How Inter Services Intelligence (ISI) Arrested the ISIS network with
help of #Telegram and a Selfie
Secret Services in Pakistan have discovered another way to target ISIS activists – the Russian app Telegram.They have succeeded in capturing Network ISIS activists in Peshawar after members of the group were found chatting on Telegram where a selfie revealed the location of the plot.Muhammad Farid, a 23-year-old ISIS militant, was captured on June 24 during a security raid on a flour mill in the outskirts of Peshawar where the group was planning a huge attack. Farid admitted to interrogators after arrest that he had executed 32 including 15 policemen and five sex laborers.
However, it was the Afghan citizen’s phone uncovered to security officials ISIS’s preferred method of communication.
“Almost all communication and messaging was through the Telegram app,” said a CTD Counter Terrorism Department officer. “The aliases they used were common names which they changed frequently. They were mostly contacting with their group in Afghanistan.”
Telegram, a Russian chat application, has about 100 million users and has been giving law enforcement headaches the world over as it has end-to-end encryption, is difficult to crack the conversation, and has messages that auto deleted from server. Also Telegram has group chat feature where ISIS members were sharing Important target information.
“We found a list of 12 people who the group [in the flour mill had identified when it was busted,” said an intelligence official who asked to remain unnamed as he is not authorized to speak to the media. “Most of these targets were randomly chosen from Facebook and Twitter on sectarian grounds.”
In Farid’s cell phone, investigators found a selfie. And keeping in mind his face did not say much, it was the nine-frame window in the background that they picked up on, the report said. The window main frame in the background was a targeted location and security personnel found, 10 days later, after a big search operation in the area, Data for three months from the cell phones found in the flour mill operation showed that the men had made no calls but their combined internet usage exceeded 18 gigabytes, confirming to investigators the way IS was communicating. ISIS has been exceptionally successful in its utilization of social media and the internet , but it is also good in using old-school methods such as throwing pamphlets at the scene of an attack. ISIS graffiti was reported in parts of Peshawar a long time back, but the police initially publicly dismissed it as pranks to avoid creating panic.