Short Bytes: The Islamic State is known to use messaging apps like Telegram and WhatsApp to communicate the messages to its followers. To avoid the surveillance of government agencies like FBI, ISIS has now developed its own messaging apps. These apps aren’t as sophisticated as WhatsApp or Telegram, but they have the advantage of being independent of any third-party organization that could be compromised by government agencies.
Talking about the favorites of ISIS, the terrorist group usually prefers Telegram app for sending private messages to its members. ISIS also uses direct messages on Twitter and Facebook to spread its propaganda. Recently, the online anti-ISIS collective Ghost Security Group recorded some Telegram conversations that were directing ISIS members to a website to download a new messaging app.
This new app from Amaq Agency — a well known ISIS supporter — claims to find its way around the tactics used by FBI to monitor conventional messaging apps like WhatsApp. This new app acts as a method to spread its online terror propaganda with the help of the latest ISIS news and video clips of executions, speeches, and battlefield footage.
The threat of homegrown messaging apps by ISIS:
Thereupon, the website hosting the Amaq Agency app disappeared and another app surfaced to take its place. Known as Alrawi.apk, the app behaves much like Amaq Agency app.
These messaging apps aren’t as sophisticated as WhatsApp or Telegram, but they have the advantage of being independent of any third-party organization that could be compromised by government intelligence agencies. This gives ISIS an upper hand over the agencies like FBI who have their secret ways of snooping into apps like WhatsApp and other well-known messaging services.
After the Paris attacks, Telegram suspended 78 public ISIS-affiliated accounts spreading the ISIS propaganda. With the advent of these homegrown messaging apps, ISIS aims to avoid such type of surveillance by complicating the efforts of security agencies.
After the ISIS attack on Paris, the end-to-end encrypted communication methods have faced flak from the government agencies. So, even if the existing popular apps are forced to open back doors, ISIS will have other options to talk to its followers and influence new people.
Add your views about the risks posed by these homegrown ISIS apps in the comments below.