Radicals on the web- India beware

Recruitments, data theft, cyber crime, communication etc is something that a terrorist would primarily use the internet for. A recent report from the United States of America goes on to indicate that the Lashkar-e-Tayiba has been using the internet extensively to radicalise youth across the world in order to take up the cause of jihad.

Although it is a well known fact that terrorists have always been net savvy, today the use of the internet has gone up ten fold. Although the entire world is at risk, India faces a very big challenge as this phenomenon of radicalising youth with the help of the internet has found favour on Indian soil as well.

Although India today is focusing most of its resources on cleaning up social networking sites, the bigger worry is how the internet is being used as a major tool to rope in the youth into the world of terrorism. Intelligence bureau reports would show that there is greater emphasis being laid on roping in the youth through the internet as compared to the scenario a couple of years back where it was done on a man to man basis.

For terrorists this works better since they save themselves the trouble of sending in the experts to carry out recruitments. Moreover it has been proven that self motivated terrorists have always posed a bigger risk to the security system when compared to those who have been brain washed. What tends to happen is that there is material available on the internet and those who repeatedly read it start deciding for themselves. It is their own thought that is in play in such a case which makes them self motivated.

There are nearly 100 sites in India which carry out such a job. Once a person reads through the content and is convinced that he wants to take up the cause of jihad, he has various means within that website of contacting other persons who will lead him up to his destination.

It has become a nightmare for the security agencies to keep a tab of such sites. Cyber crime experts say that it is hard since firstly these messages are garbled. However the bigger problem is that such sites appear and disappear which makes it very difficult to keep a tab on them. Moreover another thing that has been found that such websites are constantly modified and the moment the security agency lays their hands on them the content is changed which indicates that there is constant monitoring on the site. In more than 50 cases at least it has been found that persons hooked on these sites try getting back into them everyday and hence they never lose track of what is happening. After a couple of times they do realise that these sites disappear or are being modified on purpose and they too are aware of this modus operandi.

In India it has also been found that some of the websites have become very interactive in nature. Terrorists have found to be gathering information about some targets and all this date is provided to them by the user. In addition to this they have also been generating funds through donations as they pose to operate as a charitable trust for the purpose of furthering a religious cause. This aspect has found very many takers, security agencies point out.

While this is one aspect pertaining to radicalising the youth the internet has proven to be an excellent medium to connect with each other. With the help of hackers they have managed to encrypt messages and pass on information. More often than not they have managed to fox agencies since this has sometimes proven to be a ploy to throw security agencies off guard. The mistake that our security always makes is to chase something more complicated and in the bargain forget about the easy methods that are used to communicate. This was found during 9/11 when security agencies chased all encrypted messages while terrorists continued to use the normal email to talk with each other.

The issues such a date theft, cyber crimes have always been there and there are various agencies working on such things. However the biggest headache that Indian agencies find today is the huge recruitment process that takes places through the internet. While security forces and intelligence officials are busy preventing activities on the ground, they have been foxed today with the manner in which recruitments continue to take place with the help of the internet.

Police officials say that while interrogating various terrorists they have found those self motivated one to be the most dangerous. Usually those who have been radicalised by another person always have this sense of dependency and there have been times when they have felt forced to do something against their will. However the likes of Kafeel Ahmed of the Glasgow case, T Nasir among other who have gone through a process of radicalisation on their own have proven to be deadlier compared to the rest of them. This phenomenon could be found across the world and hence terrorist outfit would continue to use the net to rope in the youth across the world. More importantly it has be proven it is a safer operation for them since the trail is very hard to find.

Author: Vicky Nanjappa

just a reporter

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