Despite widespread media reports to the contrary, an app created for Islamic State militants to send private encrypted messages does not exist, a Daily Dot investigation found.
On Jan. 12, Defense One reported that that the Islamic State allegedly built a new Android app called Alrawi for exchanging encrypted messages, based on claims from online counter-terrorism outfit Ghost Security Group (GSG). The claim was quickly reprinted by Newsweek, Fortune, TechCrunch, and the Times of India—the largest English-language newspaper in the world—among many others.
However, it seems as though hype and fear, rather than concrete evidence of a genuine tool for orchestrating terrorists attacks, played the primary role in propagating word of its existence.
Encryption uses algorithms to scramble information so that only the intended sender and recipient can read the data. Web users benefit from encryption anytime they log into a website with an “HTTPS” connection, and Apple and Google both encrypt devices running their mobile operating systems when a user enables the locking feature.