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  Computing Power Enhances Terrors’ Reach  

 

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  Computing Power Enhances Terrors’ Reach
Posted: Apr 17 2014
Erik Laykin

The post Cold War era has witnessed the information revolution with its global saturation of personal computing power. Previously unthinkable instant access to massive data warehouses of information has transcended the business and intelligence communities and is now a staple ingredient of the terrorist community. An important by-product of the Western world’s open society is that it is not only open to the West, but to all those that are ‘plugged in’ to its many portals of information flow.

The global terrorist body has synthesized data from these open systems to alleviate its own knowledge gaps and shortcomings, in many cases jump starting violent initiatives by finally providing a planning road map where previously none existed. These roadmaps to terrorism are easily distributed to clandestine cells throughout the world in real time. Updates and scheduling changes appear with the tactical precision of any national central military command.

Hamas, Islamic Jihad and Hezbollah are avid and effective users of the global networks to help disseminate information. The content of this communication is readily available to the casual user of the internet and can contain information as straight forward as general data on the objectives of the movement, but has also been used effectively for raising funds from supporters which are dispersed and inhomogeneous.

The FBI suspected in early 2001 that Osama Bin Laden and his followers within Al-Qaida were communicating internationally through the use of a freely available tool which encrypts and embeds clandestine information in what would ordinarily appear to be innocuous information. This technique known as steganography or “steg” in the intelligence community has become the modern day equivalent of the “dead drop”.

Using steganography it is theorized that Al-Qaida would communicate in the open with cells throughout the world. One FBI agent disclosed to me that the suspected modus operandi

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