The fact that ISIS has used technology to the group’s extreme advantage over the years is old news, but a new report from NBC News yesterday shows the extent of the terrorist group’s technological prowess. Counterterrorism analysts associated with the U.S. Army have learned the organization maintains a 24-hour Jihadi Help Desk designed to support its foot soldiers in recruiting new members and launching attacks.
The idea is a frightful concept during a time when the world is reeling from last week’s atrocities in Paris. U.S. intelligence has found that the Help Desk is manned around the clock by six senior operatives and is designed to help members of the group use encryption and secure communications technologies to escape law enforcement detection.
"They answer questions from the technically mundane to the technically savvy to elevate the entire jihadi community to engage in global terror," said Aaron F. Brantly, a counterterrorism analyst at the Combating Terrorism Center. "Clearly this enables them to communicate and engage in operations beyond what used to happen, and in a much more expeditious manner. They are now operating at the speed of cyberspace rather than the speed of person-to-person communications."
The Center spent a year monitoring the Help Desk and its senior operatives through online forums, social media and other channels. Analysts describe the operation as very decentralized and operating in virtually every region of the world. Help Desk staff are charged with tracking new security software and encryption and quickly producing materials to train other operatives on new technologies. The Center claims ISIS is training all levels of members in high-level digital security operations, distributing materials through social media including Twitter and YouTube in the form of documents and tutorials.
"They will engage in encrypted person-to-person communications, and these are extremely hard to break into from a cryptographic perspective," said Brantly. "They also post YouTube Videos, going step by step over how to use these technologies. Imagine you have a problem and need to solve it and go to YouTube; they have essentially established the same mechanism [for terrorism]."
Last month, FBI Director James Comey expressed concern about ISIS’ technological abilities and stressed the importance of all law enforcement organizations learning about the latest communication tools to keep up with the group.
Meanwhile, international hacking group Anonymous has declared its own war on ISIS, posting personal information on suspected members of the organization. The group also claims to have found and taken down Twitter accounts of suspected members and has vowed to continue a technological war against the terror group.
TechZone360 Contributing Editor
Antivirus software is not enough. Apex Technology Services used its decades of IT and cybersecurity
experience to create budget-friendly network security packages every company needs.
Please take a moment to fill out your information so we can contact you directly regarding your request.
Most IT support teams are tasked with day-to-day troubleshooting. This ranges from fixing machines and networks to physically maintaining them by chan…
In the wake of high-profile security threats, companies and governments are increasingly turning to open-source software as one of the ways to avoid s…
Technology has transformed how humans perceive and do things. One of the sectors that technology has dramatically improved is the online gaming sector…
In Oracle Food and Beverage's report, 70% of attendees would prefer to have service jobs replaced by digital solutions in the future.
Phishing is commonly used by cyber criminals, as an attack that exploits an organization's last line of cyber defense - the employees