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Terrorists In India Are Using Online Methods To Purchase Chemicals For Making Bombs – Indian Security Authorities Believe So

By Debdutta Ghosh

The Phulwama, Kashmir, terrorist attack in which 40 security personnel were killed when a car laden with explosives was rammed into a convoy of security personnel in February 2019. 

More than a year later, sleuths of the National Investigation Agency (NIA) probing the attack, came to know that the materials that were used to make the car bomb for the attack were bought by terrorists from an online retailer – Amaozn.com. 

This was first instance that Indian security forces found that online shopping platforms were being used by terrorists in India to make such purchases to avoid suspicion as well as policing that would have been possible otherwise.   

The information was fist shared with the India investigators by Amazon, informing the NIA about a buyer who used the site to buy ingredients for the making improvised explosive device (IED). The NIA used the details of the customer provided by Amazon such as the details of the online account on Amazon and traced them back to a 19-year-old in Srinagar, India, and arrested the youth. 

The NIA found that the youth chemicals like ammonium powder for making IEDs, batteries, clothing and other accessories were bought by him from Amazon using his online shopping account on the retailer’s platform. He disclosed to the NIA sleuths that he was acting on the directions of Pakistan based terrorist organization Jaish-e-Mohammad. 

Following this, the sleuths investigating the terrorist attacks realised that terrorist organizations were brainwashing young people – some in their teens in Kashmir, and roping them in for making online purchases, including chemicals used for manufacturing explosives.

This is however not the first instance that online retailing service3s had been used by terrorists to purchase materials and components that were later used in terrorist attacks. This new tactic by terrorists had been witnessed earlier in the western countries. 

For example, Salman Abedi – the perpetrator behind the Ariana Grande concert attack in Manchester in 2017, was helped by his cousin who bought some of the chemicals from Amazon that Abedi used to build the bomb he later used in the attack. 

On the other hand, firearms and ammunition were brought form online platforms by Brenton Tarrant days before he attacked a mosque in New Zealand 

Similarly, a number of different online retailing platforms have been used earlier by terrorist organization ISIS for purchasing of drones for bombings. Such purchases were made in different countries and were then shipped to Syria. 

This trend therefore presents a new challenge for law enforcement agencies about detecting how terrorists use funds, and what for. Many however also see this as an opportunity as it can be a source of suspicion to be detected. However this mode of acquiring materials for terrorist attacks can become a part of the financial tradecraft of terrorists which shows how complex the process has potentially become. 

Further, when terrorists turn to the internet for purchasing could also reduce opportunities for members of the public to detect and report suspicious activity – which can be a very important tool for fighting terrorism. For example, a planned terrorist plot was foiled in the in the United Kingdom after an alert shopkeeper informed security agencies about a man making fertilizer purchases.

This trend however is very new for India and was used in one of the biggest terrorist attacks in the country. But sleuths and security agencies now need additional tactics, intelligence and skills to man online purchasing portals to prevent such activities in the future. 

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Beware of Fake News and Fake Messages on Social Media

Always follow websites of traditional media outlets whether newspapers, magazines,Television News Channels or Radio Stations and authentic online only media outlets.They still maintain journalism excellence and stress on reportorial talent.On the other hand, fake news websites run by people with non journalism background and promote their own ideology with fake news and disinformations and obviously conspiracy theories.

But unfortunately mainstream media also manipulates news to establish their story angle.There were various instances when News papers and TV Channels promoted fake news/conspiracy theories in the form of out of context or manipulated pictures/videos and distorted informations.

Always check the URL of any website.Some fake news websites look like the orginal and popular one the same layout,Logo but if you check the URL you may find extra words like if the orginal website's URL is www.xxx.com the duplicate one might be www.xxx.com.co or something like that so first check the URL for authentic informations.

Check whether photos are original or photoshopped.Check Google images for authenticity.You can find help from Google Reverse Images search.

Check the news sources from other websites whether they picked up the story or not.

Whether the website layout is little bit clumsy and obviously grammatical mistakes and spelling mistakes.

Follow official websites relating to COVID-19

WHO Clarifies the disinformation about the virus: 
COVID-19 virus can be transmitted in areas with hot and humid climates
Cold Weather and Snow can not kill the new coronavirus
Taking a Hot Bath Does Not Prevent COVID-19
COVID-19 Can not be transmitted through mosquito bites

Spraying alcohol or chlorine all over your body will not kill viruses that have already entered your body. Spraying such substances can be harmful to clothes or mucous membranes (i.e. eyes, mouth)

According to World Health Organization (WHO): Regularly and thoroughly clean your hands with an alcohol-based hand rub or wash them with soap and water

Maintain at least 1 metre (3 feet) distance between yourself and anyone who is coughing or sneezing.

Avoid touching eyes, nose and mouth . If you have fever, cough and difficulty breathing, seek medical care early

Stay at home if you begin to feel unwell, even with mild symptoms such as headache and slight runny nose, until you recover.

If you develop fever, cough and difficulty breathing, seek medical advice promptly as this may be due to a respiratory infection or other serious condition

Follow WHO guidelines www.who.int

When you follow COVID-19 related news and messages from social media then check and recheck it before consuming it.Follow journalism mantra: if your mother says she loves you, check it out.

Most of the messages or informations quote different organizations like WHO, UNICEF, UNDP,Cambridge University  or other well known institutes ,organizations or individual.Check official websites of these organizations  if stories are repeated there

Forwarding messages from unknown sources or little known sources  then it would be better to ignore it.

Check whether any logo like UNICEF or WHO or other organizations used in the messages which look similar to original logo.

These type of messages are full of Grammatical mistakes and spelling mistakes which are quite uncommon in original messages.

Don't rely on social media messages that the lockdown will last for more than 3 months. Check any related information only on Government Web Portals and social media platforms of various Government Agencies.

Some fake messages pretend to be real one like unofficial Twitter handle of international media organizations like BBC,CNN,Washinton Post, New York Times-check the official Twitter handles of media outlets.

You can identify fake messages if the message requests you to share it.

Beware of Fake News or Fake Photos/Videos Relating to Communal Hatred 

Always check the fact checking sites if you have some doubts about the authenticity of any information or picture.

www.boomlive.in

www.altnews.in

https://check4spam.com

https://smhoaxslayer.com

www.factchecker.in

www.allsides.com

www.factcheck.org

www.newsbusters.org

www.politifact.com

www.snopes.com

www.propublica.org

The Same Method Applies to You Tube Videos Check the Source the credibility of the Source.To Check Fake You Tube Videos Check and Recheck the sources. Does the person have the legal right to the video posted? Did that person capture the video? Whether it has been altered?

But due to advancement of technology we can not really wipe out fake news.According to experts advent of  Artificial Intelligence(AI) some companies small or big one developing  technologies that can  lay digitally created script to anybody's voice  even words,sentences never said by the person.Even they are developing a technology which can create fake video footage,images,audios like originals.So be cautious! Rumour-mongers are active everywhere whether in physical world or cyber world.

For any further information relating to fake news and how-to search authentic information write to us info@crimeandmoreworld.com

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