Pro-ISIS Outlet On Telegram Publishes Guide To Secure Use Of Element Messaging App

February 10, 2021

On February 9, 2021, a pro-Islamic State (ISIS) outlet on Telegram published an extensive PDF guide in English and Arabic for using encrypted messaging app Element on Android, formerly known as Riot.

The 40-page guide described the changes recently made to the app, explaining how to use the platform as an alternative for major social media platforms like Facebook and Twitter, where jihadi accounts are at risk of deletion. The guide then provided detailed instructions and screenshots for secure practices when using Element.

The app, it said, uses "dozens of decentralized servers as it does not depend on a specific server." However, "one of the common mistakes when using the application is that using the main server of the project only, it is possible to use hundreds of other servers, whether in communication or publishing in different countries. Therefore, we caution that the number of Element servers increases daily, and using the server is not an appropriate option for those who want to avoid the deletion."

The guide provided links for downloading Element from Google Play and F-Droid, as well as for Schildi Chat, an app using the same source code as Element. It also recommended the use of a VPN before downloading the app.

Detailed instructions were also provided for registering new accounts on different servers, for adjusting the security and privacy settings on the app, and for setting up a secure password, security phrase, and PIN.

Another section explained how to generate and scan QR codes to securely add and directly message contacts.

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