back to article Jihadi terrorists DIDN'T encrypt their comms 'cos of Snowden leaks

The Snowden leaks have not changed the way jihadi terorrists communicate, according to a new study. A report by Flashpoint Partners concludes that jihadi/terrorist groups, their recruits and affiliates are making greater use of secure communications tools. Yet the report ascribes this to the development of new encrypted …

  1. This post has been deleted by its author

  2. Crisp

    GCHQ Lied?

    Why do they keep lying when they are so easily caught out?

    1. Cipher

      Re: GCHQ Lied?

      They lie because they wish to conceal the truth that their data dragnets have little to do with terrorism.

      They have much more to do with "regular" criminal activity and political suppression of opponents along with a self preservation instinct that requires them to have terrorists to keep funding levels on the rise...

      1. Yet Another Anonymous coward Silver badge

        Re: GCHQ Lied?

        political opponents = terrorists

    2. Potemkine Silver badge

      Slander boldly, something always sticks

      Many hear the lie, few hear the rebutal.

  3. Anonymous Coward 101

    Daft

    I am not a terrorist, and have no plans to become one. However, I am pretty sure if I went down that road in life, I would encrypt my communications with fellow terrorists. I would do this because I am not stupid, and therefore I know that spies would be all over terrorist communications. I knew this before the Snowden leaks; indeed, I would demand it. The idea that a non-trivial number of terrorists decided to encrypt their communications because of Snowden is an insult to anyone's intelligence.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Daft

      Not GCHQs apparently.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Daft

        "Not GCHQs apparently."

        Don't believe it. This was all part of the anti Snowden disinformation/FUD - especially important when UK legislation and funding up for grabs in the UK

    2. Rikkeh

      Re: Daft

      Indeed. The revelation that Snowden brought was not that people who might be engaged in terrorist activity were being monitored (we all knew that anyway) but that people who the authorities knew were not involved in terrorist activity were also being monitored, the extent of this monitoring was probably illegal, the information gathered was routinely used for things other than counterterrorism and that the oversight of these authorities was horrendously lax.

      Unfortunately, the treatment of whistleblowers has been so terrible (the pre-trial treatment of Manning can rightly be described as torture) that the only way anyone will blow the whistle is by gathering up a massive amount of data and then skipping the country. And if you're really going to have to sacrifice your life as you know it to blow the whistle, you're going to get *everything* on your way out.

      1. AgeingBabyBoomer

        Re: Daft

        Well if it were me, I'd embed my data steganographically in

        some teenage girl's sext message.

        The sneakypeeks will be too busy thrapping over it to notice.

    3. phuzz Silver badge
      Big Brother

      Re: Daft

      Sod that, even if you've encrypted it up to the digital eyeballs the fact that you *have* communicated with someone of interest is still useful information to the security services.

      If you're expecting to come to the interest fo GCHQ/NSA etc then you should go back to pre-1950s tradecraft, eg meeting in person, physical letters and book codes or one-time pads. Whilst also keeping a generic facebook profile etc. just like all your friends and family so you don't stand out from the crowd that way.

      1. Yet Another Anonymous coward Silver badge

        Re: Daft

        >fact that you *have* communicated with someone of interest is still useful information

        Which is why you would hide the message in a bunch of markov chain generated gibberish, add an ad for viagra/pornwangler extenders and email it to 1000s of people who weren't your contacts as well.

        1. Anonymous Coward
        2. veti Silver badge
          Thumb Up

          Re: Daft

          @Yet Another Anonymous coward: Great, another argument for capital punishment for spammers! Thank you!

  4. Alister Silver badge

    Flashpoint adds a caveat to its conclusions by noting that a definitive answer to the question of whether terrorist organizations have truly adapted their behaviour in the wake of the Edward Snowden NSA leaks would only be possible with access to "classified information or other credible sources that reveal the inner workings of terrorist organisations". The study is also limited because of a lack of access to private discussions of those responsible for producing jihadi encryption products such as Asrar al-Mujahideen.

