The Al Qaeda simply does not have the brain power, or it would have done it already. They have no qualms. They do not deliberate, hum and haw. They just don't have the capability.
But the cyber Pearl Harbor will not be enacted by some state, not Iran, not China, not North Korea. It might not even be an organization like the Al Qaeda, however loose. It is more likely to be a group whose structure is akin to the group Anonymous. All members are faceless and anonymous.
But that can not be mistaken for acts like that of Wikileaks. Or Kim Dot Com. Releasing secret State Department cables is not Pearl Harbor. Pirating movies is not Pearl Harbor. And there will be legitimate cyber developments to weaken the nation state and empower the individual, the global citizen. That would be a welcome development.
But a Cyber Pearl Harbor by definition would have to be an act of evil. 9/11 was the modern day Pearl Harbor.
Panetta warns US could face ‘cyber Pearl Harbor’
Maintaining watch on Iran, Russia, China, North Korea, and especially the Al Qaeda makes sense, but room has to be made for a new hitherto unknown entity.