January 19, 2008
An Islamist Web site often used by al-Qaida supporters carried updated
encryption software on Friday that it said would help Islamic militants
communicate with greater security on the Internet.
The Mujahideen Secrets 2 was promoted as "the first Islamic program for
secure communications through networks with the highest technical level
The software, available for free on the password-protected Ekhlaas.org
site, which often carries al-Qaida messages, is a newer version of
Mujahideen Secrets issued in early 2007 by the Global Islamic Media
Front, an al-Qaida-linked Web-based group.
"This special edition of the software was developed and issued
by...Ekhlaas in order to support the mujahideen (holy war fighters) in
general and the (al-Qaida-linked group) Islamic State in Iraq in
particular," the site said.
The efficacy of the new Arabic-language software to ensure secure e-mail
and other communications could not be immediately gauged. But some
security experts had warned that the wide distribution of its earlier
version among Islamists and Arabic-speaking hackers could prove
Al-Qaida supporters widely use the Internet to spread the group's
statements through hundreds of Islamist sites where anyone can post
messages. Al-Qaida-linked groups also set up their own sites, which
frequently have to move after being shut by Internet service providers.
Al-Qaida's own media arm, As-Sahab, has become increasingly
sophisticated in recent years. It issued 97 audio and video Web messages
in 2007 compared with just 6 in 2002, according to IntelCenter, a
U.S.-based group that monitors Islamist sites.
Al-Qaida and other groups have increasingly turned to the Internet to
win young Muslims over to their fight against Western countries and
Story Copyright 2008 Reuters Limited. All rights reserved.
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