Islamic State Has Developed an Encrypted Communication App of Its Own

Author: Vladimir Ghilien

Last updated: June 16, 2017

The Islamic State is employing an encrypted Android communication app of its own. This was predicted by specialists that resist government efforts of demanding encryption backdoors to look clearly into correspondence between criminals and know what they are saying to one another.

The application, named Irawi.apk, uses a so-called rudimentary encryption and could be downloaded for entire last month on a website, where ISIS supporters were able to download it along with another application meant for propaganda distribution, according to a Defense One report.

Creation of an encryption app like this has been considered a probable outcome of regulations that were proposed internationally. These laws required backdoors that would permit service vendors to meet court orders for decryption of their clients’ private communications.

Therefore, since such commercial facilities weren’t safe anymore, terrorists and other criminals would turn to the use of existing end-to-end encryption without backdoors or develop their own backdoor-free encryption that wouldn’t comply with the regulations and laws.

Speaking of such laws, there is one argument against them, which is that in case they were decreed, criminals would still be capable of communicating securely, thus it wouldn’t serve the purpose, but would sap the security of encryption that is broadly utilized for legal purposes crucial to economies throughout the world. As well, it would disrupt mechanisms employed by journalists, who are trying to protect activists and sources that in turn are trying to elude political requitals.

Irawi.apk was found by Ghost Security, an anti-Islamic State group that monitors extremist websites, calls in law enforcement, when locates activities related to terrorism, and takes down extremist social media accounts.

The website that hosted the mobile app has been taken down after the application was discovered. The app for propaganda distribution was published by the Amaq Agency that is supposedly related to ISIS.

According to Ghost Security, comparing to commercially obtainable encryption, encrypted communications features are underdeveloped. They also stated that ISIS uses Telegram, an encrypted service for private messaging with better encryption, comparing to the Irawi.apk application.

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