The Social Risks of ISIS:
The networks and the social media sites was and is still part and parcel of the secret emergence of ISIS threats in the global scene. Where ISIS exploits the social media networks in marketing for their battles and victories – more and more- importantly – they use it to attract and recruit fighters from all over the world. This poses a huge threat to the International community. It is estimated that the average age of foreign fighters of ISIS are round about 24 years ! It is the nineties generation that we are talking about, which constitute the majority of the social network pioneers today. This seems to go largely undetected by authorities and difficult to comprehend.
The social networks comes as the last series of the propaganda means which the extremist movements intend to use it starting from the promotional brochures to the radio followed by the cassettes and the video tapes on their websites and last but not least, the social networks risks associated with it.
But why does ISIS use the social networks?
It is becoming visible that ISIS is provocative in the worlds opinion by producing execution videos with high resolution and elaborate translation to get attention.
It does not only stop by the slaughtering of the innocent, but also the brutal diverse way of their methods , whether it’s by burning or trampling and so on. The danger here is that all of these things are photographed and produced in a way that arouses the exasperation in every normal human being. Cyber tech detected that ISIS also works on flooding the hashtags, specially the global ones with its Jihad messages as happened with the fire hashtag in one of the hotels in Dubai on New Year’s holiday, where the fake accounts that belong to ISIS intended to put a contaminated cyber links or a picture of decapitated head with along with comments that inspire terror among users. The same happened in France – Nice bloody events which occurred a few days ago, at the same time we have noticed the spread of corpses pictures and video scenes used by members of ISIS inside the special hashtags like #Nice #France and other.
It is now known that fighters and supporters of ISIS uses many full encrypted chat programs so that they can communicate and coordinate both daily acts and illegal their movements.
The chat application “Telegram” is considered one of the most important applications that is used to spread their messages and news related to suicide operations, some of them uses the application “Signal” which is also an encrypted application for voice calls and chat messages, where their fighters and supporters tend to use a fake numbers to sign up for these applications.
It should be asked by governments has not yet shut these applications and websites down as they clearly are the feed to ISIS communications in Europe.
The production and release of ISIS illegal documentaries and movies depicting the “quiet” life inside the cities controlled by ISIS make thinsg a lot worse and in addition to the use of the application “Instagram”, to show the human side of the fighters, where the fighter portrays their casts and other aspects of their personal live.
It is also worth noting that ISIS recruits new fighters through its monthly magazine published in English “Dabiq” which deals with different subject from politics and religion to making bombs. The magazine is produced with high quality not less than those in the best professional magazines. This raises the red flag as to why no authority has paid attention to this. It is now believed that ISIS also recruits by sending invitations and personal gifts to join them and by the shipment of the gifts or travel tickets to their sympathizers. The “Dark Web” seems to be the center to hide and spread those magazines and video scenes believing that these sites are not monitored. Difficult for governments to deal with at the same time.
During our research on this subject specifically it occur that ISIS use of the social network is not an amateur use, but it is based on a strong technical experience! As an example, ISIS developed an application named “Fajer al-Bashaer”, where the user can download it then the application start – with full independence- automated tweeting on behalf of the user with pictures and videos and advertising, especially during the hashtag trends.
ISIS was able to penetrate many hashtags this way which requires a technical background to accomplish it. From our research it seems that ISIS also have a special technical team to educate fighters with the importance of using encrypted messages and applications between them, which is a proof of the presence of technical experts between them.
At the same time, the major technical sites did not stand as spectator to ISIS while they stormed their pages. Twitter announced that they had banned more than 110,000 sympathizer account with ISIS. Once Twitter bans one of the accounts, they come back with a new different usernames and this is how the game continues endlessly. As for Facebook, they have taken similar strategies of deleting and disabling the sympathizers’ pages and users. Google search engine intentionally guides the users who are looking for a travel ways to Syria or joining the Jihad groups to an opposite content of videos and awareness articles.
Also the radicalized individual efforts played a big role in it. Where some of them tend to act the role of the sympathizer with ISIS to gather different information about the organization and their locations and then they deliver it to the local authorities, which helped in preventing possible attacks as they already did in Tunisia. In addition to the technicians effort in targeting the organization locations and their accounts by propagandas and attacks against the terrorist organization ideology.
As for the cyber attacks, one of the most serious cyber attacks that had been conducted by ISIS was the attack on the France network “TV 5 Monde” by members who said that they belong to ISIS, which lead to stop all the broadcasting of their TV channels, and the loss of control over their websites for hours, then the organization published many threatening letters and a warning from France’s participation in the attacks against the organization.
In November, a group belonged to the organization called themselves “Electronic Caliphate”, hacked into the “News Week” magazine account on “Twitter”, to publish a pictures of a masked man, and it was written above it “I am Daash” or “JE SUIS ISIS” with the word “CYBERCALIPHATE”.
A group calls themselves “Piracy section of the Islamic state” also published information; they claimed belongs to the US army elements and the civilians who are working with the military system.
For this reason and more, CYBERPOL issued an CYBER TERROR Alert and urges the importance of putting an international strategy to fight the piracy and cyber attacks, which represent an urgent cyber terror threat to many of the countries involved in the war against ISIS. The necessity of the participation of the major giant corporations in technical field in this war on terror. CYBERPOL RED Team in middle east corresponded and said that “The international cooperation of all the major social media sites is prerogative in trapping and tracking the extremist groups, and closing all their accounts that they use to publish malicious ideas through these tools. It is necessary that all governments should act without further delay.”
By: Shehab Najjar for WNTC news exclusively.