ISIS terrorists have a favorite app for planning their attacks and speaking among their own groups and it’s called Telegram.
It’s “the new hot thing among jihadists,” Laith Alkhouri, director of Research at Flashpoint Global Partners, tells CNN Money.
The app is popular because it features two layers of encryption and claims to be “faster and more secure” than its competitor WhatsApp, which is owned by Facebook.
Users can message friends, send them photos, and transfer files. They can also add up to 200 members to a group chat or start “special secret chats” where messages, photos, and videos will self-destruct after being viewed.
ISIS is known to broadcast messages in the app’s “channels” which are devoted to specifically chosen topics.
Officials found out that ISIS was calling the Paris attacks “the first of a storm” via the Telegram app.
ISIS also used Telegram to claim responsibility for downing a Russian airplane on October 31.
“A lot of people are now seeing Telegram advertised on ISIS supporter Twitter accounts,” Alkhouri tells CNN Money.
The official ISIS channel on the Telegram app distributes between 10 and 20 ISIS statements and videos a day.
In other cases, jihadist groups are using Telegram to fundraise and then give users a vote in where the money is spent, for example, the type of weapons they think the terrorist group they are involved in should purchase.
Telegram has not responded to requests about why it allows ISIS and other terrorist groups to continue their use of the app.