Terrorists Show Interest in Twitter

Terrorists Show Interest in Twitter

by Mickey McCarter
Tuesday, 28 October 2008

Army report examines terrorist ideas for communication via Web Terrorist plotters have shown interest in using Twitter and other Web technologies to plan and carry out acts of terrorism, according to a recent analysis of content on terrorist Web sites in a US Army report.

The draft report, titled “al Qaida-Like Mobile Discussions and Potential Creative Uses,” studies open source intelligence available through terrorist forums to examine the use of various Web and mobile phone networking technologies for terrorist communications. Although the draft report, dated Oct. 16, is marked “for official use only,” it was released to the public Monday by the Federation of American Scientists.

The open source intelligence report examines five specific topics discussed on terrorist forums and cites examples of how terrorists could exploit specific technologies. The report first examines pro-terrorist propaganda in mobile interfaces, which denotes the use of mobile phones to exchange pictures, videos and texts between terrorists or terrorism sympathizers. The report next looks at the use of GPS on mobile phones for movements, operations, targeting and exploitation, such as the use of maps to facilitate border crossings on a Nokia 6210 Navigator.

Third, the report documents discussions on the use of mobile phones as surveillance devices to observe terrorist targets and choose the timing of a terrorist attack. Then the report examines how terrorists might use voice-altering software to disguise their voices when making phone calls on applications like Skype, which media reports have documented the use of by the Taliban.

Finally, the report takes a look at the potential use of Twitter to facilitate a terrorist attack.

“Twitters is already used by some members to post and/or support extremist ideologies and perspective,” the report states. “There are multiple pro- and anti-Hezbolloah Tweets. In addition, extremist and terrorist use of Twitter could evolve over time to reflect tactics that are already…in use by hactivists and activists for surveillance. This could theoretically be combined with targeting.”

The report describes a scenario in which a terrorist operative could send and receive messages via Twitter and combine those with a Google Maps Twitter Mash-Up of his location. The terrorists could then plot an attack on specific locations in near real time, coordinating their activities over their mobile phones.

The Army intelligence report adds a caveat that its information was gleaned from al Qaeda Web sites and not independently tested; therefore, it could not provide any estimation on how well its research into terrorist ideas would actually work.


this is how the government is going to shut down the web!

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