Don’t you just hate it when your crime spree numbers are down due to lack of organization among your team members? Wouldn’t it be nice if there was a desktop application or mobile app to help streamline your productivity when it comes to hurting others and destroying lives?
If only the reality was actually a laughing matter. Instead, investigators in the UK have uncovered criminal plots to kill police officers and civilians; what’s worse, the suspects’ computers contained Skype messages from insurgents in other countries, along with instructions on downloading and using a software title that allows jihadists to communicate with each other.
According to a report by the BBC, one specific case involving four suspected terrorists resulted in discovering numerous electronic and online tools that most everyday people use for work or social connections. Instead, the four were using them to secure firearms, learn how to cover their tracks, and how to establish aliases in order to avoid suspicion.
This kind of tech-based activity is hardly new, unfortunately. In the wake of the Paris attacks, hacktivist group Anonymous began systematically shutting down tens of thousands of Twitter accounts that were used to spread messages among members of ISIS and other jihadist groups. In the US, the terrorists who are still in a standoff after seizing control of a federal building in Oregon have used Facebook and YouTube to reach out to their supporters, and have even requested donations of money and supply runs from their sympathizers.
One thing about software is true: there will always be a nefarious purpose for any new title, concept, or platform. It will be up to law enforcement to do a better job of recognizing the threats that any new tech can provide, and staying on top of the technology before it can be used for harm.