The “Secret ISIS Cybersecurity Guide” Was Just A Simple Security Guide In Arabic



After the unfortunate Paris attacks, online media outlets like Wired, Yahoo News, and The Telegraph uncovered a ‘secret ISIS OPSEC Manual’ for ISIS followers. However, this manual, being cited as a “secret ISIS cybersecurity guide”, is actually an Arabic security guide written by Cyberkov, a Kuwaiti cybersecurity company.
After the ISIS-sponsored attacks on Paris, we came across many speculations regarding the methodologies used by terrorists. Earlier media reports have claimed that terrorists used super secure methods of encryption and even used PlayStation 4 to plan the attacks. But, with time, these reports were proved exaggerated and it was surprisingly revealed that terrorists used unencrypted SMS and their real names while planning the attacks.
In the form of another such ‘revelation’, media outlets like Wired, Yahoo News, and The Telegraph uncovered a ‘secret ISIS OPSEC Manual’ for ISIS followers that detailed the best cyber security practices.
However, this manual, being cited as a secret ISIS cybersecurity guide to online security, is actually an Arabic security guide written by Cyberkov, a Kuwaiti cybersecurity company.
Buzzfeed News reported that the company published this guide in July 2014. If you look at the company’s website, you can still find the guide under the headline “Operational security for Journalists, Activists, and Human Rights Workers in the Gaza Strip.”
Cyberkov CEO Abdullah AlAli told BuzzFeed News that he was surprised to see their guide mentioned in new Paris attacks news as a secret ISIS cybersecurity guide. He tells that their guide is based on the publicly available tools and best security practices.
Even more shocked to see the Combating Terrorism Center at West Point simply Google-Translated it and claimed it as ISIS’s.
A link of the modified version of the guide was also posted on a JustPasteIt page and widely circulated on ISIS-affiliated Twitter accounts. While this guide isn’t some ISIS-created guide to avoid the cyberattacks and surveillance, it would be unwise to say that the terrorist organization hasn’t taken steps toimprove its online security.

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