Merchant of Death
Money, Guns, Planes, and the Man Who Makes War Possible

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Press Releases

Jihadists Move to Encryption on Internet Sights
One finds interesting articles in unexpected places these days. Recently Computerworld looked at the use of Jihadi encrytion on their websites. Shows how much the world has changed, when computer magazines start paying attention to this stuff.

This includes a new version of an already-existing encryption system offered from a website hosted in Florida that claims to be "the first Islamic computer program for secure exchange [of information] on the Internet," providing users with "the five best encryption algorithms, and with symmetrical encryption keys (256 bit), asymmetrical encryption keys (2048 bit) and data compression [tools]."

Dubbed Mujahadeen Secrets 2, the Ekhlaas website said the newer iteration is a "special edition of the software was developed and issued by ... Ekhlaas in order to support the mujahideen in general and the (al Qaeda-linked group) Islamic State in Iraq in particular."

This shows three things: that the outside world has grown increasingly better at monitoring their unencrypted communications; that the jihadists have the technological wherewithal to take their communications to the next level; and that they still apparently like to operate out of the United States.

Before being hosted in Florida, the site was reportedly hosted in Minnesota. I understand the debate over whether closing down websites or monitoring them, and don't know what the answer is. But they must feel pretty safe here in order to run this operation this way.

It also seems to indicate, whether in reality or for propaganda purposes, that the jihadists are technologically capable of tailoring their software to specific needs of specific groups facing specific challenges. If true, that is a big step forward.

To move from one-size-fits-all programing to meeting specific needs of specific environments, there is a knowledge of both the technology and the terrain in which the technology will be used.

While those like my colleague
Evan Kohlmann
has long been studying the jihadist use of the internet, the outside world is finally starting to notice as well.

Today's Washington Post carries an extensive look at the radicalization of two Islamists from the state of Georgia who were filming potential targets in Washington, D.C.

Much of the process took place on line, as did the radicalization of an Egyptian businessman who sponsored the trip of combatants to Iraq based on the Internet statements and broadcasts by Yousef al-Qaradawi, the spiritual leader of the Muslim Brotherhood.

The flat world of technology spread cuts many ways. This is one of the inevitable but costly ways our open systems can be exploited to make our lives more dangerous.

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