Over the past two years, the media has tended to sensationalize jihadists’ rapid adoption and strategic use of social media. Despite perpetual news coverage on the issue, the public, by and large, continues to be relatively in the dark about the intricate ways in which many jihadists maintain robust yet secretive online presences.
To accomplish their goals — ranging from propaganda dissemination and recruitment to launching attacks — jihadists must skillfully leverage various digital technologies that are widely advertised and freely accessible online.
Just as smartphones and portable devices have transformed the way much of the world communicates and interacts, jihadists, too, have rapidly adopted and availed themselves of these technologies.
Their grasp of technology, which is quite savvy, yields one of the most frequently asked questions about the jihadists today: What is in their digital toolbox and how do they exploit these technologies to benefit their activities? This report explores these questions.
ISIS is no exception to the many entities out there, good and evil, who want a strong grasp on technical savvy, particularly software that can oppose surveillance. The Dark Web is abuzz with jihadist threads about how to beat surveillance systems. And they’re learning a lot, says a report from Flashpoint, a cybersecurity firm.
For instance, ISIS knows how to use Tor and Opera to scavenge the Web undetected. That’s just the beginning of their software knowledge. Jihadists also use:
- Fake GPS to fool people into thinking they’re located where they’re not
- Telegram for sending encrypted IM’s
- Hushmail: Software to encrypt e-mails
- Software to create virtual private networks
In short, ISIS is very well keeping up with communications technology. Evil can be technologically savvy, too. Do not underestimate the technical prowess of jihadists, even though it seems as though some of them live rather primitively.
Robert Siciliano personal security and identity theft expert and speaker is the author of 99 Things You Wish You Knew Before Your Identity Was Stolen. See him knock’em dead in this identity theft prevention video.