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ISIS looking for Muslim Women: Dating Sites have become new Recruitment drive for ‘lonely’ Islamic State members

ISIS is back to recruit and this time they are finding all means

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ISIS members with the flag. VOA
  • ISIS is a modern non-state actor known for committing brutal acts of terror and its extreme political ideology in Iraq and Syria
  • The organization has used online platforms and social media networks to radicalize and recruit many people, most of which have been youth
  • ISIS is now recruiting through online dating websites

June 01, 2017: People watched in disbelief when hundreds of youngsters left their countries to join the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS). These youngsters had decent comfortable lives in their countries, however, they left. This was the remarkable success of the approach adopted by ISIS to recruit new members and supporters for their organizations. The organization used social media to recruit or even radicalize the young minds. Platforms like Facebook, Twitter, Youtube along with many other small time websites were used.

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ISIS members. VOA

Two years ago, an underground hacking group called ‘Anonymous’ waged an online cyber war against ISIS. The famous ‘hacktivist’ group Anonymous successfully hacked multiple ISIS accounts. It was a famous online campaign when thousands of ISIS profiles were exposed online. Interestingly, Anonymous also revealed that ISIS recruiters are present on dating websites. A website called ISISsingles.com was one such site where ISIS members would seek brides. However, it was really just a recruitment method.

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Now it looks like the dating websites approach is back. ISIS is reportedly back on dating websites again. According to the Middle East Media Research Institute, based in Washington DC, ISIS now has advertisements placed on dating pages. This was confirmed by reports from Jordan. A girl from Jordan was stopped on her way to Syria. Her family claims that a militant living in Raqqa promised their daughter a lavish house with servants and a handsome fighter for a husband.

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This is precisely how ISIS has been so successful. It gives false promises to the youth; a luxurious lifestyle that is indeed attractive for the young adults. They are promised all the riches if they somehow make it to Syria. This tactic combined with the effective internet usage makes ISIS a threat to the global online community.

– By Saksham Narula of NewsGram. Twitter: @Saksham2394

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  • vedika kakar

    Omg! That is so scary. The youth should be more careful now about all these fake promises

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According to Defence Experts, Better Social Media Usage can Prevent Hacking

Experts also believe that China poses the most imminent threat to India in hacking sensitive data in possession of defence forces through the use of malware and spyware installed on cheap smartphones

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Social Media
Social Media has become so embedded into our lives that it is difficult to restrain anyone from its use. Pixabay

The Indian Army’s recent directive to its personnel in critical posts to deactivate their Social Media accounts and not share official information on WhatsApp might only partly address the challenges posed by tech-based espionage activities, experts said here on Friday.

On the contrary, better education and training in Social Media usage, greater stress on switching over to homemade software and hardware, and adoption of best practices in cyber-hygiene, in line with advanced militaries across the globe, can go a long way in thwarting attempts at hacking to steal sensitive information, experts told IANS.

In addition, defence forces also face challenges of security vulnerabilities from spyware like Pegasus, which can track calls and read messages, if physically installed on smartphones, apart from phishing and attempts of ‘honeytrapping’.

Earlier this month, two soldiers of the Indian Army were held in a case of ‘honeytrapping’ by the intelligence wing of Rajasthan Police allegedly for sharing sensitive information with Facebook user ‘Sheerat’.

“Social media has become so embedded into our lives that it is difficult to restrain anyone from its use. The answer does not lie in banning the use of Facebook and WhatsApp alone. The soldiers can easily shift to other social media platforms like Telegram. Moreover, there are thousands of other apps available for everyday use. These apps have the threat potential to be used for hacking into a smartphone. The answer lies in better training in cybe- hygiene and data privacy that would enable a user to take a call on what not to post, what to post and even avoid phishing,” former Northern Army Commander, Lt Gen D.S. Hooda (retd) told IANS.

Experts also believe that China poses the most imminent threat to India in hacking sensitive data in possession of defence forces through the use of malware and spyware installed on cheap smartphones. “There should be more emphasis on usage of indigenously developed software and hardware,” added Hooda.

China itself had taken a lead in avoiding social media misuse by its armed forces personnel when it directed for the installation of special software on People’s Liberation Army (PLA) soldiers to prevent hacking.

“All devices used by PLA soldiers should be installed with special software created by the army’s IT experts and domestic mobile operators, so their activities can be closely monitored by the army’s newly established internet administration centres,” the Hong Kong-based English daily South China Morning Post reported in April 2016, quoting the Chinese Communist Party mouthpiece People’s Daily.

Social Media
The Indian Army’s recent directive to its personnel in critical posts to deactivate their Social Media accounts and not share official information on WhatsApp might only partly address the challenges posed by tech-based espionage activities. Pixabay

“The software aims to filter all ‘unhealthy and negative messages’ that could harm the army’s political spirit and morale, curb access to sensitive information that might lead to leaking of military intelligence,” the People’s Daily report said. It also tracks off-duty officers in case they visit ‘unwanted places’,” the South China Morning Post further reported.

However, the decision to ban the use of social media to share “official information” has been seen as a step in the right direction by defence experts.

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“It is possible for inimical elements to open fictitious accounts to communicate with those privy to sensitive official information. It is possible for data to be extracted from Chinese smartphones. Though communicating with the use of social media platforms cannot be stopped, sharing of official information through these channels should be put to an end,” said former Director-General of Information Systems, Army, Lt Gen Prakash Katoch (retd). (IANS)