NEWS

New Tool Encrypts Jihadist Communications

By Matthew Harwood

Jihadists have a new encryption tool to help them secure their communications from the prying eyes of the world's various security and intelligence services, according to the security firm VeriSign.

According to ZDNet Austraila, the new tool called "Mujahedeen Secrets" created by the Global Islamic Media Front "is designed to eliminate the need to send files and messages over public file-sharing sites."

 Instead, those wishing to communicate without being spied on can rely on more secure, Arabic-language, jihadist-oriented chat sites and forums to route clandestine communications, said Howard.

The program also includes the security industry's best encryption algorithms, which include 256-bit encryption, variable stealth cipher encryption keys, RSA 2,048-bit encryption keys and encrypted chat-forum-supported instant messaging...

Another innovation of the tool is its portability.

On Counterterrorismblog.org, VeriSign's Jim Melnick explained why this is so important to jihadists.

[T]his program is an executable application that does not need to be installed onto a PC and can be used with a USB drive. According to iDefense Middle East analyst Andretta Summerville, "the program's 'portability' as an application (not requiring installation) will become an increasingly desirable feature, especially considering the high use of Internet cafés worldwide by pro-terrorist Islamic extremists." The use of the 'Mujahedine Secrets' on a portable USB drive will offer additional anonymity to those who use the program, which may make it increasingly difficult or even impossible for investigators to track down the source of activity further than the Internet café itself.

The encryption tool—said Rick Howard, director of intelligence at VeriSign's iDefense security intelligence services—demonstrates jihadists understand the operational importance of the Internet to their terrorist enterprise's success.

Melnick blogged that iDefense/VeriSign will continue to assess how this tool works and how it is received in the online jihadist community.

 

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