oh crap...That's not comforting, is it?

      1. wikkity

        Re: "saner heads should prevail"

        I heard that the football was now activate by a twitter bot. Think it was activate by the phrase

        (Russia||N Korea||China) will pay for the wall

        (NATO country) will pay for defence

        1. wikkity

          Re: "saner heads should prevail"

          Maybe my d key was not working but I manged to miss the d in activated twice there!

        2. Baldy50

          Re: "saner heads should prevail"

          Don't judge me too harshly, I read all sorts of crap mooching around.

    2. mr. deadlift

      Re: "saner heads should prevail"

      my thoughts exactly.

      clown's running the show and utterly dismissive of the intelligence community.

      yeah, i'd be bloody scared too, low level threat or not.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: "saner heads should prevail"

        The news conf yesterday was totally jaw dropping. The man is, like it or not, the head of state of the most powerful nation on earth. His performance was that of a petulant, spoiled teenager. When the disaster of his election came to be, I was hoping that once he'd got into office, he'd calm down and start behaving like the President of the United States. Wrong.

      2. amanfromMars 1 Silver badge

        British Brainwashing Corporation ….. A Palace Barracks Operation for Holywoods targeting Hollywoods

        clown's running the show and utterly dismissive of the intelligence community. ….. mr. deadlift

        That’s pretty close to being a serious information breach and international threat to national security agreements for it almost outs the Crown as being leading circus clown, mr. deadlift.

        Royalty certain appears to have lost the knack of leading intelligently and generously from the front and centre with the right and left enthralled and in tow and toeing the preferred line with all of the current sub-prime performances for the courting of popular base opinion.

        The news these days has one wondering what imagines itself in command with editorial control of media tales to present a global picture for viewers to follow and believe is not prior scripted and a reality which is not virtually created and remotely presented via digital means and memes.

  2. Oengus


    At some point, there will be an online attack and the media – and parts of Washington DC – are going to go nuts about it and this will be the justification for the extension of Section 702 of America's Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act.

  3. gnasher729 Silver badge

    "They could conceivably hire mercenaries" - what sane person would deal with them? If you did work for them, surely they would find an excuse to cut your head off when you're done?

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Actually, I expect that ISIS is OK with the unusual concept of honor among thieves. Especially since a successful cyber-attack would be something they would want to do again, and killing the old help makes it harder to convince the new help.

      Now, if you agreed to conduct a cyberattack for ISIS and then screwed it up royally, THEN I would suggest that it is time to grow eyeballs in the back of your head.

      1. bombastic bob Silver badge

        "Now, if you agreed to conduct a cyberattack for ISIS and then screwed it up royally, THEN I would suggest that it is time to grow eyeballs in the back of your head."

        Or, just ROB THEM BLIND, and not do ANYTHING at all. That would be laughable, all the way to the bank!

    2. patrickstar

      How do you think they get a large part of their funding? By doing business (oil, looted goods, etc) with "outsiders". Since they are able to keep doing this, I assume it's not part of their usual protocol for business transactions to kill the other party.

  4. Oh Homer

    "we are very resilient as a country"

    Yeah well, apart from being $20 trillion in debt, having entire cities go bankrupt and collapse into a pile of rubble, and having the highest incarceration rate in the world, not to mention the highest incidence of mass shootings and cybercrime.

    On the other hand, they're great at bombing the shit out of other countries, hence all of the above. Maybe that's what he meant by "resilient".

    1. JLV

      Re: "we are very resilient as a country"

      See, the cool thing @ is that UK and USA are right next to each other on the charts.

      Respectively at 97.8 and 96.6% GDP debt, 2013. Although, by some measures, adding up state and local debt gets the US numbers to 125%.

      Pot calling the kettle black, at least wrt debt?

      For the rest, yeah, you are on firmer ground, I'd say.

      1. Oh Homer

        Re: "Pot calling the kettle black"

        You assume that I'm defending the pot.

        Frankly, both the pot and kettle need to be melted down for scrap.

      2. EnviableOne

        Re: "we are very resilient as a country"

        The problem is most of the US's is held by China, most of UKs debt is held by Allies.

        2013 is some time ago, and since then UKgov have paid down a lot of debt (with profits from share sales in Banks etc.) and reduced the budget deficit considerably.

        whereas Obama couldn't get any deals done on the budget and, with Trump in charge, and crazy schemes like the Wall, I can only see the US debt increasing.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: "we are very resilient as a country"

          >2013 is some time ago, and since then UKgov have paid down a lot of debt (with profits from share sales in Banks etc.) and reduced the budget deficit considerably.

