U.S.-Based Walkie-Talkie Encrypted Chat Application Zello Used By ISIS Members And Supporters From Around The World

September 8, 2016

Islamic State (ISIS) members and supporters are quite tech-savvy and use a variety of social media platforms and encrypted applications to communicate with each other and to disseminate their content to a larger audience. ISIS supporters from around the world have been using the Austin, Texas-based Zello, which describes itself as a walkie-talkie application. Zello is a push-to-talk application that can be used on smartphones, tablets, and PCs. Users can create private or public channels that allow them to easily chat or listen in to conversations. The app also offers options for live private or public conversations.

According to Zello's website, the app provides a secure medium for communications, and its "advanced encryption ensures all communications are secure." It adds, "Services may disclose personally identifiable information when it's required to comply with law enforcement requests or subpoenas when you violate the Terms of Service." The company states that its app has been downloaded 65 million times.

Zello appears to be very popular with Russian-speaking ISIS supporters in particular, and is promoted on Telegram pages.

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