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Terrorist Groups In Pakistan Switch To New Messaging Apps | India News


SRINAGAR: In the midst of an intense debate over the privacy offered by messaging platforms like WhatsApp, terrorist groups and their handlers in Pakistan are switching to new applications including one developed by a Turkish company, officials said.
The three new requests came to light after evidence was collected after encounters with terrorists or with those who surrendered before the military provided details on their mode of radicalization by Pakistan-based terror groups, they said.
The names of the messaging apps have been hidden for security reasons.
While one of the apps is owned by a US-based company, the second is from Europe. The latter is an application developed by a Turkish company that has been used frequently by terrorist group managers and their potential recruits in the Kashmir Valley.
The new applications have the ability to work with the slowest Internet connections where Enhanced Data for Global Evolution (EDGE), used in the late 2000s, or 2G, are running.
The government had suspended the internet in Jammu and Kashmir after the former state’s special status was abrogated in August 2019. At the beginning of last year, 2G internet services were restored.
Terrorist groups had practically stopped using WhatsApp and Facebook Messenger. Later, it was discovered that they had switched to new applications available free of charge on the Internet, a security official said.
All encryption and decryption is done directly on the devices, thus reducing third-party intervention at any time and these applications use the RSA-2048 encryption algorithm, which was adopted as the most secure encryption platform.
RSA is an American network authentication and security company that was founded in 1982 by Ron Rivest, born in the United States, Adi Shamir, born in Israel, and Leonard Adleman, born in the United States. The acronym RSA is used throughout the world as a fundamental key in the cryptosystem.
One of the new messaging apps used by terrorists to radicalize youth in the Valley does not even ask for phone numbers or emails to allow total user anonymity, officials said.
Efforts are underway to block such apps in Jammu and Kashmir, they said.
This comes at a time when security agencies in the Valley are battling the threat of virtual SIM cards. Terrorist groups are increasingly using them to connect with their manipulators in Pakistan.
The penetration of this technology came to light in 2019 when a request was sent to the United States to seek details of a provider of virtual SIM services used by a Jaish-e-Mohammed suicide bomber in the attack on a CRPF convoy in Pulwama. That left 40 dead staff members.
However, a detailed investigation by the National Investigation Agency and other security agencies indicated that more than 40 virtual SIM cards were used in the Pulwama attack alone, and there are likely more of them floating in the cyberspace of the Valley, officials said.
It’s a fairly new modus operandi in which terrorists on the other side of the border are using virtual SIM cards generated by a service provider based in a foreign country. In this technology, the computer generates a phone number and the user needs to download an application from the service provider on their smartphone to use it.

Times of India