FOX19 Investigates: Encrypted messages for terror - Cincinnati News, FOX19-WXIX TV

FOX19 Investigates: Encrypted messages for terror


Are ISIS and other groups using encrypted messaging systems to communicate? More importantly than that, what does that even mean?

According to local terror experts, it is very possible that terrorists could be using encrypted messaging to communicate. It may seem like a secret technique but in reality encrypted messaging is everywhere and accessible by everyone.

Encrypted means coded communication and it's as easy as downloading an app. CryptoCat, Silent Text or Text Secure are just a few that allow you to send messages that can only be read by the sender and receiver.

While Christopher Cornell says ISIS communicates using these kind of private techniques, the terrorist group uses more public means too.

"The high-quality videos, the online magazines, the use of social media, terrorist Twitter accounts -- it's all designed to target today's young people online,” said President Barack Obama in February.

President Obama told global leaders last month Isis has developed a propaganda machine producing as many as 90,000 posts on Twitter, YouTube and other social media platforms every day.

There is no universal definition of what constitutes an online threat and releasing encrypted user information can raise major privacy concerns. Experts say while shutting down these accounts both public and private may prevent the radicalization of westerners, leaving them up to monitor organized movements may prevent future attacks.

"These accounts provide a lot of information about what's going on in ISIS territories and the question is can you dig into this network and degrade its performance while still maintaining those benefits. And I think the answer is that you can,” said terrorist expert J.M. Berger.

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