Terrorist hopefuls looking for instructions on how to make things go boom may only find recipes for sugar bombs, thanks to a cyber attack by MI6 and SIGINT, both British intelligence agencies. Welcome to "Operation Cupcake."
The hack was in response to a 67-page color magazine that was going to be put out by Al-Qaeda to rope in "lone wolf" recruits, or dissidents interested in terrorism but not a part of the greater network. Originally, articles with catchy titles such as "Make a bomb in the Kitchen of your Mom" by "The AQ Chef" and "What to expect in Jihad" were to appear in the magazine, as well as missives by Osama bin Laden and his deputies.
Instead, readers were treated to "The Best Cupcakes in America," put out by Ellen DeGeneres' show, which included instructions on how to make mojito and rocky road cupcakes rather than pipe bombs. Still lethal, sure, but only to one's sweet tooth.
According to The Telegraph, a U.S. operation was also in the works but blocked by the CIA:
A Pentagon operation, backed by Gen Keith Alexander, the head of US Cyber Command, was blocked by the CIA which argued that it would expose sources and methods and disrupt an important source of intelligence, according to a report in America.
However the Daily Telegraph understands an operation was launched from Britain instead.
Al-Qaeda was able to reissue the magazine two weeks later and has gone on to produce four further editions but one source said British intelligence was continuing to target online outlets publishing the magazine because it is viewed as such a powerful propaganda tool.
The impact of the operation is still unclear, though worry is starting to crop up from yours truly that the terrorists could roll this new knowledge into, say, a cupcake cannon. Think of the delicious devastation, folks!