Six tools terrorists use to stay online

Ever wonder how groups such as ISIS remain active online, no matter how hard people, or groups like Anonymous, try to kick them out? Data and intelligence firm Flashpoint asked the same question, and came up with six tools they use in their digital operations.

The answers were published in a new research report entitled Tech for Jihad: Dissecting Jihadists’ Digital Toolbox.

“Jihadists’ reliance on technology for survival is a proven, powerfully motivating force, pushing the community to constantly learn, adapt, and advance through various technological tools,” says Laith Alkhouri, a co-author of the report and the Director of Middle East/North Africa Research and a co-founder at Flashpoint.

Here is the groups' toolbox:

  • Secure browsers, such as Tor, which cloak IP addresses and eliminate third-party surveillance.
  • Virtual private networks (VPN) and proxies, also used to stay anonymous while online.
  • Mobile security applications – Flashpoint says they're using specialised mobile apps to enhance smartphone security.
  • Encrypted messengers, like Telegram, which remains their top choice, according to the report.
  • Mobile propaganda applications, which is a very necessary tool, knowing how important propaganda is in what they do.

“In order to both gain popularity among potential supporters and instill fear in their adversaries, jihadists need consistent channels through which they can release propaganda, and technology is crucial for this,” said Alkhouri. “Jihadists’ reliance on technology for survival is a proven, powerfully motivating force, pushing the community to constantly learn, adapt, and advance through various technological tools.”

A full overview and list of the online tools and tactics used by the ISIS community can be found on this link.