Cyberwar Expert: Al-Qaeda ‘Too Stupid’ to Launch Cyber Attacks

Downplays Chances of 'Sabotage' Attacks From Abroad

British cyberwar expert Dr. Thomas Rid testified to the British Public Accounts Committee today, downplaying the chances of a sabotage cyber-attack from abroad.

“Al-Qaeda are too stupid and China doesn’t want to do it,” Rid said, noting that China is almost entirely interested in cyber espionage, not trying to damage overseas infrastructure just because it can.

As for al-Qaeda, Rid claims the group lacks the formal book-learning to actually use potential exploits to not only get in to internet connected infrastructure but actually do it serious harm.

“It requires intelligence about the targets you are trying to penetrate,” Rid noted, though whether al-Qaeda can gain that capability remains an open question, and one that is likely to be used to justify ongoing spending hikes on “cyber defense.”

Author: Jason Ditz

Jason Ditz is senior editor of