When Terror Hides Online

Did you hear the one about Osama bin Laden hiding messages in porn websites? It sounds like one of those crazy Sept. 11 rumors, but it's actually a law-enforcement theory about how the al-Qaeda network disseminates instructions to operatives in the field.

It's no secret that bin Laden's terrorist army is Internet savvy. Hijacking ringleader Mohamed Atta made his reservations on Americanairlines.com Some of his confederates seem to have communicated through Yahoo e-mail. And cell members went online to research the chemical-dispersing powers of crop dusters.

But secret Internet messages, known as steganography, may be the most insidious way...

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