This is not an article to de-market any mobile app or Internet platform.
It is a stark reality we are living with today. Innovative youngsters and investors are putting heads together to create apps that will positively change the way we communicate, play, do business and relate with the world.
However, some other people who use the app might not use it for the same purpose. It becomes more worrying to know that people actually use these apps to embellish their negative thoughts, criminal intents and plan large scale terror attacks, hacking, cyber thefts and illegal activities.
According to a report by Trend Micro, Telegram is the number one app used by terrorists and criminals to communicate with themselves. Terrorists such as the Islamic State, Al Qaeda, Al Shabaab are using the app as a major shield to bury their activities and intents.
In a report released by Trend Micro, Telegram is used by 34% of 2,301 accounts that support terror ideologies of group. The app is ‘used more for communication and coordination rather than for information theft or to spread malicious links’. Other apps used by these individuals and groups are ‘Wickr, Surespot, Signal, and Threema accounted for the rest, along with Whatsapp and other messaging apps’.
The report conceded that WhatsApp used to be a very popular messaging app for such people but its influenced waned after many terrorists were arrested after they were traced to their WhatsApp communication.
As regards email, Google’s GMail is the leading mailing services used by people linked-with and or suspected to be terrorists. GMail is used by 34% of the total number of people in the sample. Gmail is not the only email service used by these peoople. The report said ‘secure email services are heavily used by terrorists, with services such as SIGAINT, Ruggedinbox, and Mail2Tor being highly recommended among their ilk.’
The implication of the report is that digital and mobile technologies are key engine driving terror activities. As more younger people join the likes of ISIS and other terror groups the more the adoption of apps and other encryption technologies would be adopted.
Tech companies are also putting measures in place to protect themselves. Facebook Inc, launched end-to-end encryption feature for WhatsApp. While this aggravates agitations of governments and security experts that such moves will embolden terrorists to use the app for criminal purposes, the company thinks otherwise. Less than a month after WhatsApp became a dark hole, Viber has also followed suit encrypting communication on its messaging app.
Yesterday, Brazilian government lifted a 72 hour ban on WhatsApp. The ban might become a potent tool for governments who might not be able to track communications by terrorists.