Pakistani terror outfit Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT) has developed an exclusive mobile application for its operatives in Jammu and Kashmir and elsewhere to make their communication secure, counter terror officials told HT.
The application allows the user to make phone calls and send text messages to other users who have the same application installed on their devices.
“LeT terrorist Mohammad Naveed told interrogators that his commander in the Valley, Abu Qasim, was using an app on his mobile to stay in touch with his handlers and other operatives. Naveed clarified that the app was specially developed by Lashkar for its operatives,” said a central counter terror official.
Naveed was arrested after an attack on a BSF convoy in Udhampur on August 5. Three people, including two Border Security Force (BSF) troopers, were killed and 11 others injured as Naveed and his associate Noman opened fire on a BSF bus on the Jammu-Srinagar national highway. Noman was killed in retaliatory fire but Naveed was overpowered in a nearby village as he tried to take villagers as hostage.
“We suspect that Lashkar’s app is running on an exclusive server that may be installed in Pakistan. It looks that the app works on 3G networks. Naveed told interrogators that his associates were buying prepaid internet packs of mobile operators in the state to activate internet services on their phones,” said the official who was briefed on the application.
Technical experts at the National Investigation Agency (NIA), which is probing the Udhampur attack case, are trying to gather more details about the application.
It is not the first time Lashkar has shown innovation in using communication tools.
During the 26/11 Mumbai attacks, Lashkar commanders sitting in Karachi used Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) service to stay in touch with their attack squad in India’s financial capital.
Later, there were also reports of Lashkar developing an exclusive VoIP for its field operatives.
Sajjad Ahmed, another Pakistani terrorist arrested few weeks after Naveed in the Rafiabad area of Jammu and Kashmir’s Baramulla district, told interrogators that they were using mobile phones without SIM cards by connecting them to radio sets for sending short messages.
“It is a cat-and-mouse game. As terror outfits keep innovating to keep their communication secure, we also keep looking for ways to hack them,” said an intelligence official requesting anonymity.