SPECIAL - Software to sniff out terrorist mails

Intelligence sleuths are planning to use sniffer software to trace the activities of Maoists, their sympathisers and ISI agents on the Internet.

The sleuths have decided to go snooping in the Internet after realising that the Maoists and their sympathisers have turned cyber-savvy and were using emails and chat to transmit key messages.

Police had also come across several instances of ISI suspects using cyber cafes to communicate with their bosses in Bangladesh, Pakistan, Dubai and Saudi Arabia.

Intelligence agencies have now decided to scan Internet traffic at the local gateways of service providers to sniff out the cyber communication of extremists.

A committee of cyber forensic experts has been set up to filter emails, coded messages, chat and other communication. The sniffer software will also help intelligence agencies track extremists and their operatives in the city.

Special Intelligence Branch (that deals with the Maoists) is in fact the first State police agency to go for sniffer software after the Central Intelligence Bureau.

“We will be able to record everything without being detected,” said a senior Intelligence official. “It is just like phone tapping. We can call it Internet tapping.” Director-general of police Swaranjit Sen, however, denied that police had plans to get sniffer software. “Right now there is no such plan,” he said.

The software is used by major companies who want to prevent their employees from mailing secret data to rival business companies.

Intelligence agencies have learned that Maoist top guns are using laptops and Internet for communication from their hideouts too. Police seized several such laptops recently.

The Ministry of Information and Broadcasting also ordered the closure of a pro-Maoist website www.peoplesmarc-h.com in May 2006 following a report by intelligence agencies. However it surfaced again in Google pages as http://peoplesmarch.googlepages.com/.

P. Govindan Kutty, editor of the website, told this correspondent from Kochi in Kerala that the site was not a Maoist venture though it supported the Maoist movement.

“Ours is a registered newspaper and we are legally right,” he said. “I was paying an IT company in Kochi to get 50 Mega Bytes space. But the website was blocked after I&B wrote a letter stating that it was hosting anti-national content. But I started it again in Google pages free of cost.” The web site has interviews of top Maoist leaders wanted by police and write-ups supporting guerrilla warfare.

“I have so many contributors who write anonymously,” said Mr Kutty. “I can’t reveal the names as police will catch them. There are professors and lecturers from AP who contribute. We are not anti-national. Our orientation is international.” Police sources said that Maoists and Jihadi organisations were also maintaining many blogs. “We will write to Google asking them to stop hosting such web pages,” said a police officer.

The issue had recently come up in Parliament too with the Minister of State for Home Sriprakash Jaiswal stating in the Rajya Sabha that the Centre had powers to ask Internet Service Providers to block websites of extremists.

Source: Deccan Chronicle

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