          The UK National debt is currently increasing by about £5,170 per second from £1.82tn. If you include liabilities that figure goes up to around £4.8tn. The level of national debt has increased significantly over the last decade since 2008, and although the deficit has been cut the national debt is expected to rise further over the next few years depending on how optimistic you are on the economy after Brexit.

        2. bombastic bob Silver badge

          Re: "we are very resilient as a country"

          "The problem is most of the US's is held by China"

          I _WONDER_ whose fault THAT is...

    2. wikkity

      Re: "we are very resilient as a country"

      Some might interpret that as the American people will recover from incidents due to their national pride and will bounce back. Some might interpret as Americans don't give a shit about anything else apart from themselves so add it to their vindication. While I sincerely don't want to detract from the absolute atrocity that was 9/11 but there was an surprise amongst many Americans that they are not globally liked. Personally I'd say the former.

      Politically I don't know, never read trumps book, what does he say about handling situations that go south? Go bankrupt maybe and claim a tax deduction against future loses? Might be resilient for staying financially afloat but as a country?

      Debt has nothing to do with resilient, some of the countries on that list with lower debt are much less resilient, I'd certainly prefer to live here than there. In fact debt could enforce you to be more than resilient, if you don't pay people back things can get worse, try owing the tax man or your mortgage provider!

  5. wikkity

    Is this because

    1. They don't need funding because the threat of Russian hackers have established all they funding they need.

    2. A reality check

    3. The internet bandwidth is full of Trumps tweets, reteets and responses that there is no capacity for doing any hacking

  6. Baldy50

    The Monty Python...

    Reference, good man!

  7. amanfromMars 1 Silver badge

    All propaganda/politics are scripted kiddie level attacks on both fiction and reality.

    the levels of online terror we’ve seen have been limited to propaganda and the occasional script-kiddie-level attack that can quickly get them caught.

    Hmmm? Is that POTUS Trump level?

  8. David Glasgow


    I've seen NCIS. Those terr'sts are hacking into allsorts of 'mercan 'mainframes'. And they have spiffy GUIs on their state of the art hackware. A big green box pops up that says "hack successful!"

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Propaganda!

      No problem, so long as two people can type on the keyboard at the same time, we will always be able to track them and decrypt their comms.

  9. Destroy All Monsters Silver badge
    Paris Hilton

    Belittling: ISIS as the daily adorable punching bag?

    Why is El Reg calling the Carefully Grown Friends of the Obama Administration (so unhumanly/cruelly removed from the premises of East Aleppo as reported by "White Helmets") silly names?

    Al-Qaeda is no longer a serious force, he said, both on and offline.

    O'Really, Mr. NSA? Last I heard, the US-Saudi Arabia friendship from hell basically handed over Yemen to the Qaeda for no good reason whatsoever except "who doesn't like to do a regime change bombing". The Qaeda is likely to get hotter under the robes of the Saudi regime soon, it's just poetic justice. Boom Boom!

    Meanwhile Syrian Rebel Gets Life Sentence for Mass Killing Caught on Video (actually seeking asylum in Sweden). Not "moderate" enough, eh? Fine kettle we got ourselves into here, allowing ourselves to be manipulated by neocons and cut-out politicians. Next target: Iran. (Ceterum censeo Russiam esse delendam is of course the permanent refrain)

  10. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Why I AM worried about internet attacks

    -nothing to do with Daesh; it's because the internet wasn't designed with security in mind and yet the corporate world seems intent on connecting world+dog to it via devices and system with security about on a par with a paper bag, on average.

    What really troubles me about this is that it used to be (in my worldview) that corporations, in the main, were generally on the side of the good folk, and the criminals on the bad (aye, I was young and naieve, once upon a time), but these days with so many companies seeming hell bent on making things easy for criminals, one can't help wondering (now I'm a cynical old biddy) whether there are any corporates left on the good side of the line nowadays. Or maybe ethics has acquired another dimension and they're all off in an ethical direction normal folk simply can't readily observe.

  11. Fehu

    Kind of missing the point

    While, yeah, most of the daesh type politically motivated cyber warriors probably couldn't get an entry level job in IT, the script kiddie stuff one can download and run has gotten quite good. So, taking comfort in these facts may not be a wise thing to do.

  12. bombastic bob Silver badge

    "ISIS and their allies are all talk and no trousers"

    Wishful thinking at best. They have MONEY, and black-hats would be willing to do whatever they want in order to get it.

    Hopefully the Trump administration will treat this kind of threat more seriously.

    article: "It may be that the terrorists will hire expert hackers to do the job for them, he speculated"

    Ya THINK? (in my best 'Gibbs' voice from the NCIS TV show)

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