Al Qaeda has explicitly called for ‘cyber-jihad’ and there have been a series of attempts by terrorists to ‘invade’ Facebook, the Government’s new counter-terrorism strategy said today.

Terrorists are increasingly using online technology to plan and disguise attacks and there will be more cyber-terrorism in the future, it said.

‘Since the death of Osama bin Laden, Al Qaeda has explicitly called not only for acts of lone or individual terrorism, but also for ‘cyber-jihad’,’ it added.

The use of social networking sites and video sharing is now ‘commonplace’, the strategy said. ‘There have been a number of attempts by terrorist and extremist groups to “invade” Facebook.

‘Twitter will be used to re-post media or forum articles enabling extremist content to be shared more quickly, widely and amongst people who would not normally search for extremist content.’

And experts have estimated that there are already thousands of terrorist-related websites, adding: ‘A few dozen are highly influential and frequented by terrorists.’

The strategy comes the day after the UK threat level from international terrorism was downgraded from severe to substantial, meaning there is still a ‘strong possibility’ of an attack and one may well happen without further warning’.

Launching the Government’s counter-terrorism strategy, Home Secretary Theresa May said: ‘Advances in technology mean our response must improve to keep pace.

‘Terrorists are increasingly using online technology, including Google Earth and Street View, for attack planning.’

She went on: ‘The marauding attacks in Mumbai in 2008 were directed by people using off-the-shelf secure communications technology to stay in contact with each other.

‘Software to encrypt mobile phone voice and text functions is widely available and improving.

‘Peer-to-peer networks can be used to distribute files and information rapidly and securely.

‘And cloud computing offers new means for storing, sharing and distributing material online.

‘It can be encrypted and configured to work with mobile devices, leaving little or no trace of the data behind.

‘And while radicalisation continues primarily to be a social process, terrorists are making more and more use of new technologies to communicate their propaganda.’

Mrs May added: ‘To tackle these new and emerging threats, our own technology must constantly evolve and adapt.’

Source: dailymail.com

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