ISIS members and supporters took over not just land in Syria and Iraq but a lot of Internet territory in their push to expand the Islamic State, advertise their operations, threaten the West and recruit new members.
Many of the accounts that spread like wildfire across Twitter, though, came under suspension Tuesday for tweeting photos or video of the beheading of journalist James Foley. Other Islamic State tweeters announced that they were voluntarily turning off their accounts for a few days until the storm passed, or resurfaced with altered account names.
A document posted on JustPaste.it, where ISIS has placed previous announcements such as photos posted Wednesday of its presence dangerously close to Aleppo, tells supporters and jihadists how to lay low online for the most effectiveness — including deceptively tweeting that they don’t support the bloody jihad of ISIS.
“The intelligence agencies specifically monitor the internet with the intention of dismantling anti-colonial narratives and attacking those who postulate them. Whether Muslim, radical socialist, anarchist, or anti-government activist, they want you. They want to know what you send, when you send it, to whom you send it to, why, and how to use it against you. They monitor your social media. Even if you never use your real name, post a picture, or leave any hints, they can track your IP address, know your identity, and jail you for a few online posts. They search for keywords such as ‘kafir’ in order to find specific individuals,” warns the paper, which begins with the verse, “And prepare against them whatever you are able of power and of steeds of war by which you may terrify the enemy of Allah and your enemy and others besides them whom you do not know [but] whom Allah knows.”
It stresses that the dangers posed online for jihadists aren’t a big deal in “South Africa or Sham [Syria],” but in the West, where the terror group wants to quietly maintain and grow its influence, “kafir intelligence agencies are particularly interested in entrapping young Muslims.”
“Is it lying to trick the kufar into thinking we live in different locations than we actually do, through words or otherwise, even if other Muslims may hear or see this?” the paper asks as a “minor issue,” before stressing that “war is deceit.”
“The people we are fooling are ones who have an open war with Allah, his messenger, our khilafah, and just about every sincere Muslim on this planet. You are engaging in war tactics so that you can spread the true dawah and discuss matters of jihad, to uncover news about your mujahid brothers, to dismiss lies. You are entering into a sort of psychological warfare with them, they do not take it lightly, and we do not take it lightly. Therefore, we can trick them and it is totally permissible.”
The paper was posted and pinned in a tweet by a user named Amreeki Witness, who is “dedicated to raising awareness about the upcoming conquest of the Americas, and the benefits it has upon the American people.” His avatar uses a State Department symbol and his Twitter cover photo is the White House with an Islamic State flag perched on top. He also posted the tips on remaining anonymous on a WordPress blog.
First, the tipsheet advises using a ghost VPN so “if the agencies attempt to track you, their search will lead them to a dead end,” and an Internet browser named TOR so “instead of simply placing you in one location, it sends you internet signal through nodes, or servers, across dozens of countries. That way, any searches will come up inconclusive.”
Users are then walked through how to create an encrypted email address “to confuse any spies who wish to uncover who sent what email to who” and install a TAILS operating system that runs off a flash drive instead of a hard drive. Instant messaging is encouraged only on Cryptocat or ChatSecure.
“One might be asking themselves if they can continue using their old social media on these. The answer is yes, but I do not recommend it whatsoever,” the paper continues. “If one feels they post things in which they would need this security, which is most Muslims upon haqq who are active online, then they should make a disclaimer saying something similar to, ‘I recant all opinions deemed dangerous or violent expressed on this page. This page was run for educational and analytic purposes only, to study the radical Muslim community for recreational purposes. I invite all those who follow this page to leave such corrupt ideology. I am not affiliated with any groups or organizations deemed terrorist or dangerous otherwise by any Western government or union of governments. I am a law abiding citizen in every regard.'”
“And then proceed to delete all other tweets/posts on the page and after leaving this up for a few minutes, simply delete the page. Make no indication that you have done this based on instructions. You are in a war with these people, we have discussed this earlier. Now, once you are on either TOR with a VPN, TOR, and/or TAILS OS, make a new bitmessage email. Make an alias. Sign-up for Twitter on TOR. Do not post pictures or any indication of who you are explicitly. If you feel the need to alter your writing style a bit, if you were a popular page, do so. You can make subtle indications that this is so and so, however, nothing that can be proven in a court of law. Allah’u must’a’n, may we never see inside one of those rooms for such a purpose.”
The writer asks Allah “to hasten our venturing to the lands of jihad and hijrah, the lands in which there is no worry about people spying on private matters, in which the justice of Allah is supreme over the paranoia of men.”
A new Twitter account named @KhilafaHackers — Caliphate Hackers — also appeared online today, indicating that the Islamic State doesn’t plan on just playing defense against intelligence agencies trying to track them down.
“When it comes to Muslims in America i Quote Yasser Fazaga: The Less you Talk the more you Walk,” tweeted a user called @TheArabWitness today. “Too many informants. Keep it down.”