] Thursday 25 December 2003, 17:13 Makka Time, 14:13 GMT
] Saudis swoop on DIY bomb guide
] Authorities in the kingdom have arrested five people after
] raiding computer shops selling compact disks containing
] hidden bomb-making instructions, a local newspaper reported
] on Thursday.
] Police were questioning four owners of computer shops in the
] southern Jazan region and a fifth person believed to have
] supplied the CDs to the shops, Al-Watan newspaper said.
] Officials were not immediately available for comment.
] The daily said some of the shop owners might not have known
] about the bomb-making tutorial files hidden on the CDs. Only
] someone with technical knowledge would be able to find the
] files.

That was quoted from:
and the same story, almost verbatim, was carried by Reuters.

 1) This is not entirely unprecedented.  Al Qaeda for years has
    been hiding recruitment and training footage in the middle
    of otherwise-innocuous video tape cassettes.  
 2) OTOH using a commercial distribution channel bespeaks a 
    certain boldness ... somebody is "thinking big".  
 3) Also: as a rule, anything you do with computers generates 
    more headlines than doing the same thing with lower-tech methods.
    This is significant to terrorists, who are always looking for
    headlines.  Conversely it is significant to us, who have much
    to lose when our not-so-fearless leaders over-react.
 4) One wonders how many CDs were distributed before the operation
    was terminated.
 5) I wonder how the authorities found out about it.
 6) The article speaks of technical skill ... I wonder how 
    much technical skill was required.  Probably not much.
 7) Did it rely entirely on security-by-obscurity, or was there 
    crypto involved also?
    (The latter is possible;  whatever leak told the authorities
    where to look could also have told them the passphrase...
    but the article didn't mention crypto.)

I suspect there is a lot more to this story......

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