Social Media

ISIS Warns Loyalists Of Fake Spy App

The alert comes as the terror group faces mounting pressures both online and beyond digital reality

Social Media
A Vocativ illustration.
Jun 02, 2016 at 11:34 AM ET

The Islamic State’s Amaq News Agency is fervently warning its supporters about the dangers of a fake app that was created to look like its own. In an alert issued by the propaganda “news” outlet, the terror group claims hackers are using an imitation app to infiltrate ISIS loyalists’ phones and spy on their mobile devices.

“Warning: suspicious entities distributed a fake version of Amaq Agency’s app for Android, in order to hack and spy,” ISIS warns in a message it distributed across its social media networks. “We recommend not downloading any app that didn’t came from the official channels of Amaq, and to check the digital fingerprint that was officially published before installation.”

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The real app belonging to ISIS’ Amaq was released in November 2015. It allows users to access the agency’s reports on Android devices, including exclusive videos from areas under ISIS control and other content related to its on-the-ground operations.

The advisory about the sham app is rare for the terror group, which usually focuses much of its daily media efforts on spewing reports about the violence it’s behind and calling on loyalists to carry out attacks.

Its supporters, however, distribute alerts frequently. Just last week, they circulated warnings about hacking groups and “infidels” allegedly pretending to support the terror group in an effort to identify—and monitor—actual ISIS supporters on social media. In January, loyalists urged others to be careful about what they post on the messaging app Telegram, and warned about a “spy” trying to lure members. In December, ISIS-affiliated hackers issued a list of instructions outlining how adherents can protect themselves online.

On Thursday, members of ISIS forums posted messages of thanks in response to the latest warning.

The alert comes as ISIS faces pressure both online and off. Over the last several months, companies including Microsoft, Twitter, and Telegram have announced they’re working to combat terror-related online content. Beyond digital reality, the terror group faces aggressive offensives to push them out of Fallujah, Raqqa, and Mosul.