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Terrorists sending coded messages in blog rants
Published on 30 Oct. 2009 11:45 PM IST
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Provocative rants by bloggers are a familiar sight to regular surfers of the internet. But some of these diatribes are more than simply a matter of disgruntled people venting their spleen — police say blogs have emerged as the favoured mode of communication of terrorists seeking to convey hidden messages to accomplices. Police officers are now busy scouring provocative blogs for such messages. ‘‘Earlier, terrorists used email and social networking websites to chat. However, in some cases, the modules were busted precisely with the help of web chat. To avoid this pitfall, terrorists have begun relying on blogs now,’’ said an anti-terrorism squad (ATS) officer. It may be recalled several Indian Mujahideen operatives were caught after the police engaged them in chat while posing as their associates. Similarly, police zeroed in on the location of a suspect in the 7/11 train bombing case after resorting to web chat, reported Times News Network. Police explained that blogs made it harder for police to tune in to chatter. An officer said, ‘‘in emails, many other email IDs can be traced. But a blog could be read by anyone, and all the police will get is internet protocol address of the blog’s readers. It will not give us exact email ID to identify the person. Moreover, blogs are being written in such a manner that the content looks religious or fanatical, but it actually contains coded messages for terrorists,’’ added an officer. Officers of the Cyber Crime Investigation Cell (CCIC) scan blogs and websites that contain remarks aimed at offending someone’s religious sentiment. They search them and send a request to the Computer Emergency Response Team (CERT) to block it. Meanwhile, the National Technology Research Organisation (NTRO), the country’s secret agency that monitors cyber crime, also tracks cyber terrorists. But many cyber experts are not reassured by the investigations of NTRO and other agencies, saying there’s need for more investment and training. Cyber guru Vijay Mukhi said the minute someone starts using internet, the chances of him or her being identified or caught are low. ‘‘They can be anywhere in the world but do their activities regularly. Even professionals and tech-savvy people are far behind cyber terrorists. We need to grasp the importance of cyber terrorism and chalk out a plan to control it,’’ said Mukhi. Former IPS officer Sanjay Pande, who now runs an e-security agency, said US spends billions of dollars to control cyber crime and to train law enforcement personnel, but there’s no such awareness in India. ‘‘The intelligence-gathering system is now more dependent on cyber technology than human intelligence. We’re not training our students enough. There’s inadequate investment in controlling or probing cyber crime in our country,’’ he added. He noted that terror outfits use advanced technology. ‘‘Terrorists today send messages through blogs, cryptography, stegnography and so on, but most police personnel in cyber units in our country are not even aware of these terminologies,’’ added Pandey.

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