even ISIS has an IT department
There is a 24/7 'jihadi help desk' for ISIS fighters
Islamic State fighters in need of technical assistance have a place to turn to — a so-called "jihadi help desk" staffed with five or six key senior operatives, available to answer the most mundane questions, 24/7.
Aaron F. Brantly, a counterterrorism analyst at the Combating Terrorism Center, an independent research organization at the U.S. Military Academy at West Point, told NBC News it's a "fairly large, robust community," with technical experts who have studied information technology in universities and graduate schools. They help ISIS fighters learn how to use encryption and other secure communications methods so they can operate under the radar, and post links to manuals and how-to guides on Twitter.
"They've developed a series of different platforms in which they can train one another on digital security to avoid intelligence and law enforcement agencies for the explicit purpose of recruitment, propaganda, and operational planning," Brantly said. The Combating Terrorism Center has obtained more than 300 pages of documents that show how ISIS explains the newest encryption technology and trains militants to use it. Brantly said that watching the times the experts sign off to pray, his team can tell that the ISIS help desk is "very decentralized. They are operating in virtually every region of the world." Fighters have constant access to the help desk, which "enables them to communicate and engage in operations beyond what used to happen, and in a much more expeditious manner," Brantly said. "They are now operating at the speed of cyberspace rather than the speed of person-to-person communications."