Never one to let a crisis go to waste, the Islamic State is adapting its communication strategy to remain a potent force in its digital war with the West.
The propaganda arm of ISIS, Al-Hayat Media Center, began placing content on hidden Internet channels — known as the Dark Web, Deep Web or Darknet — to blunt efforts by governments and private citizens to shut down its ability to communicate, CSO Online reported Nov. 15. (RELATED: ISIS Claims It Is Coming To Washington With ‘Booby Traps And Explosives’)
The Dark Web consist of networks not publicly available on the Internet without special software that allows users to gain access. Scot Terban, the researcher who discovered ISIS’s new communications hub on a jihadi bulletin board, said:
The site mirrors many of the other standard bulletin boards that the jihadi’s have had over the years replete with videos and sections in all languages. Given that this site has popped up today in the Darknet just post the attacks in Paris, one has to assume that an all out media blitz is spinning up by Al-Hayat to capitalize on the situation.
The hub also includes a link to the terrorist group’s private messaging portal on Telegram, the encrypted communication app. According to CSO Online, “Telegram’s Channels feature has enabled the terrorist group to reach nearly 20,000 people instantly…” (VIDEO: Obama Takes Harsher Tone With Republicans Than ISIS At G20)
Encrypted messaging has become a significant issue when discussing security and privacy.
Law enforcement and intelligence agencies claim the use of encryption is growing among domestic criminal actors and international terrorist actors. When they use encryption to hide their communications, the agencies say it can be very difficult—if not impossible—to decipher those messages.
House Homeland Security Committee Chairman [crscore]Michael McCaul[/crscore] told Politico Nov. 16 that the “dark space of the Internet is becoming a breeding ground for terrorist communications, recruitment and plotting.” (RELATED: Republicans Seek Ways To Stop Syrian Refugee Resettlement In U.S. Photo of Kerry Picket)
“Our inability to monitor encrypted messages on social media apps, and the terrorists’ awareness of that, compounds the danger America and the West face…terror plots and warnings signs go under the radar when we can’t see their communications. You can’t stop what you cannot see,” he said.
In addition to formal policing organizations trying to minimize the reach of ISIS, the hacktivist group Anonymous is also taking up the fight. (RELATED: Anonymous Drops KKK Member List)
According to International Business Times, Anonymous is launching a new campaign against ISIS, where in addition to shutting down ISIS social media accounts, it is threatening to hack into terrorist affiliated sites to steal information and leak it online.
— #OpParis (@opparisofficial) November 16, 2015
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