Did You Hear About How ISIS Has A Sophisticated Training Manual For Encryption? Yeah, It Was Actually A Pamphlet For Journalists And Activists

from the fud-fud-fuddy-fud-fud dept

Did you hear that story about how ISIS is so sophisticated with encryption that they have a special "opsec" manual on computer security protocols? You might have, because last week it was all over the internet. Yahoo kicked it off with a story, claiming it was the secret manual ISIS "uses to teach its soldiers about encryption." Wired followed up with its own story, as did The Telegraph. The "manual" was "discovered" by analysts at the Combating Terrorism Center, based out of the US Military Academy at West Point. Thankfully, Buzzfeed has the details, noting that the guide, created by a cybersecurity firm in Kuwait, named Cyberkov, is actually a guide for journalists and activists to protect their communications from oppressive governments. And there's nothing particularly secret about it, as apparently it's basically just repurposed stuff from the EFF's website:
“Our guide is based on publicly available tools, instructions and best practices. The guidelines in our manual are sourced from the EFF [Electronic Frontier Foundation] and other sources of privacy organizations,” wrote CyberKov CEO Abdullah AlAli to BuzzFeed News in an email. He said his organization had no idea its guide had been repurposed by ISIS. He was surprised to see it cited in articles, many of which have been updated since they were originally posted to note the document’s origin, and “even more shocked to see the Combating Terrorism Center at West Point simply Google-Translated it and claimed it as ISIS’s.”
Now, it does appear that some folks in ISIS may have sent around versions of the guide, but it sort of undermines the idea that they had created their own special set of guidelines to avoid being tracked, when all they're doing is picking up publicly available information on security best practices.

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  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 24 Nov 2015 @ 12:50pm

    So of course the takeaway will be that EFF is helping terrorists.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    jjmsan, 24 Nov 2015 @ 12:51pm

    Could someone please send a copy to our government and businesses?

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 24 Nov 2015 @ 12:58pm

    O M G - and are the children using it, too?!

    - Dianne Feinstein, probably

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    Vidiot (profile), 24 Nov 2015 @ 1:08pm

    "Best practices" aid our enemies!

    The American Automobile Association publishes a brochure about vehicle maintenance issues in sandy, dry, dusty climates. Traitors! If not for that pamphlet, all IS vehicles would be dead and disabled in great heaps across the desert, and the terrorists would be defeated!

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    Derek (profile), 24 Nov 2015 @ 1:15pm

    For good guys only

    I think Silicon Valley should create a manual that only the "good guys" can use. With the trillions spent on technology, surely they can do that.

    D. Feinstein

    /sarc

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Christenson, 24 Nov 2015 @ 1:17pm

    Now WHICH government is oppressive?

    Just maybe it is our own? The US government?

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 24 Nov 2015 @ 1:45pm

    Brantly (who planted this lie) violated the West Point honor code

    "For the past few days, many articles around the world started referencing an alleged ISIS OPSEC manual that is claimed to be unearthed by the U.S Military Academy Combating Terrorism Center at West Point by Dr. Aaron Brantly and other researchers."

    Dr. Aaron Brantly of the U.S Military Academy violated the West Point honor code:

    "A cadet will not *lie*, cheat, steal, or *tolerate those who do*"

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cadet_Honor_Code

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • icon
      nasch (profile), 25 Nov 2015 @ 2:09pm

      Re: Brantly (who planted this lie) violated the West Point honor code

      Is he a cadet?

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 25 Nov 2015 @ 7:53pm

      Re: Brantly (who planted this lie) violated the West Point honor code

      "A cadet will not *lie*, cheat, steal, or *tolerate those who do*"

      Then how do they tolerate serving under those who do?

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 24 Nov 2015 @ 2:07pm

    When the thing you take away from this article is...

    We really need more of these manuals right here!
    What does that tell one about our own leaders?

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 24 Nov 2015 @ 2:18pm

    What next? Burner Playstations?

    Carrie Mathison & Peter Quinn buy 'em by the dozen.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 24 Nov 2015 @ 2:41pm

    Carefull western status quo governments, carefull, your true intentions are showing....

    The laws they create for terrorists are the laws they'll never voluntarilly rescind, the laws they plan to subjucate on a "free" society........terrorism the excuse for their crimes

    Criminals vs criminals

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    NSA, 24 Nov 2015 @ 2:45pm

    It's obvious that EFF equals ISIS.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 24 Nov 2015 @ 2:46pm

    Thankfully Buzzfeed has the detials...

    There are just so many things wrong with that.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • icon
      wereisjessicahyde (profile), 24 Nov 2015 @ 2:58pm

      Not true

      Believe it or not, since Buzzfeed actually started doing news they have had a few really good scoops that nobody else was covering.

      OK. Most of the content is clickbait drivel but they do pickup some really good stuff.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    wereisjessicahyde (profile), 24 Nov 2015 @ 2:55pm

    Looks like The Telegraph have edited thier piece

    Looks like The Telegraph have edited their piece

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    Uriel-238 (profile), 24 Nov 2015 @ 4:59pm

    You mean journalists and activists are NOT terrorists?

    They're considered as much in the US, especially by all those fun agencies like FBI, CIA, NSA, etc.

    LBJ took the IRT
    Down to 4th Street USA
    When he got there
    What did he see?
    The youth of America on LSD

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 24 Nov 2015 @ 5:27pm

    >can we make good-guys only gear into a meme.

    It's not just gear anymore. There are, you know, numbers that only good guys can use, formulas only good guys can count, math facts that are only true in the presence of good guys.

    And it's important here to understand that "good" is a subset of "American". No furriner, no matter how apparently good, can ever hope to use one of these special numbers, calculate one of these special formulas, or be aware in any way of these special math facts.

    Which explains why there are so many people complaining that "secure backdoors" is an oxymoron.

    You see, the existance of the numbers, formulas, and mathematical identities that allows the presence of "secure backdoors" CANNOT BE COMPREHENDED BY BAD GUYS AND FOREIGNERS. Which allows a simple way to determine who's evil. ANYONE WHO DOESN'T ADMIT THE EXISTANCE OF SECURE BACKDOORS INTO ENCRYPTED MATERIAL is either a foreigner or a bad guy. There's no point in arguing with them. Because of their status as evil-or-foreign, they live in a universe where secure backdoors are impossible. And Good[*] Americans live in that other universe, where secure backdoors can be called into being by legislative action, where PI can be 3 if needed, all square roots are rational and all primes factorable.

    [*]For, of course, all values of "good" approximating "chiropteroid-excreta lunacy" to within the desired degree of delusion.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 24 Nov 2015 @ 6:59pm

    Bah!

    The manuals aren't the story. The real story is the idiot "news services" that create and pick up such stories. But then, you have to remember that these services are in the business of creating headlines and click bait for sales purposes. Whether the "story" is actually relevant or factual is immaterial - gotta get them sales, ya know.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 25 Nov 2015 @ 12:51pm

    Is this admitting then that the government considers journalists who seek to do things with privacy are terrorists?

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 25 Nov 2015 @ 7:50pm

    yahoo.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]


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