Al-Qaeda prefers Android over Apple's iOS

Posted:
in iPhone edited November 2015
Apple's iOS has taken majority market share in education, government and the enterprise, but Google's Android has become the favored mobile platform among Al-Qaeda operatives.

Al-Qaeda Android


A new report by intelligence firm Recorded Future examined Al-Qaeda's changes in encryption in response to the Snowden leaks, noting "an increased pace of innovation, specifically new competing jihadist platforms and three major new encryption tools from three different organizations - GIMF, Al-Fajr Technical Committee, and ISIS - within a three to five-month time frame of the leaks."

The report noted that Al-Fajr and GIMF have both released new Android apps since the public exposure of the widespread nature of American spying, with the apps being advertised as using the "latest technological advancements" in order to evade detection.

The download page for GIMF's Tashfeer al-Jawwal app for Android and Symbian phones notes, "take your precautions, especially in the midst of the rapidly developing news about the cooperation of global companies with the international intelligence agencies, in the detection of data exchanged over smartphones."

The report stated that the release of these new Android apps highlights a continued "bet on mobile and Android as the preferred platform for these groups."

Android's unrestricted ability to sideload apps (install software that is not signed, from outside of a secure App Store) may be part of the platform's appeal to Al-Qaeda, in addition to terrorists' fears that Apple might cooperate with Western governments seeking to identify and stop their activities.

However, the primary reason Al-Qaeda likes Android is "the large availability and affordability of Android phones, especially in underdeveloped countries" the group stated. Android phones are the only choice for terrorist operatives in some locations.

Android is the cheap option

IDC, Gartner and Strategy Analytics have been incessantly calling attention to the percentage of worldwide smartphone and tablet users of products not using iOS, downplaying both usage stats and the Average Selling Prices of these devices in order to focus their audiences' attention entirely on their shipment estimates, which can be flexibly shifted to tell any desired story.

IDC's latest estimates on the smartphone market in 2014 have retracted all mention of ASPs, data which had previously shown that the shipment volumes supporting some form of Android were precipitously falling in price while Apple's sales of iPhones were not (below).



With ASPs of all Android phones falling from $441 in 2010 to just $276 in 2013, it is clear that the majority of Android phones are not devices comparable in functionality the iPhones Apple sells at an ASP of $650.

Samsung itself revealed that the majority of its "smartphones" were not its premium Galaxy S or Note devices but rather "mass market" devices it has referred to as "carrier friendly, good enough" phones.

Al-Qaeda bad news for Android users

While being naturally attracted to Android by its price, availability and unrestricted app policy, Al-Qaeda's preference for Google's platform also means that its operatives are increasingly likely to target Android vulnerabilities simply due to their familiarity with the platform. In addition to Android users being singled out for targeted malware attacks, the insecure nature of the platform provides Al-Qaeda with a vast network of devices to exploit for use in either distributed Denial of Service attacks or as a supercomputing cluster.

Google has left open plenty of vectors for malware attacks seeking to spy on users or take control of their devices to form botnets.

The search giant has found it extremely difficult to distribute security patches and updates to its Android users, even among late modeled smartphone customers in affluent countries, as represented by the company's Google Play statistics.

A series of failures to properly authenticate security credentials in Android has opened up widespread vulnerabilities for hundreds of millions of Android users, many of whom are in the very same undeveloped countries that Al-Qaeda operates within, where nobody accesses Google Play and therefore is unlikely to ever get Android security updates delivered from Google in any form.

In addition to Android users being singled out for targeted malware attacks, the insecure nature of the platform provides Al-Qaeda with a vast network of devices to exploit for use in either distributed Denial of Service attacks or as a supercomputing cluster.

All users, including those on iOS, can be victims of such distributed DoS attacks, which generally seek to prevent a user's access to the network or disable a network server from being reachable.
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Comments

  • Reply 1 of 229
    You've gotta be fucking kidding me with this article.

    I can't even make it past the headline, DED opinion articles have reached a new all time low.
  • Reply 2 of 229
    prokipprokip Posts: 148member
    Daniel,

    I don't often scratch my head reading your pieces, but this one left a bald spot.

    And this is AI news because?
  • Reply 3 of 229
    solipsismxsolipsismx Posts: 19,566member
    [@]Apple ][[/@] is gonna love this article.
  • Reply 4 of 229
    correctionscorrections Posts: 1,345member
    Android fans have been insisting that Google's security issues (like the most recent Fake ID) are not a problem because Google Play Services and store scanning can prevent many users from falling victim.

    However, the fact that there are hundreds of millions of insecure Android installations outside of the US and other Play-using nations means that Al-Qaeda -- which is already developing Android apps to encrypt messages among jihadists -- has large numbers of mobile users to easily target.

    Thanks, Google. Too bad you didn't think about security at all before creating a massively insecure mobile installed base for malware.
  • Reply 5 of 229
    entropysentropys Posts: 1,698member
    It wouldn't surprise me if this was the case, the lower price of android handsets and the lack of needing to pass through the App Store gate would make android more attractive to those with evil intent. In fact, I would find it hard to believe Apple would approve an app openly aimed at helping jihadis encrypt communications. And the wide distribution of where the phones can be obtained means that it would be hard for counter terrorism agencies to intercept the phone prior to delivery to install snooping software/hardware.

    The downside for the lunatics is that no doubt it would be easier to compromise an android based network using cheap handsets, and thus using older versions of Android OS. So I doubt NSA is worried, maybe it even sneakily encourages it.
  • Reply 6 of 229
    apple ][apple ][ Posts: 8,650member

    Awesome topic!

     

    I'm not going to bother to search back through all of my prior posts, but I'm almost certain that I have mentioned something similar to this topic a long time ago, at least once, if not more.

