After more than a year without identifying a single instance of a group associated with terrorism publicly using bitcoin to solicit donations, the Foundation for the Defense of Democracies, which advises both public and private entities on matters relating to national security, has identified four cases in less than a month. But while the actual amount being raised by the outfits are still relatively tiny, the think tank’s director of illicit finance analysis, sees the spike as part of a bigger-picture exploration of cryptocurrencies by terrorist organizations.
As part of Fanusie’s work to educate the public on his findings, the former Central Intelligence Agency analyst has today released a report detailing the work. Published on business security website Cipher Brief, the report details an unintended and perhaps sobering consequence of bitcoin’s skyrocketing price.
If they’re going to use it we need to look at this as a society and a government to understand what it means. Specifically, the information was pulled directly from propaganda sites for both the extremist group Al Queda and its rival, the Islamic State ISas well as a jihadist website monitoring group and an Israeli research institute that keeps tabs on this type of web activity.
In the research, patterns also emerged. For example, after the bitcoin addresses associated with the fundraising campaigns were posted to public-facing websites, they were then promoted using Facebook and Telegram.
According to the report, both of the social media sites eventually blocked the related users, but that didn’t keep new accounts from quickly popping up. Shortly after the 0. Other fundraising activities included more mundane efforts such as website hosting.
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As of Dec, 19, Fanusie has confirmed to CoinDesk the funds had still not been spent. A cause for concern And while the total amount raised is minimal, a notable aspect of the report is what appears to be the increasing sophistication of the campaigns seeking bitcoin funds.
In one case, first reported by the Meir Amit Intelligence and Terrorism Information Center based in Israel, a website identified by Fanusie as being “pro-IS” appears to have initiated its fundraising campaign using bitcoin processing site CoinGate. While CoinGate told CoinDesk the user was “blocked Also, because the site’s donation page generates a variety of bitcoin addresses where funds can be sent, instead of just one, it may be harder for outsiders to monitor donations.