    Perhaps El Reg, well known for it's persistent bothering of Cupertino, could turn their talents to getting an answer from a Jihadi group?

    Joking apart, I think the conclusion drawn by Flashpoint is a bit of a stretch, given the above paragraph.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      <i>the conclusion drawn by Flashpoint is a bit of a stretch, given the above paragraph.</i>

      Yes, makes it read more like attempting to present the obvious in a way as to get round counter arguments from someone who routinely and pathologically denies the obvious.

  5. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    ... actual release of new jihadi-themed encryption software packages

    What next? Jihad 'r' Us; their own fashion chain pimping jihadi warzone chic, with an artisan jewellery line using gold-plated recycled shell casings? Or perhaps a small jihadi themed hotel chain where there isn't a bar, seperate his 'n' hers rooms are enforced by the large chaps from hotel security, and the penthouse suite recreates in loving detail the PLO anti-aircraft emplacement on the top floor of the Holiday Inn, Beirut during the 1982 Israeli invasion, including sandbags genuinely filled on Jounieh beach?

    1. russell 6

      Artisan jewellery would be considered haram or forbidden for being unislamic. These guys are seriously austere.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        By austere I take it you mean dictating austerity to others. They don't seem to have a problem with sex slaves.

        1. russell 6

          They are on a serious power trip and believe nobody can stop them or if they do try it will trigger the final Judgement Day, which is what they really want to do.

          I wasn't being facetious (not sure if I spelt that right) about your comment, but I know how their minds work. I also have a pretty good idea of what is going to come out of the upcoming meeting of the UN security council. We live in interesting times.

          1. Yet Another Anonymous coward Silver badge

            >They are on a serious power trip and believe nobody can stop them or if they do try it will trigger the final >Judgement Day, which is what they really want to do

            And I think some muslims are almost as bad - fortunately they don't have nukes or strategic bombers

            1. Sir Runcible Spoon
              Joke

              Sir

              "These guys are seriously austere."

              What, not even a short trip to 'Pimp my AK'? Poor buggerers.

            2. Jes.e

              Jihadi terrorists DIDN'T encrypt their comms 'cos of Snowden leaks

              >>They are on a serious power trip and believe nobody can stop them or if they do try it will trigger the final >Judgement Day, which is what they really want to do

              >And I think some muslims are almost as bad - fortunately they don't have nukes or strategic bombers

              HA! *Very* good point!!!

              Except our news doesn't label them as terrorists over here when they also float bills to shut down women's health centers and to make "teaching of critical thinking" in schools illegal in a continual state by state basis.

              We once went to the moon and brought back rocks older than 6000 years when I was a wee tot, can you believe it?!?

              1. Purple-Stater

                Re: Jihadi terrorists DIDN'T encrypt their comms 'cos of Snowden leaks

                @Jes.e

                "Except our news doesn't label them as terrorists over here when they also float bills to shut down women's health centers and to make "teaching of critical thinking" in schools illegal in a continual state by state basis."

                Heck, our news won't call a white guy a terrorist even after he makes very specific death threats to non-Christian, non-whites, multiple times, and then actually does go kill them!

                1. Purple-Stater

                  Re: Jihadi terrorists DIDN'T encrypt their comms 'cos of Snowden leaks

                  Downvotes? I'm not kidding around, that's NOT a made-up example! USA, Summer 2014, and the media went well out of their way to avoid the T-word.

                  1. Matt Bryant Silver badge

                    Re: Purple-Stater Re: Jihadi terrorists DIDN'T encrypt their comms 'cos of Snowden leaks

                    ".....and the media went well out of their way to avoid the T-word." It's not the press that have issues describing lone terrorists as terrorists, the US administration seem to prefer just about any alternative (insanity, jealousy, drugs, pre-traumatic stress) to actually calling a spade a spade. A perfect example is the Fort Hood massacre by Major Nidal Malik Hasan, who justified his actions as 'defending Muslims' based on the Islamist propaganda he had been reading on the Web, yet the official description of the massacre is 'workplace violence'! Indeed, the US government and press seem to go out of their way to avoid calling acts of terror in the US as just that.

