Key Internal Security Challenges from Communication networks and media

Mainstream as well as social media may create internal security problem in the form of terrorism by instilling fear and an uncertain future. Mass media can also propagate the ideas of the threatening bodies to internal security in many cases. At the same time, due to the convenience, affordability and broad reach of social media platforms like YouTube, Facebook and Twitter, terrorist groups have increasingly used social media to further their goals and spread their message. None of them are security threats by themselves but the users of these services can pose the threats by their anti-social endeavours.

All anti-government forces use at least one form of presence on the Internet and most of them are using all formats of up-to-date online platforms: e-mail, chat rooms, e-groups, forums, virtual message boards, and resources like You-Tube, Facebook, Twitter, and Google Earth.

Internet and Chat Rooms

Internet has become a platform for coordination of plans of attack, communication with cells, or propaganda and information and spread of hate campaign or messages that can hurt the sentiments of people. Key motivations for using internet for such uses are as follows:

  • The audience is enormous, much larger than for most regular media. It is easy to access and to stay anonymous.
  • It is incredibly fast and inexpensive, and it offers a multimedia environment, which means that text, graphics, video, songs, books, and presentations can all be combined.
  • In addition, regular media now often report on or even copy Internet content, which means that both old and new media can be influenced by using the Internet.
  • These groups now have their own websites where they can convey their propaganda and, for most of them, they advise their readers and followers not to trust the media which are seen as the enemy.
  • The second goal is achieved more easily as the terrorist groups can form their agenda and give their own messages.
  • Chat rooms and electronic forums enable the insurgent and extremists groups to communicate with members and supporters all over the world, to recruit new followers and to share information at little risk of identification by authorities.
  • The chat service like Skype, which includes voice and video capabilities, has become particularly popular with terrorist cells.

Twitter and Social Networking

  • Twitter has become an effective coordination tool for stirring riots and trying to launch the negative propaganda.
  • Despite the utility of Twitter forum, members continued to be wary of networking sites such as Facebook.
  • Popular social networking websites are another means of attracting potential members and followers.
  • These types of virtual communities are growing increasingly popular all over the world, especially among younger demographics. Youths are especially targeted for propaganda, incitement and recruitment purposes by terrorist groups.

You-tube and other Video-sharing sites

  • Terrorist groups have realized the potential of this easily accessed platform the uploading, downloading and viewing video tapes for the dissemination of their propaganda and radicalization videos.
  • YouTube is argued to be an alternative to television and a medium that allows reaching massive, global audiences.
  • The viral videos and false updates of communal clashes, riots and terrorists attack have created a massive impact in the life of public.

Encryption methods

  • Encryption is the process of process of encoding messages or information in such a way that eavesdroppers cannot read it, but the intended recipient can.
  • Use of BlackBerry phones/whats app to send and receive messages, concerns the government because the communications sent via such devices and applications are encrypted and could not be monitored and consequently hinders the country’s efforts to fight terrorism and crime.
  • The power of media and the process of public opinion formation in a free society had undergone radical change due to Internet and faster means of communications like SMS, whats app, viber and simplified mobile internet.
  • The chain of events beginning with the clashes in our north-east and which caused very serious and mass exodus of north-east population from several Indian cities has revealed the fragility of our national cohesion.
  • Serious law and order problems had started occurring well beyond the control of regulatory authorities when instant adverse opinion was formed.

Major Complicating Factors to secure the networks and Media

  • Much of the hardware and software that make up the communications ecosystem is sourced externally.
  • The task of securing the networks is also complicated by the fact that much of the infrastructure is in the hands of private companies who see measures such as security auditing and other regulations and frameworks as adding to their costs.
  • Making local certification is not made mandatory.
  • Source of Origin is difficult to find out.

Why Media and Advanced technologies Attract terrorists?

Media is used for moral justification, arousal of sympathy and intimidation of the public. The best way to persuade individuals to support one’s cause is to create an emotional, psychological or intellectual bond with the victim.There are four general objectives for using the information technology when the extremists group strike or threaten to commit violence.

Gaining Attention and Awareness; Spreading Fear
  • The first is to gain attention and awareness of the audience, and thus to condition the target population. Gaining attention is strongly linked to agenda setting.
  • Terrorists are trying to be in the media as often and as long as possible, in order to become well known to the public.
Organisational Motives
  • The second goal is recognition of the organization’s motives. They want people to think about why they are carrying out attacks.
  • The second objective is related both to agenda setting and framing. Not only do terrorists want to be known to the audience, they also want to try to get their message across through the media.
  • Sometimes this can be achieved merely by carrying out attacks: the audience may ask itself why people would do such things, especially, for example, if suicide bombers are involved.
Gaining Respect
  • The third objective is to gain the respect and sympathy of those in whose name they claim to attack. They want to show potential supporters that they can “deliver”.
  • When people who are perhaps mildly interested in the activities or ideas of a particular group see that that organization is actually able to have an impact on the legitimate political establishment.
  • The people may become more respectful or sympathetic toward the terrorist cause or organization.
Gain status
  • The last objective is to gain a quasi-legitimate status and a media treatment similar to that of legitimate political actors.
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