Another day, another hack spreading false news of death. But where LulzSec's defacing of the Sun's website was, for the most part, harmless, the news making the rounds today could hold actual life-or-death ramifications. When Taliban members logged into their Internet-connected devices in Afghanistan on Wednesday, they found messages and news reports claiming that the group's spiritual leader was dead. Which, um, he wasn't. While the story may bring a smile to the face of a deployed GI, the Taliban didn't get the lulz.
The group's websites, phones and email were all hacked to spread messages proclaiming the death of Mullah Omar, Reuters reports. The false rumor holds a delicious touch of irony that is no doubt lost on members of the extremist organization. Part of the reason the Taliban has such a paranoid fear of cellphones and electronic devices is because, years ago, they claim Mullah Omar was actually almost killed by would-be assassins after they traced his phone signal.
As is the case whenever you prod someone in a sensitive area, the Taliban responded with threats of extreme violence. In this case, they swore revenge on Afghanistan's telcos for aiding "American Intelligence" in committing "technical larceny," according to the Reuters report. In the past, the Taliban has threatened to destroy cellular towers and telco offices if they didn't shut down their networks at night.
Nobody – not Uncle Sam, and not even LulzSec – has stepped forward to claim credit for the virtual attack. NATO shrugged its shoulders and said they don't know what happened, either.