Feeds

Gilligan's bomb: Is it time to panic yet?

Vicious thrashing fails to stir rotting equine corpse

Choosing a cloud hosting partner with confidence

Dr Alford, being a professional, may not have chosen to mix up something as volatile and dangerous as TATP - or if he did he may have taken steps to desensitise it somewhat, not wishing to foolishly blow himself up.

(Your correspondent once spoke to a forensic-explosives boffin from the UK gov lab at Fort Halstead, who described his reaction on being nonchalantly handed several pounds of a similar compound by a blissfully unaware copper back in the pre-9/11 era. He said it had taken years off his life.)

Dr Alford's mix apparently required a proper detonator, whereas proper mad-bomber TATP can be made to detonate using no more than heat or electric current.

Really good terrorists, as Dr Alford points out, can build home-made detonators which could conceivably be smuggled through security buried inside an electronic device. The Provisional IRA could do this, and not being suicidal types they had reason to; but proper barmy suicide fanatics would be unlikely to bother. The whole point of having dets is that most of your charge can be comparatively safe to handle and move about, and the det - which will go off if shown any disrespect - can be kept separate until the last moment and babied.

As of 2005 there were indeed several murderous jihadi scumbags resident in the UK who could actually mix up viable explosives in deadly amounts and who weren't under surveillance. Sensibly, rather than go for a risky caper like trying to penetrate airport security they simply walked onto the Tube, where confined spaces magnified the devices' effect - if not as much as a total structural failure in flight might have. Those men are all now dead, of course, which is what happens to competent suicide bombers - it's a self-correcting problem to some degree. The follow-on 21/7 series of damp squibs indicated that there were several more unknowns willing to die, but that these didn't have the necessary knowhow.

London is still here. Nothing has changed. You can still, any day you want, buy acetone and peroxide, keep trying carefully with small amounts until you learn how to make viable TATP. Then you can make a bomb and take it onto the Tube. If you are willing to die, you can certainly set it off amid dense rush-hour crowds. If you aren't ready to die, you can probably still manage it, to be honest; and if you fail you can try again and again, still being alive - though you'll need to plan carefully to deal with the CCTV.

Hell - as someone who actually can make good TATP, you shouldn't be involved in the operation on the ground at all. Dumb expendable footsoldiers who know nothing should be doing that. But more people means more risk of an informer - which is probably why the average size of terror networks in the UK is just 10 people, according to MI5.

Business security measures using SSL

More from The Register

next story
Phones 4u slips into administration after EE cuts ties with Brit mobe retailer
More than 5,500 jobs could be axed if rescue mission fails
Apple CEO Tim Cook: TV is TERRIBLE and stuck in the 1970s
The iKing thinks telly is far too fiddly and ugly – basically, iTunes
Israeli spies rebel over mass-snooping on innocent Palestinians
'Disciplinary treatment will be sharp and clear' vow spy-chiefs
Huawei ditches new Windows Phone mobe plans, blames poor sales
Giganto mobe firm slams door shut on Microsoft. OH DEAR
Phones 4u website DIES as wounded mobe retailer struggles to stay above water
Founder blames 'ruthless network partners' for implosion
Found inside ISIS terror chap's laptop: CELINE DION tunes
REPORT: Stash of terrorist material found in Syria Dell box
OECD lashes out at tax avoiding globocorps' location-flipping antics
You hear that, Amazon, Google, Microsoft et al?
Show us your Five-Eyes SECRETS says Privacy International
Refusal to disclose GCHQ canteen menus and prices triggers Euro Human Rights Court action
prev story

Whitepapers

Providing a secure and efficient Helpdesk
A single remote control platform for user support is be key to providing an efficient helpdesk. Retain full control over the way in which screen and keystroke data is transmitted.
Saudi Petroleum chooses Tegile storage solution
A storage solution that addresses company growth and performance for business-critical applications of caseware archive and search along with other key operational systems.
Security and trust: The backbone of doing business over the internet
Explores the current state of website security and the contributions Symantec is making to help organizations protect critical data and build trust with customers.
Reg Reader Research: SaaS based Email and Office Productivity Tools
Read this Reg reader report which provides advice and guidance for SMBs towards the use of SaaS based email and Office productivity tools.
Security for virtualized datacentres
Legacy security solutions are inefficient due to the architectural differences between physical and virtual environments.