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 Suspect Claims Al Qaeda Hacked Microsoft - Expert
 2001 The Washington Post Company

By Brian McWilliams, Newsbytes
17 Dec 2001, 2:08 PM CST

 A suspected member of the Al Qaeda terrorist network claimed that Islamic militants 
infiltrated Microsoft and sabotaged the company's Windows XP operating system, 
according to a source close to Indian police.
Mohammad Afroze Abdul Razzak, arrested by Mumbai (Bombay) police Oct. 2, has admitted 
to helping plot terrorist attacks in India, Britain and Australia, India's Hindustan 
Times newspaper reported Saturday.

During interrogation, Afroze, 25, also claimed that a member or members of Osama bin 
Laden's Al Qaeda network, posing as computer programmers, were able to gain employment 
at Microsoft and attempted to plant "trojans, trapdoors, and bugs in Windows XP," 
according to Ravi Visvesvaraya Prasad, a New Delhi information systems and 
telecommunication consultant.

Prasad, moderator of an Internet mailing list on south Asia security and information 
warfare, told Newsbytes that Afroze made the claims in a police confession.

Officials in the Mumbai police commissioner's office were not immediately available 
for comment.

Afroze has told Indian authorities that he was part of a team of Al Qaeda terrorists 
that planned to hijack an aircraft in London on Sept. 11 and crash it into the British 
House of Commons or into London's Tower Bridge, according to the Hindustan Times, 
which obtained parts of Afroze's confession.

British intelligence officials have dismissed the claims, according to a report last 
week in the Guardian, a British newspaper.

A defense attorney hired by Afroze's father, a tailor by profession, reportedly asked 
the court to allow Afroze to receive a psychiatric examination but was rejected.

Afroze, who is scheduled to provide a formal confession before a Mumbai court on 
Tuesday, told the magistrate Friday that he does not wish legal representation and is 
mentally sound, according to the Times of India.

Microsoft spokesman Jim Desler said Afroze's claims about the company were "bizarre 
and unsubstantiated and should be treated skeptically."

According to Desler, Microsoft has rigorous processes in place during the development 
of Windows to ensure the security and integrity of source code.

Microsoft launched Windows XP in late October. While the company has already issued 
security patches for the software, no evidence of malicious code in the operating 
system has been reported.

Under interrogation, Afroze also warned Mumbai police that Al Qaeda was planning an 
attack on India's parliament complex in New Delhi, the Hindustan Times reported.

On Thursday, terrorists stormed the Indian Parliament with grenades and guns, killing 
seven people and injuring at least 20. The five attackers were killed in the ensuing 
battle with security forces, according to The Washington Post.

Afroze also told investigators that the team planned a similar attack on Rialto 
Towers, the tallest building in Australia, according to Australia's Herald Sun 

Afroze, who hails from a poor section of Mumbai, reportedly received training as a 
pilot in Australia, the U.S. and the U.K. No information on his technical education 
was immediately available.

The Times of India reported last week that "official sources" believe Afroze is "very 
close" to Al Qaeda but that authorities find some of his claims inconsistent and "too 
theatrical to believe."

The Mumbai Police Cyber Crime Investigation Cell is at http://www.ccicmumbai.com .

Prasad's South Asia Security and Info War list is archived at 
http://groups.yahoo.com/group/c4i .

Reported by Newsbytes, http://www.newsbytes.com .

14:08 CST

 2001 The Washington Post Company

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