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ISIS Tech Group Posts Guide on Avoiding Internet Session Hijacking and messaging on Telegram Continues

Nov 17, 2023 | Studies & Reports

European Centre for Counterterrorism and Intelligence Studies, Germany & Netherlands – ECCI

Extremist Content Online: Christchurch Attack Footage, Including AI-Generated Content, Circulated On Twitter/X

(New York, N.Y.) — The Counter Extremism Project (CEP) reports weekly on the methods used by extremists to exploit the Internet and social media platforms to recruit followers and incite violence. Last week, CEP researchers located and reported 24 Twitter/X posts, including 18 videos and a new AI-generated image, glorifying the Christchurch and Buffalo attacks. On Telegram, Christopher Polhaus, leader of the neo-Nazi group Blood Tribe, released an audio statement outlining plans to retreat into secrecy to grow the group and focus on demonstrations after selling his Maine home. Another far-right group, The Base, allegedly released a short video on Telegram indicating their resolve to continue recruiting and organizing despite the arrest and investigations of its members.

Additionally, a member of the white supremacist group Goyim Defense League (GDL) initiated a fundraiser on GiveSendGo to support the spread of pamphlets, flyers, and other propaganda in the state of Georgia, raising at least $5,100 by the time CEP reported the campaign. Neo-Nazi accelerationists also used Telegram to circulate an NYPD guide on ghost guns, including 3D-printed firearms and 80 percent complete lower receivers, which also included information on suppressors and auto sears.

Pro-ISIS channels on Telegram criticized Hamas leadership for sacrificing the people of Gaza and condemned the Saudi royal family for failing to support Palestinian Muslims. Finally, the pro-ISIS Qimam Electronic Foundation (QEF) released a new guide with instructions and strategies for preventing online sessions from being ‘hijacked,’ as well as how to protect against malware attacks.

Videos Praising Christchurch Attacker and Containing Clips from Livestreamed Attack Video Located on Twitter/X

On November 6, CEP researchers located 24 pieces of content on Twitter/X that glorified the Christchurch and Buffalo attacker. Posts included 18 videos uploaded to Twitter/X that had extremely violent clips taken from the Christchurch attack video, ranging from two seconds to over two minutes of footage. The 18 videos ranged from 54 to 4,428 views, averaging 1,281. Other content included two videos containing violent footage from the May 2022 Buffalo attack and photos glorifying the Christchurch attacker. Ten videos, nine containing footage from the Christchurch attack and one from the Buffalo attack, were uploaded by the same Twitter/X account between November 1 and November 5.

For the first time, CEP researchers located an AI-generated image depicting the Christchurch attacker and encouraging violence against Muslims.

CEP reported all content to relevant national authorities.

“CEP continues to find violent footage from the Christchurch attack video on Twitter/X spread by individuals praising and encouraging white supremacist attacks,” said CEP researcher Joshua Fisher-Birch. “An AI-generated image was located in the most recent set of Christchurch attack-related content. Social media companies must prevent old methods of spreading extremist content that violates their Terms of Service while being on guard for new threats and distribution techniques. This disturbing development should prompt platforms to redouble their efforts in enforcing rigorous and effective standards for moderating content.”

Leader of Neo-Nazi Group Blood Tribe Encourages Secrecy and Operations Security, Abandons Alleged Plan to Travel to Ukraine

In an audio message released on Telegram on November 3, Christopher Pohlhaus, the leader of Blood Tribe, stated that after selling his property in Maine, he would not be revealing personal information about himself or any property that could be traced back to him. Pohlhaus advised others in the extreme right not to disclose personal information because it would detract from their ideological message, noting that journalists often focused on individual details rather than debating extreme right talking points. He also claimed that in the future, he was solely focused on the growth of Blood Tribe, likely both in terms of increasing recruitment and capabilities and the goal of holding four rallies per year. Blood Tribe is allegedly vetting individuals for an upcoming rally in the upper Midwest, reportedly in November.

While Pohlhaus had previously expressed interest in traveling to fight in Ukraine with the neo-Nazi Denis Kapustin, Pohlhaus claimed in the recent audio message that he was currently abandoning the idea because of a perceived slight from Kapustin.

