Just imagine the look of surprise on an al Qaeda member’s face when they thought they were loading a tutorial on how to “make a bomb in the kitchen of your mum” but actually got… a recipe for mojito cupcakes.
The British intelligence officers hacked the first English-speaking Jihadist online magazine, Inspire, last year but their cheeky content-swapping mission has only just been made public now. As the story goes, they swapped potentially-destructive bomb-making tutorials with jumbled-up code for the Ellen DeGeneres talkshow website, which contained cupcake recipes from Main Street Cupcakes in Hudson, Ohio. Recipes for delicious-sounding mojito and rocky road cupcakes, which contained the caveat “warning: sugar rush ahead!”
Spanning 67 pages, the CIA described Inspire as “the packaging of this magazine may be slick, but the contents are as vile as the authors”. Initially containing articles by Osama bin Laden and his crew, along with the tantalising read “what to expect in Jihad”, the first issue was sabotaged but that didn’t stop a reissue from being published a fortnight later, along with four more issues.
While it was the British that engaged in cyber-warfare with Inspire, reportedly the CIA was also interested in blocking the magazine – but decided against acting, as it would have stopped one of their sources of information, and exposed their tactics and sources.
Read by al Qaeda supporters in the Arabian Peninsula, it’s unknown whether any of them actually tried making the mojito cupcakes in the hopes baking powder when mixed with caster sugar provided the big bang they were looking for. [The Telegraph and The Guardian]
Image credit: Tarale/Flickr