Islamic State warns its members about fake Android apps that can spy on them
Opponents fighting the Islamic State (Isil) have stepped up their attempts to foil the group by creating fake versions of its appsand tricking members into downloading them, according to an intelligence researcher.
Worried that the apps could dupe followers into revealing information about themselves and their location, IS released a message urging its members verify the creator before downloading IS-related apps.
“Warning: dubious sources published a fake version of the Amaq Agency Android app, aimed at breaching security and spying,” read the warning from IS, found by Rita Katz, director and co-founder of the Site Intelligence Group.
IS has released at least six Android apps designed for recruitment and information sharing, including a themed Arabic-learning app for children, and a news app. The former pairs Arabic letters with corresponding words, such as Sarokh (rocket) for “S” and Bundiqiya (rifle) for “B”, according to Motherboard.
It is not clear who created the fake apps, or what exactly they were designed to do – be it to spy on IS members or mine data from their phones and other devices. The group’s use of tailor-made apps comes after public companies, including Apple, Facebook, Twitter and Telegram all stepped up attempts to stop it from using their technology as a way to communicate.
As well as major Silicon Valley companies, governments and cyber vigilantes have also vowed to target the IS online.
The US Government declared cyber war on the group back in April, in the first public mobilisation of its Cyber Command for warfare. Meanwhile Anonymous vowed to carry out “many cyber-attacks” against IS as revenge after the Paris attacks last November. “We will not rest as long as terrorists continue their actions around the world. We will strike back against them. We will keep hacking their websites, shutting down their Twitter accounts, and stealing their Bitcoins,” it said.
Members of IS are known to have advanced cyber skills. The group released a security manual that revealed part of its cyber strategy in the week after the Paris attacks, including use of the Tor browser and secure email