- The Washington Times - Thursday, September 5, 2013

Terrorists and jihadists say they have a new tool to undercut American and Western intelligence — a mobile encryption software system that operates cell phone-to-cell phone, and works on even those devices that aren’t equipped with the technology.

Called the “Mobile Encryption Program,” the software was released by a group of radical Islamists — The Global Islamic Media Front — that’s known for producing propaganda for the terror groups al Qaeda, the Taliban and al Shabaab, NBC reported. The software is intended for mobile phones that run off Android and Symbian systems — but it allows for the encrypted files to be sent and read on phones with different systems.

The technology update also allows users the ability to check email on a secure basis, and it stops them from receiving messages that aren’t encrypted, NBC reported. It was first revealed by Flashpoint Partners, a private consulting group that focuses on threats to intelligence and uncovering cyber warfare.

But some doubt the software will really prove as effective as claimed — and won’t harm the ability of the West to infiltrate terrorist cells and obtain intelligence information at all.

“We don’t really know how effective the encryption is or isn’t, because nobody at an official level has publicly disclosed that,” said Evan Kohlmann, a terrorism analyst with NBC. “However, based on our research, it is likely that U.S. intelligence agencies do have the capability to break that encryption when needed.”

• Cheryl K. Chumley can be reached at cchumley@washingtontimes.com.

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