Encryption and the Terrorists

Interesting stuff over at the Counterterrorism Blog:

On January 1, 2007, the pro-terrorist group, "Global Islamic Media Front" (GIMF) announced the "imminent release" of what they called "the first Islamic computer program for secure exchange on the Internet." Some Western websites that track online terrorist activity reported on the GIMF announcement, but it has otherwise not received any serious media attention. iDefense/VeriSign has since found a copy of this program, "Mujahedine Secrets," on a pro-terrorist Arabic language forum and has begun analyzing its capabilities and assessing what its impact will be....

The "Mujahedine Secrets" encryption program offers terrorists and their sympathizers several key features, some of which are common features of PGP programs that are currently available elsewhere as well as other features that appear to be new. Technical analysis is ongoing and will be assessed in future iDefense reporting. Most importantly, this 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.

Due to the strong "marketing" campaign of the program by the Global Islamic Media Front in Arabic-language forums, specifically on hacker and pro-terrorist forums, "Mujahedine Secrets" is likely to reach a broad audience of pro-terrorist supporters online and Arabic-speaking hackers....