ISIS members in India may have been planning to develop an encrypted communication app similar to Signal. According to a report by the Times of India, a group of terror suspects made this revelation after being interrogated by the National Investigation Agency (NIA). As per the report, one ISIS member named Abu Anas was tasked with developing the app. He told interrogators, “I discovered Signal through open source since the other chatting applications like WhatsApp, Facebook and Instagram were easily being monitored by security agencies. Signal is not under the monitoring purview of the security agencies.” Edward Snowden is one of the people who use Signal to communicate.
Officials said that ISIS’ Mumbai-based chief, Mudabbir Shaikh, had asked Anas’ group (which had other computer experts) to develop a Java-based software for Android that would allow other members to communicate in secret. Anas has a Master’s degree in Computer Application, and was arrested in Hyderabad in January. ISIS has been attempting to encrypt its communication for a while now. Back in January, it was reported that ISIS was using an encrypted messaging app called Alrawi to communicate among itself. The group may have also opened a technical “help desk” that offers instructions to terrorists on how to evade electronic surveillance and prevent them from making security mistakes.