Snowden Leaks Helped Al-Qaeda Find Better Encryption
It’s not like we didn’t know this would happen, but it has.
Terrorists embracing new Android crypto in wake of Snowden revelations
by David Kravets
Security researchers announced Friday that they have found new evidence to bolster claims from the National Security Agency that terrorists have altered their countermeasures in the wake of the Edward Snowden revelations.
“Al-Fajr, one of Al-Qaeda’s media arms, released a new Android encryption application [in] early June 2014 on their website, referring to how it follows the “latest technological advancements” and provides ‘4096 bit public key’ encryption,” intelligence firm Recorded Future said in a Friday report.
The report added that Global Islamic Media Front, another arm of Al Qaeda, just released a “new version” of Android crypto software.
“Interestingly, between these two new product releases this continues the bet on mobile and Android as the preferred platform for these groups,” the report said. “The large availability and affordability of Android phones, especially in underdeveloped countries, is probably the reason for this.”
The research comes a month after new NSA Director Michael Rodgers said he had seen terrorists groups “make changes.” But, he said, “you have not heard me as the director say, ‘Oh my God, the sky is falling.’ I’m trying to be very specific and very measured in my characterizations.”
AL-QAEDA’S NEW HOMEBREW CRYPTO APPS MAY MAKE US INTEL-GATHERING EASIER
NSA spying revelations led to development of three new encryption apps.
The new report quotes a GIMF statement on a download page, in which suspected terrorists urge each other to “[t]ake your precautions, especially in the midst of the rapidly developing news about the cooperation of global companies with the international intelligence agencies, in the detection of data exchanged over smartphones.”
The report concludes that “it’s pretty clear” that there is an “increased pace of innovation in encryption technology by Al-Qaeda post Snowden.” The encryption, the report added, “is based on best practice, off the shelf, algorithms.”
What’s more, the latest crypto tools follow other crypto programs terrorists have developed following the Snowden leaks.