LONDON: Al-Qaeda activists trying to download bomb-making instructions from its online magazine, Inspire, were on Friday greeted with a garbled recipe for cupcakes after British intelligence agencies reportedly hacked into the site.
According to media reports, the hacking was carried out by the MI6 and the GCHQ (Government Communications Headquarters) agency to disrupt al-Qaeda’s bid to recruit potential “lone wolf” agents.
“When [al-Qaeda] followers tried to download the 67-page colour magazine, instead of instructions about how to ‘Make a bomb in the Kitchen of your Mom’ by ‘The AQ Chef’ they were greeted with garbled computer code. The code, which had been inserted into the original magazine by the British intelligence hackers, was actually a web page of recipes for ‘The Best Cupcakes in America’ published by the Ellen DeGeneres chat show,” The Daily Telegraph reported.
Declaring that “the little cupcake is big again,” the new webpage offered recipe for the Mojito Cupcake “made of white rum cake and draped in vanilla buttercream,” and the Rocky Road Cupcake describing them as “satisfying” and reviving “memories of childhood.”
The original page had instructions for making a lethal pipe bomb using sugar, match heads and a miniature lightbulb attached to a timer.
The hackers also removed articles by Osama bin Laden, his deputy Ayman al-Zawahiri and a piece called “What to expect in Jihad,” said the newspaper.
When the magazine, said to be produced by the radical Yemeni preacher Anwar al-Awlaki and his associates, was launched, U.S. government officials said: “The packaging of this magazine may be slick, but the contents are as vile as the authors.”
British security sources were reported as saying that intelligence agencies would continue to target terrorists’ online outlets.