Neo-Nazi Group The Base Allegedly Releases Video

CEP researchers located a video allegedly from The Base posted in a neo-Nazi Telegram chat on November 8. In the approximately 1-minute and 25-second video, a masked speaker whose voice is distorted states that the group has not abandoned its mission and that no matter how many group members are investigated or charged by the U.S. government, the group will continue to exist. The speaker went on to address other white supremacists, demanding that they stop their criticism of The Base and similar groups. The video concluded with a call to action to join The Base, with the speaker stating that acts other than organizing and training were pointless.

Antisemitic Flyer Distributors Crowdfund on GiveSendGo

CEP researchers found a fundraising campaign on the crowdfunding platform GiveSendGo that promoted antisemitism and white supremacism. The crowdfunding campaign, posted by an individual affiliated with the antisemitic group Goyim Defense League (GDL), stated that money would go towards spreading propaganda in Georgia in the form of flyers, distributing pamphlets, releasing videos, and performing banner drops. The fundraiser post included neo-Nazi symbols, slogans, and numerical codes. The first donation was made on July 31, 2023, and the fundraiser received over $5,100 by November 9, surpassing the monthly donation goal of $1,000.

A Gab account that appeared to belong to the owner of the GiveSendGo fundraiser indicated GDL affiliation and participation in multiple antisemitic and white supremacist events.

CEP reported the fundraiser to GiveSendGo on November 8 for violating their Terms of Use against “abusive/hateful language” and campaigns “that promote hate, violence, [or] racial intolerance” as well as GiveSendGo’s Community Guidelines that prohibit using “the service to promote…discrimination or hatred against individuals or groups based on race, ethnic origin, [or] religion.” The fundraiser was still active on GiveSendGo on November 13.

NYPD Ghost Gun Guide Shared by Neo-Nazi Accelerationist Telegram Channels

On November 8, at least three neo-Nazi accelerationist Telegram channels and a member of a Telegram chat posted a guide on ghost guns created by the New York Police Department (NYPD). The manual, intended to educate law enforcement officers on definitions and information related to ghost guns, contained lists of websites where 80 percent lower receivers for pistols and rifles can be purchased, information on turning an 80 percent lower receiver into a functional firearm component, and details on different 3D-printed firearms and the printers and plastic parts needed to manufacture them. The guide also contained information on suppressors and auto sears and details that could be useful for individuals seeking to conceal the purchase of components for manufacturing unregistered firearms.

It should be noted that online neo-Nazi communities have had a continued interest in promoting ghost guns and homemade firearms components. While the NYPD guide likely did not contain any new information for these communities, the manual’s posting shows an ongoing interest.

The guide did not contain a dissemination control marking. The manual was also located for download on two firearms-related websites and was also posted on at least two Telegram channels dedicated to 3D-printed firearms. Another user of the same neo-Nazi chat where the guide was uploaded shared a video promoting a specific 3D-printed firearms design on November 7.

Pro-ISIS Messaging on Telegram Continues to Condemn Hamas and Saudi Arabia

Pro-ISIS messages located on Telegram between November 5 and November 11 continued to condemn Hamas and the Saudi royal family. Posts accused Hamas leadership of only standing for themselves and sacrificing the people of Gaza for their political survival. Additional posts stated that Hamas was more concerned with international law than religion.

Messages accused the Saudi royal family of ignoring Muslims in Palestine, engaging in relations with the West, and allowing music and dance while cloaking themselves in religion. Messages also condemned symbols of excess in Saudi Arabia while people in Gaza are suffering.

Pro-ISIS Tech Group Posts Guide on Avoiding Internet Session Hijacking

On November 8, the pro-ISIS tech group Qimam Electronic Foundation (QEF) posted a guide explaining the hijacking of internet sessions. The list was concerned with avoiding hijacking and attacks. The guide included definitions and explanations of how the attacks occur, the different types of attacks, and how to avoid them. The guide specifically encouraged using a VPN and having good antimalware software.

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