It has recently been discovered that the terrorists conducting the attacks in Paris were communicating using un-encrypted servers. The news comes after many security and intelligence officials used the recent attacks as a means of attacking encryption, saying that it makes us vulnerable to deadly acts of violence. With this new realization that the terrorists weren’t even using encrypted communication methods, the argument that encryption is a safety hazard has continued to prove weaker.
Most intelligence officials cried out that the terrorists were most likely using very advanced techniques of encryption. They stated that if encryption was outlawed, they would have been able to stop the attacks from occurring. This proved not to be the case, as the criminals were using methods of communication that could have very easily been traced.
Some earlier reports indicated that the terrorists even used the heavily encrypted PlayStation 4 network in order to communicate. There were even suggestions that the terrorists played shooting video games, tediously writing out messages one bullet at a time into the walls of the game. The message would have been read and subsequently erased, making it untraceable. However, this is now believed to be false.
Other reports stated that the Islamic State was actually running a “help desk” that assisted members of the terrorist group in understanding how encryption technology works and how that it can be used to their benefit. But with the new reports that ISIS wasn’t even using encryption in the recent devastating attacks, it’s fair to wonder if the terrorist organization is even using encryption at all.
Officials made the discovery that ISIS members were not using encryption in the recent attacks when a mobile phone that allegedly belonged to one of the attackers was found. Investigators were able to determine that the communication was conducted using unencrypted regular SMS.
Indeed, the suspected mastermind of the attacks Abdelhamid Abaaoud did not use any encryption techniques whatsoever. While this doesn’t prove that ISIS uses no encryption or that it won’t start using encryption in the future, it does suggest that the group isn’t as technologically advanced as many people think.
But for now, it’s very clear that the fact that intelligence officials were using a devastating incident to address their own political agenda of outlawing encryption is absolutely shameful.