Washington: In an indication that al Qaeda may turn to cyber-warfare against the US, a newly-revealed video urges the group’s followers to launch cyber attacks on Western targets.
US lawmakers have described the message as "alarming".
An al Qaeda operative, in the six-minute video, compares vulnerabilities in essential American computer networks to the flaws in aviation security before the September 11 attack, reported ABC News.
The video further calls upon Muslims "with expertise in this domain to target the websites and information systems of big companies and government agencies."
Obtained by the FBI in 2011, the video was released today by the Senate Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs.
"This is the clearest evidence we`ve seen that al Qaeda and other terrorist groups want to attack the cyber systems of our critical infrastructure," Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee chairman Joe Lieberman (Independent-Connecticut), said in a statement.
"Al Qaeda and Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula are focused on cyber warfare because it can be carried out, if you have somebody smart enough, at very little expense," Lieberman added.
"This video is troubling as it urges al Qaeda adherents to launch a cyber attack on America," said Senator Susan Collins, R-Maine, the ranking member on the committee. "It`s clear that al Qaeda is exploring all means to do us harm and this is evidence that our critical infrastructure is a target."
The senators said the Homeland Security Department took action against 100,000 cyber incidents in 2011. They said that there was a five-fold increase in the number of attacks aimed at industrial control systems.
"There has been a huge increase in the number of cyber attacks against our country in the last two years. It would be naive for us to think that Al Qaeda is not responsible for at least some of those attacks," Collins said.
Without getting into classified information, Lieberman confirmed that there has been a spike in cyber intrusions, which is believed to originate from Iran.
(With ANI inputs)