How ISIS uses the internet: Talking on Telegram and sending viruses to their enemies

BuzzFeed reports: Abu Majad figured that when ISIS came for him, it would be with a knife on a dark street, or a bomb planted on his car. The 34-year-old had been living in southern Turkey since fleeing Syria nearly three years ago and knew that his outspoken stance against ISIS — online and in his hometown in northern Syria — had put him in the terrorist group’s crosshairs. What he wasn’t expecting was to wake up on the morning of March 29 to a virus planted by ISIS within a seemingly innocuous email attachment.

“Everything about this looked like a real email, sent from the admin of my own website. It looked safe, but it was not. They were trying to get my login information, my passwords. They were trying to get things that could have put real lives in danger,” said Abu Majad, who asked that his nickname be used instead of his real name to protect himself and his remaining family in Syria from reprisal attacks by ISIS. “It was very clever. When I saw it I thought to myself, Shit, now they are professional hackers?”

Cybersecurity experts and intelligence agencies who monitor ISIS say the malware is just one more sign that ISIS is growing more sophisticated in its use of the internet.

“I don’t think it is far-fetched to say that the internet is a major reason why ISIS is so successful, and so worrying, as far as global terror movements go,” said one U.S. intelligence officer, who spoke to BuzzFeed News in Washington, D.C., and asked not to be named as he wasn’t authorized to speak to the press. “They have always been ‘good’ at the internet, at the strategy of how they use it. Now they are smarter at the internet too.” [Continue reading…]

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