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Could Twitter become terrorists' newest killer app? A draft Army intelligence report, making its way through spy circles, thinks the miniature messaging software could be used as an effective tool for coordinating militant attacks.
A draft Army intelligence report thinks Twitter could be used as an effective tool for coordinating militant attacks. For years, American analysts have been concerned that militants would take advantage of commercial hardware and software to help plan and carry out their strikes. Everything from online games to remote-controlled toys to social network sites to garage door openers has been fingered as possible tools for mayhem.
The report is roughly divided into two halves. The first is based mostly on chatter from Al-Qaeda-affiliated online forums. One Islamic extremist site discusses, for example, the benefits of "using a mobile phone camera to monitor the enemy and its mechanisms." Another focuses on the benefits of the Nokia 6210 Navigator, and how its GPS utilities could be used for "marksmanship, border crossings, and in concealment of supplies."
Such software could allow jihadists to pick their way across multiple routes, identifying terrain features as they go. A third extremist forum recommends the installation of voice-modification software to conceal one's identity when making calls. Excerpts from a fourth site show cell phone wallpapers that wannabe jihadists can use to express their affinity for radicalism:
Scenario 3: Cyber Terrorist operative "A" finds U.S. [soldier] Smith's Twitter account. Operative "A" joins Smith's Tweets and begins to elicit information from Smith. This information is then used for… identity theft, hacking, and/or physical [attacks]. This scenario… has already been discussed for other social networking sites, such as My Space and/or Face Book.