Islamic State terrorists are experimenting with new blockchain messaging app
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- Islamic State ISIS is an Islamic extremist terrorist organization controlling territory in Iraq...[+]
The Islamic State has discovered blockchain. The technology that powers cryptocurrencies like bitcoin and ethereum promises to revolutionize almost all facets of society, from payment processing to online voting.
Now ISIS is actively testing a blockchain-based messaging app that could provide everything it needs to thrive: secure, anonymous communication, a tamper-proof repository for beheading videos and other ISIS propaganda, and perhaps most ominously, the ability to transfer cryptocurrency anywhere in the world.
The app in question, BCM, is among a number of trials ISIS is conducting on niche messaging platforms such as TamTam, RocketChat, Riot, and Hoop, but the anonymous and encrypted nature of BCM makes it ideally suited to a group looking to avoid detection by law enforcement.
“The app’s core features of anonymity, encryption, and large group chat sizes also pose a great risk for adoption,” Brenna Smith, a researcher specializing in investigating disinformation and the illicit use of cryptocurrencies, wrote in her Cryptosint newsletter this week. “Extremists covet technologies that can get their message out to thousands all while concealing their identity.”
Until recently, Telegram was that platform, offering terrorist high visibility while requiring very few identifying characteristics. But at the end of November, an international law enforcement operation led by the EU dismantled the huge network of accounts and channels ISIS had established on Telegram.
Initially, it looked like the little known Russian messaging app TamTam was going to provide refuge for ISIS’ online activities. While it still maintains a presence on this platform, the administrators have acted aggressively to block many of the accounts.