Al-Qaida’s media wing, Al-Sahab, has begun using an Israeli company in order to secure its communications.
The Middle East Media Research Institute discovered that the group was using Safemail, which according to its website “is owned and operated by Secure Information Technologies Ltd., which is a privately owned company registered in Israel and with offices in Israel, the UK and Japan.”
The company describes itself as: “The most secure, easy to use communication system. It includes encrypted mail system with collaboration features and document storage functions. Always accessible at any time from anywhere!” According to the MEMRI report, released on April 25, “Al-Qaida’s Embrace Of Encryption Technology – Part II: 2011-2014, And The Impact Of Edward Snowden,” the al-Qaida media wing announced on April 9 that an open interview of Maulana Asim Umar, the head of al-Qaida’s Shari’a Committee in Pakistan, would take place.
Questions would be received in Urdu, Arabic, English or Pashto at either a Yahoo or Safe-mail email address, said the announcement.
Since 2007, the report said, al-Qaida began using encryption technology in order to protect its communications from breaches of its websites by Western government agencies.
Following the disclosures by former US intelligence computer professional, Edward Snowden, Western governments have noticed that the group has changed its communication methods.
Other jihadi groups and forums have also advised regarding new programs for secure communication and warning against using a compromised service.
In one case, an announcement was made on a jihadi forum close to the group, the Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant, at the end of 2013, about the Asrar Al-Ghurabaa project, meant to provide for secure online communication.
However, the Global Islamic Media Front warned against trusting the program and released its own encryption software called Asrar Al-Mujahideen, reported MEMRI.
It said that jihadis should not use software that was not released by the Al-Fajr media center or by GIMF itself.