Pakistan hitting terrorists on cyber turf
LAHORE – Over 250 social media accounts involved in facilitating terrorist communications have been put out of business by a top security agency after hectic chase on the cyber highway, sources in a military intelligence service told The Nation yesterday.
Shutting down the terrorists and extremist forces’ networks on the internet is one of the important agenda items of 20-point National Action Plan (NAP).
The 14th point of the NAP said, “Measures against abuse of internet and social media for terrorism to be adopted.
” The Prevention of Electronic Crimes Act 2015 will give sweeping powers to the security agencies once see the light of the day to track down more linkages of terrorists on social media.
More than 180 accounts facilitating terrorists and other extremist forces communications have been blocked on twitter while the remaining on the Facebook.
The twitter is becoming a weapon of choice for the terrorists on the cyber highway, said the sources in the military intelligence service.
The terror facilitators are put out of business after months long chase because they use several cover identities (IDs) to avert check of the security services.
Asked to disclose some of the identities of the blocked links on the social media, the security sources said, “They are following more leads through the blocked IDs followers and no information can be disclosed with regard to 250 plus shut down links of terrorists on social media.
The terror facilitators were using difficult and uncommon English and Arabic words for coded messages on the blocked accounts for real communication.
While nearly 150 blocked accounts were put on the cyber highway by the terrorists and extremist forces facilitators just to camouflage the actual accounts to continue their agenda undetected, they said.
The terror outfits using this technique in Pakistan, Afghanistan and some Western Europe countries.
There were even some password protected sites that refuse access without getting registration to surf these sites.
The handlers of the terrorists social media networks first check the link of the person who sends registration request to ensure he/she might not be a ‘bait for a trap operation’ of any security service.
When asked about the terror organizations active on the cyber highway, they said, “It is Al-Qaeda and Daesh if we talk about Asian and European region.
But Hizbut Tahrir is emerged as the key banned outfit in Pakistan which is using the cyber highway to advance its extremist agenda.
Some Baloch insurgents are also in the list using social media to advance their agendas.
In a surprising revelation, the security sources said, “Many of the IDs created in the name of terrorist outfits are not connected with them at all and just a ploy by these groups to stray the security services.
They are operating under ordinary IDs on the social media that do not attract suspicion.
A senior official of a premier intelligence service talking with the paper said, “The terrorists and extremist political groups had gauged the importance of the internet with its emergence but unfortunately we in third world acquired the expertise to track terrorists on this new war front only after 2001.
“The industry of terrorism under different labels had understood the use of social media at tactical and strategic level since long.
They are using their media professional teams by embedding them with their fighters on the ground to post the original action on social media to gain propaganda for more fear power to advance the terrorism business.
I must admit the cyber warfare is the most difficult frontier for any security service,” he added.