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The IT capabilities of Bin Laden

By robo_dev ·
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It has been reported that 'hundreds' of specialists are digging through the dozens of computer hard drives recovered from Bin Laden's compound.

I assume he ran Windows? What version?

Did he use project management software or perhaps a DBMS to track and manage his various tasks and projects?

What video surveillance system did he use? I would think the video footage of two blackhawk helicopters landing and a Navy Seal team deploying in your front yard would be neat to watch. I would assume they grabbed the DVR with that footage on it.

Whole disk encryption?

Anti-virus software?

Of course his house did not have voice or broadband service, but perhaps he was tethering a laptop to a satellite phone? Slow as molasses, but secure from surveillance.

A random thought would be if you're the world's most wanted bad guy, you would perhaps install some sort of thermite-drive-melter on all your data, and put it in a room where it all goes boom unless you enter the correct code in 15 seconds or so? It does not seem like he had a good BCP plan if all his data was captured.

Does Al Qaeda have an IT staff? A help desk?

I would suppose if an IT guy were to screw something up, the punishment would involve much more than a bad performance review?

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Just pure conjecture

by JamesRL In reply to The IT capabilities of Bi ...

I would bet that Al Qaeda distrusts computers and use them as little as possible.

I would think they probably never connected to the internet from the compound, even from satellite phones, for fear that NSA pattern matching might flag a large amount of encrypted traffic originating in one place.

Instead, I think they do things on laptops, and USB keys. Couriers take the USB keys and go to internet cafes in bigger cities many miles away, and send messages and files, probably encrypted with PGP. They would also use code words for operations and operatives, assuming that eventually some of the files would be intercepted. Dates would only be referred to obliquely.

I do recall that some Al Qaeda laptops were captured during the initial invasion of Afghanistan.

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They did find 'hundreds' of USB flash drives

by robo_dev In reply to Just pure conjecture

Therefore a way to track terrorists is not to follow the money, but to see who buys a lot of flash drives. :)

"The US assault force that killed bin Laden hauled away about five computers, 10 hard drives and more than 100 storage devices from his hideout in Pakistan, a US official said."

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You can bet they didn't just boot those laptops...

by AnsuGisalas In reply to They did find 'hundreds' ...

I think a demolitions expert disassembled them, just in case there'd be thermite surprises.

Draconic security measures are hard to deal with... laptops are hard to lock up in a self-destruct vault - if you want to actually use them
He should've gone for the Private Cloud - kept the data on a server in a self-destruct vault, and pull the data in and out of there using dumb terminals. Just have to make sure the dumb terminals flush their cache well enough.

Good for the world he didn't, though.

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Thats not so different

by JamesRL In reply to You can bet they didn't j ...

From some organizations I know....

At one place I dealt with, you turned in your laptops HD every day. If you had to take work home you got a special work away HD. All important files were on the server only, and the server was in a very secure location. The laptops were still encrypted, just because they could, and I guess in case someone wanted to comb the cache for cookies and other info. If you took work home it had to be loaded onto a secure portable device.

And this wasn't a spy agency....

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Don't tell me...

by AnsuGisalas In reply to Thats not so different

a Tax agency? Who else could be so draconic?
But government agencies are often relatively inept, so maybe a company with a hardcore R&D component is more likely.
After all, the secrets they keep ARE their bottom line.

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Intriguing

by NexS In reply to They did find 'hundreds' ...

That it is. 5 computers AND 10 hard drives, or does each computer have two hard drives? Maybe they were gettign their RAID on! Nothing worse than losing your terror gantt charts due to file corruption!

What throws me is why they'd keep hundreds of 'storage devices' in one place...

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Two possibilities... or a combination of the two.

by AnsuGisalas In reply to Intriguing

Either they had external HDs, or someone in the SEALs has a very dept hand at removing HDs from desktops and servers. That's one IT guy you don't want to mess with

As for all the memory sticks, they probably had a logistics bottleneck problem - one of the drawbacks of being hunted by half the world's intelligence agencies.
So, on one hand they had to keep a stockpile, in case they have a few months of delivery failure, and on the other hand they might have had a pileup due to lack of outgoing couriers.

Last thing is, they might have sent out the things in multiply redundant sets, each courier carrying the identical sets of sticks, so that if one guy drops, the package still gets there.
The couriers probably carried the sticks inside their suicide charges, that way the evidence doesn't fall into enemy hands so easily - especially if it's booby trapped and has a dead man button or vitals monitor.

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You've got all the answers

by NexS In reply to Two possibilities... or a ...

...Should we be worried?

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Only if the bad guys offer me more money than the good...

by AnsuGisalas In reply to You've got all the answer ...
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