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ISIS in your inbox: Terror group rolls out email subscription service

In its latest attempts to push propaganda and news updates, the Islamic State announced Tuesday it is offering a new email subscription service with the latest from the Caliphate in Syria and Iraq as well as from global strongholds such as the Philippines and Yemen. As coalition efforts against ISIS have intensified in recent months, technology companies have stepped up the online battle against the terror group with social media and cloud hosting companies deleting hundreds of thousands of accounts and propaganda content from the web. ISIS tech mavens responded by rolling out a new email subscription service, offering push email notifications and breaking news updates on the group’s latest operations. With a signup link on its multiple “Nashir News” channels on the Telegram app, they prompt users to enter an email address and press a subscribe button. The user is then notified to click on a confirmation email within seven hours of receipt, warning users that confirmation emails will likely end up in the spam box. The terror group is using a spoof domain, currently mail@amaq.com, as its sender address. Once subscribed, users receive a steady stream of updates on the latest ops and terror attack claims via ISIS’ Amaq newswire. Analysis: As tech companies step up their online war with the Islamic State, jihadis are responding with consistent innovation and reinvention of trusted methods to continue reaching their audience. The recent release of issue 12 of monthly propaganda magazine Rumiyah, once again translated in 11 languages, proves how resourceful the group’s digital outlets remain. Email, one of the oldest methods of web communication predating social media by almost two decades, still presents as one of the most proficient methods of reaching an audience. Challenges in reaching jihadis via email alerts could pose a worrying new challenge to counterterror authorities. Whereas followers of ISIS on social media accounts can often be tracked, email subscribers remain somewhat elusive after simply providing an email address to sign up. Additionally, social media followers often have to search Islamic State updates by looking for new replacement accounts to follow or by tracking certain hashtags. By creating an email-based service, ISIS can essentially back up its list of subscribers and keep in touch with them even if their key Telegram and social media channels are deleted and their web domains are removed.
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