CyberNews Briefs

New Cyber Warning: ISIS Or Al-Qaeda Could Attack Using ‘Dirty Bomb’

Lt.-Gen Vincent Stewart, former deputy chief of U.S. Cyber Command and director of the Pentagon’s Defense Intelligence Agency, warns that the West continues to underestimate al-Qaeda or ISIS’ cyberattack capabilities. He says that while much of the cyber threat has rightly been focused on Russia, China, North Korea, and Iran, it is time to broaden our scope. Stewart notes that if terror groups begin purchasing cyberattack capabilities, swathes of critical infrastructure could be at risk. Traditional actors like Russia and China play the balance between impact and implications, at the risk of escalating too far, but terrorists do not operate under the same constraints.

In an era of persistent engagement in cyberspace, he explains, “We have to respond. It doesn’t need to be high end. Just enough to say that we are on the playing field.” Earlier this year, the New Yorker reported, “DOD issued a strategic plan that not only confirmed the existence of cyber weapons but declared its commitment to using them ‘to advance U.S. interests’ and ‘defend forward’.”

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Cindy Martinez

Cindy Martinez

Cindy Martinez has spent her career focusing on cutting edge and complex issues at the forefront of national security. She served 5 years at the Department of Homeland Security where she advised senior leadership on cybersecurity and emerging technology trends. She also negotiated policies and recommended solutions in order to create new Federal initiatives and evaluate the U.S. Government’s effectiveness in areas such as artificial intelligence, offensive cyber operations, vulnerability disclosure, and the national security space domain. She is an analyst with OODA LLC , which publishes and