It’s good that Anonymous has decided to declare war on Islamic State but there are questions about whether their actions are actually effective. In particular, Anonymous has drawn criticism for getting several Twitter accounts banned that had nothing to do with supporting or aiding ISIS. The group has also come under fire for hyping up terror threats that authorities have said were never credible. That said, there is a hacking group out there that is trying to be the anti-Anonymous by taking the fight to ISIS in a smarter, subtler fashion. More →
Over the weekend, with all the terror attacks-related frenzy in the media, I happened to stumble upon what might just be one of the most ignorant stances on encryption I’ve read in a while, The Telegraph’s “Why is Silicon Valley helping the tech-savvy jihadists?” And yes, the story is related to the debate on strong encryption, the kind of data protection for Internet-connected devices and Internet services that intelligence agencies can’t crack.
Before we start, no tech company is helping tech-savvy ISIS members by creating such products. In fact, it’s still not even clear that encryption helps ISIS plan and execute sophisticated attacks such as the one in Paris on November 13th. More →
Anonymous has been leading the digital fight against Islamic State by getting some of its social media accounts on Twitter banned, but has it been doing more harm than good? A Twitter spokesperson tells The Daily Dot that Anonymous’s lists of purported ISIS-affiliated are so “wildly inaccurate” that it doesn’t even pay attention to them anymore. More →
Last week’s horrific attacks on Paris has everyone talking about safety, especially at a time when many people are planning trips for the upcoming holidays. Is it safe to travel? Should I postpone my flight? Do we have to avoid European regions that might be targets on ISIS’ agenda? If you’re asking yourself any of these questions, then ISIS’ mission is partly accomplished — the group means to instill crippling fear into us all.
However, that’s not the right path to take, and a French man who lost his wife, the mother of his 17-month-old boy, wrote a riveting response to ISIS. It’s easily the best one I’ve seen so far. More →
We learned earlier this week that Islamic State used a bomb disguised as a simple soda can to bring down Russian MetroJet Flight 9268 last month. But how might such a device have really worked? Reuters has talked with some experts on explosives manufacturing who have analyzed the photo of the soda can bomb that ISIS posted this week and who have come up with some theories about how the device may have worked. More →
New reports detailing the activities of ISIS, which is responsible for the recent attacks on Paris, Beirut and for taking down a Russian passenger jet, reveal that the organization employs a 24-hour customer support service that can help out with various digital problems its members may have. The same tech-savvy group manning the round-the-clock service from locations around the world also created a manual the describes best-practices ISIS members should follow to thwart surveillance and hide their tracks online. More →
The terrorist attacks continue, with Mali’s capital Bamako now in the spotlight. Islamist gunmen stormed a luxury hotel in Bamako on Friday, taking 170 hostages. More →
Some people suspect that the ISIS group involved in the November 13th attacks on Paris used encrypted apps and services to communicate, with Telegram being highlighted as one chat app that ISIS-affiliated members favor. However, there’s no official proof the attackers actually used encrypted devices and services to talk to each other when planning attacks.
Even so, after defending the right to guard the privacy of anyone using Telegram in the aftermath of the Paris attacks, the company has reversed its stance, announcing that it banned no less than 78 Telegram channels that belonged to ISIS. More →
I honestly did start reading Ben Carson’s opinion piece in The Washington Post with an open mind. After all, it’s been clear that the Obama administration’s plans to counter Islamic State haven’t been effective so far and I was curious to see what an outside critic actually proposed as an alternative. So I read Carson’s editorial and what I found was something stupid. And not just run-of-the-mill-Election-Year-stupid, but something stunningly and dangerously stupid. More →
French police and special forces conducted a massive raid in Paris’ suburb Saint-Denis in the early hours on Wednesday morning. Heavy gunfire and explosions were heard near an apartment building where individuals suspected of being linked to the Paris attacks were hiding, including the person who may have planned the November 13th assault on Paris. Two people died in the ensuing fight, including a woman who detonated a vest containing explosives, and the primary target of the attack.
Interestingly, the information that helped police conduct this particular raid and potentially avoid a second disaster in Paris came from an unencrypted, unlocked smartphone found in a dumpster near the Bataclan concert hall where terrorists killed 89 people on Friday. More →
A few days after the Paris attacks that left hundreds dead and injured, Russia confirmed that a homemade explosive device was detonated on board MetroJet Flight 9268 in October, killing all 224 passengers. Since then, ISIS published images of the bomb that was detonated inside the airplane, saying that the Russian flight wasn’t the original target. Instead, ISIS wanted to shoot down a Western plane. More →
McCain wants to legislate encryption even though there’s no evidence it helped ISIS in Paris attacks
While it’s suspected that encrypted communication services may have helped ISIS coordinate attacks on Paris, there’s no evidence to actually prove it. Even so, some members of Congress are already talking about legislating encryption, potentially requiring tech companies to include backdoors into encrypted products that could be used by spy agencies to prevent similar tragedies in the future. In fact, Senator John McCain already said he’s determined to outlaw encryption that the U.S. government cannot crack. More →
In the wake of the horrifying terror attacks in Paris last week, Facebook de-activated the account of a San Francisco-based engineer whose real name is Isis Anchalee. The removal, which was ultimately reversed, highlights the ongoing battle Facebook has with respect to users with real names that the social networking giant nonetheless deems to be fake. Per Facebook’s official policy, profile names must represent an “authentic identity; as your friends call you in real life” and must be able to be verified with various identification forms.