Hactivists Uncover Islamic State Mobile App Used By ISIS To Spread Propaganda and recruit members
According to a hactivist group, the Islamic State has released its own app for Android smartphones, using it to spread propaganda from Amaq News Agency, the terrorist group’s channel which broadcasts videos of beheadings and messages of attacks on a global scale.
The app was discovered by Ghost Security Group (GSG) , a “hacktivist” collective that is made up of counterintelligence and computer specialists and who have splintered from Anonymous has made it a mission to disrupt Islamic State online.
Already this year, GSG claims to have taken down 149 websites, 6,000 propaganda videos and 11,000 social media accounts linked to the terror group. Anonymous also shut down about 6,000 Twitter accounts related to ISIL after the Paris attack.
Links to install the ISIL app are shared privately by the supporters of the terrorist group on the encrypted messaging service Telegram, rather than in Google’s Play Store, allowing the app to being taken down. Telegram banned a number of ISIL channels when it became aware of the organization’s movements on the messaging app.
“They [ISIS] want to create a broadcast capability that is more secure than just leveraging Twitter and Facebook,” said Michael Smith II, chief operating officer at Kronos Advisory, a defense consulting firm.
“IS has always been looking for a way to provide easy access to all of the material.”
Like other ISIS social media activities, the app is used both as a way of spreading the group’s message and recruiting new members.
On December 6, 2015, Hillary Clinton said the Islamic State has become the “most effective recruiter in the world,” urging Silicon Valley tech companies Facebook and Google, to name a few, to put in more effort in obstructing the terrorist group’s online operations.
“We need to put the great disrupters at work at disrupting ISIS,” she says.
Facebook, Google and Twitter are also stepping up efforts to fight online propaganda and recruiting by Islamic militants, but the internet companies are doing it quietly to avoid the perception that they are helping the authorities police the web.
Describing the policies as straightforward, the internet companies said that they ban certain types of content in accordance with their own terms of service, and require court orders to remove or block anything beyond that. Anyone can report, or flag, content for review and possible removal.
However, executing such security measures is no easy task. Firstly, they worry that the public will consider them as tools of the government when they obediently comply. Secondly, technologically savvy militants may learn more about how to breach their systems once the companies spell out exactly how their screenings work.