        2. Roj Blake

          "By austere I take it you mean dictating austerity to others. They don't seem to have a problem with sex slaves."

          A bit like certain sections of the Conservative Party then?

  6. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    secure comma?

    "secure comma"? That should fix leaks; encrypt all the punctuation. Or at least, it should help stop the pedants from joining the backlash against extremism.

    Or of course it could be a typo.

  7. Captain TickTock

    Security through ambiguity

    I originally read the headline as implying that they were deciding not to encrypt emails as a result of Snowden...

    Still, it got me to read the article...

  8. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Real terrorists use alt.usenet

    Waiting for ..

    1. Uncle Slacky Silver badge
      Joke

      Re: Real terrorists use alt.usenet

      alt.jihad.boom.boom.boom ?

  9. phil dude
    Coat

    well that's settled....

    Bin Laden wasn't on Twitter when they found him,

    P.

  10. Anonymous Coward
    Black Helicopters

    I'm with Brucey on this one

    Cryptography is hard, and the odds that a home-brew encryption product is better than a well-studied open-source tool is slight. Last fall, Matt Blaze said to me that he thought that the Snowden documents will usher in a new dark age of cryptography, as people abandon good algorithms and software for snake oil of their own devising. My guess is that this an example of that.

    Full article.

  11. Stevie Silver badge

    Bah!

    At least the spooks can still read domestic encrypted traffic just as well as they ever could, so no real damage done by The Traitor Comrade Snowden Terrorist Lackey Criminal after all.

    1. Yet Another Anonymous coward Silver badge

      Re: Bah!

      Except for Apple - which Tim assures us is safe.

      So the peoples central committee for keeping people safe will have to stick to monitoring counter revolutionary threats from the unwashed masses of Android users

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Bah!

        "Except for Apple - which Tim assures us is safe."

        Didn't he say safe from the police, not safe from the NSA?.

    2. Adam 1

      Re: Bah!

      If there was a backdoor, as a US based company, could they be under a secret order from a 3 letter agency to not disclose the said backdoor?

  12. Anonymous Coward
    FAIL

    But.....but......but.....

    Out leaders ASSURED us that the terrorists were changing their behavior because of that disloyal blabbermouth Snowden! And you know he is working for the Russians, or maybe it was the Chinese. Anyway, I forget, and its not like the details are important. What is important is that Snowden is working for "the other" in some manner, and that our intelligence agencies are completely trustworthy and have in no way captured the politicians who are supposed to oversee them and civilian knowledge of the many things they assure us they do in our service is not only unnecessary but harmful to us, the citizenry.

    And while we're at it, the spooks are trying to unload this used Pontiac that had one previous, careful owner...

  13. Matt Bryant Silver badge
    FAIL

    Some posters here need to re-do Basic Comprehension 101.

    This is what Flashpoint looked at - ".....information available via jihadi online social media...." - which is like trying to analyse the CIA's internal coms by looking at Twitter. The real AQ goons do not use the jihadi social media for anything other than pushing propaganda. This is acknowledged by Flashpoint in the article - ".....Flashpoint adds a caveat to its conclusions by noting that a definitive answer to the question of whether terrorist organizations have truly adapted their behaviour in the wake of the Edward Snowden NSA leaks would only be possible with access to "classified information or other credible sources that reveal the inner workings of terrorist organisations"....." In short, Flashpoint admitted they were basing their conclusion on gossip rather than real intelligence, but so many gullible fools swallowed it because it aligns with what their socio-political outlook/blinkers make them want to baaaaah-lieve.

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