UK: Terrorists Use Facebook, Twitter for 'Cyber Jihad'

The British government is warning about the threat of al-Qaida using online technology to plan attacks in pursuit of a “cyber jihad,” BBC News reports.

According to U.K.’s updated counterterrorism strategy published Tuesday, terrorists’ use of social media to disseminate information and radicalize people is “commonplace,” and evidence shows extremists are looking to “invade Facebook.”

The strategy also predicts that cyber attacks will likely increase and extremists will become more sophisticated in their use of social networking and video sharing sites. Since the killing of Osama bin Laden in May this year, al-Qaida has called not only for acts of terrorism, but also for “cyber jihad,” the document said.

Terrorists and extremists have used Twitter to share extremist content fast, widely and among individuals who would not normally search for similar material. Innovations in technology — such as encryption software and cloud computing — also allow terrorists to store and share material online, while disguising their activity.

“Terrorists are increasingly using online technology, including Google Earth and Street View, for attack planning,” Home Secretary Theresa May said.  “While radicalization continues primarily to be a social process, terrorists are making more and more use of new technologies to communicate their propaganda.”


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