- Rep. Luis Gutierrez: Senate Dems wary of immigration politics
- Summer camp for 1 percenters: Sushi, limos and shopping at FAO Schwarz
- Colorado gun crackdown law found to be built on faulty data
- Hank Aaron steps to fundraising plate for Democrat Michelle Nunn
- ISIL terrorists blow up burial site of Jonah, vow more of same
- Impeach Obama, say 35 percent in new poll
- Taliban yank 14 Shiites off bus, bind and shoot them on Afghan road
- Obama takes aim at ‘corporate deserters’
- Dick’s Sporting Goods lays off 478 PGA golf pros
- Senators: Cease-fire must allow Israel to defend against rockets, tunnels
Extremists take more security measures in wake of NSA leak
Question of the Day
Extremists are sharing media reports about the National Security Agency’s telecommunications surveillance program and are urging each other to increase their security.
“Jihadi groups over the coming weeks will be going through a rapid evolution of their security measures in response to details revealed” in leaked NSA documents, said Ben Venzke, CEO of IntelCenter, which monitors open-source extremist communications for government clients.
Classified documents posted online last week revealed that the NSA can intercept emails, instant messages and Internet phone or video calls from nine service providers, using a system called Prism.
“If you are a bad actor and I tell you all email from company X is being monitored, are you going to continue to use company X or are you going to switch to company C that is not on the list?” said Mr. Venzke, who has followed jihadi messaging for more than a decade.
Among the measures being suggested is stopping the use of email and communications services listed in the leaked documents — Google, Microsoft, Yahoo, Facebook, Skype, YouTube, Paltalk, Apple and AOL.
Extremists on bulletin boards also are recommending “increased use of encryption tools,” Mr. Venzke said.
Online jihadists have long urged their comrades to use encryption, which can shield an electronic communication from surveillance by scrambling the data of which it is composed. There is even an Arabic language computer encryption program called Mujahideen Secrets that members of one Web forum have been urged to use for several years.
Documents posted online last week revealed that the NSA has been collecting “metadata” — the time and length of telephone calls, the calling and receiving numbers, and the two parties’ location — of about every call made or received in the United States.
In addition, the agency has been collecting massive amounts of content data — the texts of emails or the sounds of people talking on Internet calls — directly from Internet providers, although officials say this capability is used only against people “reasonably believed” to be foreigners outside of the United States.
Glenn Greenwald, the reporter for Britain’s Guardian newspaper who broke the Prism story, has said the revelation will not hurt counterterrorism efforts because terrorists already know their communications are being monitored.
“There’s not a single revelation that we’ve provided to the world that even remotely jeopardizes national security,” he told NBC Monday.
But Mr. Venzke said: “Terrorists, hostile intelligence agencies, child pornographers and the rest of the world of nefarious actors for the most part can all read.”
He said that terrorists and other intelligence targets may have “had a vague notion that this [surveillance] was going on” but likely were focused on other aspects of their plots, not communication security.
“I guarantee you it just went right to the top of their priority list,” he said.
© Copyright 2014 The Washington Times, LLC. Click here for reprint permission.
About the Author
Shaun Waterman is an award-winning reporter for The Washington Times, covering foreign affairs, defense and cybersecurity. He was a senior editor and correspondent for United Press International for nearly a decade, and has covered the Department of Homeland Security since 2003. His reporting on the Sept. 11 Commission and the tortuous process by which some of its recommendations finally became ...
- Senator's memo shows Iran links in Homeland Security's troubled immigration program
- Help wanted: Homeland Security plagued by vacancies at the top
- Dems back bill to fix problems in investor visa program
- Democrats proceed with Mayorkas vote despite pending investigation
- NSA monitored 'World of Warcraft' players
Latest Blog Entries
TWT Video Picks
Second- and third-stringers eye 2016 if front-runner stumbles
- 'We're coming for you, Barack Obama': Top U.S. official discloses threat from ISIL terrorists
- Obama orders Pentagon advisers to Ukraine
- NAPOLITANO: What if our democracy is a fraud?
- Michelle Obama says money in politics is bad, asks donors for 'big, fat check'
- Hamas rejects Kerry's call for cease-fire; Fears grow others could join fight against Israel
- Presidents of Honduras, Guatemala blame U.S. for border children crisis
- PRUDEN: The Democratic-wannabe mice under Hillary Clinton's feet
- Crime-ridden U.S. cities differ on ways to fight gun violence
- Let it roll: D.C. Council hits Las Vegas on taxpayer's dime, leaves $14,000 tab
- Obama takes aim at 'corporate deserters'
Obama's biggest White House 'fails'
Celebrities turned politicians
Athletes turned actors
20 gadgets that changed the world
Fighting in Iraq