Analysis Of Jihadi Encryption And Steganography Tool MuslimCrypt - Part I: Background And Functionality

March 29, 2018
Introduction

In early December 2017, pro-Islamic State (ISIS) Telegram users on a private Telegram group began chatting about a steganography and encryption tool that they said they had developed for the purpose of hiding secret messages inside images. The tool, dubbed "MuslimCrypt," was aimed at making the detection of secret online communiques among jihadis harder for law enforcement agencies, or as one jihadi close to the project put it at the time: "Imagine all the kuffar [unbelievers] that will have to look into every single picture on all platform[s] like Facebook, Telegram, our mails and [the] chats they invaded and others... They will have [a] hard time."[1] On January 20, 2018, MuslimCrypt was released on the same Telegram group, and it is reportedly already being used "effectively" by jihadis.[2] MuslimCrypt has not been widely reported by Western media outlets, but those have reported on it have described its effectiveness as "unclear."[3]

The following report will examine MuslimCrypt, providing related background information about the tool and the entities behind it. It will also provide the results of a test of the program's basic functions.

MuslimCrypt appears to be functional, allowing text messages to be hidden inside image files. The program's operational value, however, needs to be evaluated further. Can images containing secret messages generated using MuslimCrypt be transmitted successfully online? MuslimCrypt's inner workings, like the actual encryption and steganography‎ algorithms used in it, are also unknown and warrant further analysis.

The image on the left has no hidden message while the image on the right conceals a hidden message generated using MuslimCrypt (image: Pixabay.com).

Background

In early December 2017, an ISIS supporter who goes by the name...

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