After Being Banned on Telegram, ISIS Adopts Blockchain-Based Messaging for Propaganda
It has been reported by Vice that the organization has already started testing a blockchain-based messaging app in order to spread propaganda and communicate anonymously. This app is known as BCM Messenger and comes after the group has already tried using Riot, TamTam, Hoop, and RocketChat. BCM is more advantageous for the terrorists because it’s encrypted and those using can remain anonymous.
BCM Messenger Available on Both iOS and Android
Working on iOS and Android too, the BCM Messenger is advertised as very secure, as its messages are strictly encrypted, and a third party could never decipher their content. Besides, it has the option to create supergroups with more than 100,000 people. Different from other similar platforms for instant messaging, BCM doesn’t require a phone number or an email address. This means anyone can use it without providing personal details, which furthermore indicates law enforcement agents can’t track criminals sending messages on it. This is what Brenna Smith, a disinformation researcher, had to say about BCM in her latest newsletter:
“The app’s core features of anonymity, encryption, and large group-chat sizes also pose a great risk for adoption. Extremists covet technologies that can get their message out to thousands all while concealing their identity.”
Telegram No Longer Accepts Terrorists
Terrorist organizations have been using encryption-enabled instant messaging (IM) platforms to distribute their propaganda for quite a while. Telegram has been their choice in the recent past, since Decrypt reported in August that this platform has been used widely by terrorists from all over the world, as the DC-based Middle Eastern Media Research Institute (MEMRI) says. This is what the MEMRI’s executive director, Steven Stalinsky had to say about the situation back then:
“Telegram is the number one source for terrorist organizations online.”
The EU Made an Effort to Discover and Destroy ISIS IM Accounts
The European Union (EU) made an effort to discover and destroy the ISIS IM accounts, which means the same can happen with BCM. This is what Pavel Durov, Telegram’s CEO has declared in the past about ISIS using Telegram:
“ISIS and their likes will have [a] hard time on Telegram if they continue to spread their message of violence and hatred.”
ISIS isn’t using the blockchain technology for the first time. As a matter of fact, it has been raising funds through cryptocurrency transfers, regardless of the fact that the group is employing public ledgers and are quite easy to track.