     

    Going back many years ago, when they were hunting down terrorist scum in crappy places like Afghanistan and Pakistan, when the terrorists were captured, they almost always had ugly and bulky PC laptops!

     

    I'm not saying that it is inconceivable or impossible, but I've never heard of any Islamic terrorists who were caught with Macs. And believe me, this subject is right up my alley, so I know what I'm talking about. When they shot dead the disgusting Bin Laden, do you think that he had a Macbook Air in his compound? Hell no.

     

    It also makes perfect sense that Al-Qaeda terrorists prefer Android!

     

    Apple is for creative people, and terrorists are not exactly the creative type. And no, figuring out new ways of killing people or blowing yourself up does not qualify as being creative.

     

    Android is obviously for really poor people and now it's also apparently for Al-Qaeda terrorists too! 

     

    I didn't think that my opinion of Android users could possibly sink any lower than it currently is, but amazingly, I detest Android users even more than before now.

     

    I'm actually taking a flight tomorrow to Vegas. I assume that I will mostly only see iOS devices being used on my flight, but I will certainly be keeping an eye out for anybody who is using Android on the plane, as they are far more likely to be a terrorist.

  • Reply 7 of 229
    dnd0psdnd0ps Posts: 253member
    Why is this on AI? Al Qaeda on AI? Wait.....
  • Reply 8 of 229
    gfdsagfdsa Posts: 22member
    We know North Korea prefers Apple though..
  • Reply 9 of 229
    correctionscorrections Posts: 1,345member
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by dnd0ps View Post



    Why is this on AI? Al Qaeda on AI? Wait.....

     

    I and L are not even the same letter. 

  • Reply 10 of 229

    So, anyone caught carrying an Android smartphone is a potential terrorist?  Hey, that makes sense.  Strip search 'em and lock 'em up.  I sure hope Homeland Security is aware of this in New York City.  If I see anyone using an Android smartphone I should report it right away and know I'm merely doing my duty to protect the American way of life.

  • Reply 11 of 229
    wtf AI? This should really not be an article. It's shameless guilt by association (ie if you use Android, you're more likely to be a terrorist).

    It might actually be interesting if they were using iPhones because of the hypocrisy of making use of technology that's among the most recognizable symbols of American influence in the world, something which they despise.

    I have no problem with other articles that primarily focus on Samsung or Android, but this is going too far.

    PS -- AI, your iPhone app hasn't been updated for iOS 7 yet...
  • Reply 12 of 229
    dreyfus2dreyfus2 Posts: 1,070member

    I have not really used a more current version of Android, but when we had some Honeycomb tablets in the company for testing back then, martyrdom was actually a term that came to my mind.

  • Reply 13 of 229
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by dreyfus2 View Post

     

    I have not really used a more current version of Android, but when we had some Honeycomb tablets in the company for testing back then, martyrdom was actually a term that came to my mind.


     

    haha, that's how I felt about my Droid Incredible & HTC Flyer before fully switching over.  So maybe the article should be edited to reflect the likelihood that Android is actually causing more people to become terrorists...

  • Reply 14 of 229

    Very well said. Please contact here. We can do something about this.

  • Reply 15 of 229
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by Apple ][ View Post

     

    Awesome topic!

     

    I'm not going to bother to search back through all of my prior posts, but I'm almost certain that I have mentioned something similar to this topic a long time ago, at least once, if not more.

     

    Going back many years ago, when they were hunting down terrorist scum in crappy places like Afghanistan and Pakistan, when the terrorists were captured, they almost always had ugly and bulky PC laptops!

     

    I'm not saying that it is inconceivable or impossible, but I've never heard of any Islamic terrorists who were caught with Macs. And believe me, this subject is right up my alley, so I know what I'm talking about. When they shot dead the disgusting Bin Laden, do you think that he had a Macbook Air in his compound? Hell no.

     

    It also makes perfect sense that Al-Qaeda terrorists prefer Android!

     

    Apple is for creative people, and terrorists are not exactly the creative type. And no, figuring out new ways of killing people or blowing yourself up does not qualify as being creative.

     

    Android is obviously for really poor people and now it's also apparently for Al-Qaeda terrorists too! 

     

    I didn't think that my opinion of Android users could possibly sink any lower than it currently is, but amazingly, I detest Android users even more than before now.

     

    I'm actually taking a flight tomorrow to Vegas. I assume that I will mostly only see iOS devices being used on my flight, but I will certainly be keeping an eye out for anybody who is using Android on the plane, as they are far more likely to be a terrorist.


    Lmao. Wonderful reply. You and Daniel make this site for what it is, at least for me.

  • Reply 16 of 229
    So terrorists can buy bombs, can run operations across the world, travel across continents to just survey, use satellite phones, have their own communication systems, have enough weapons to fight UN army. But hey they can't afford iPhones. Lol. God bless your ignorance.
  • Reply 17 of 229

    You guys are awesome. Living proofs of why some people are called iFools. 

  • Reply 18 of 229
    bobschlobbobschlob Posts: 1,074member

    Really??  This??...

    Man, you got no article to write, take the weekend off. We won't mind.

     

    First that weird "Beats" commercial thing (or whatever it is); now this.

    I'm really feeling quite discombobulated.

  • Reply 19 of 229
    solipsismxsolipsismx Posts: 19,566member
    bobschlob wrote: »
    I'm really feeling quite discombobulated.

    Isn't that discombobschlobulated?
  • Reply 20 of 229
    realisticrealistic Posts: 1,139member

    What a ridiculous article, a total waste of space. I am sure some ANALyst will tell us what overwhelming marketshare Samsung and Android have in the Al-Qaeda market and that Apple needs to up their game or lose the terrorist market.

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