A new article in ISIS’ weekly newspaper has ordered the group’s forces to stop using messaging apps on smartphones, singling out WhatsApp and Telegram as applications to avoid on the grounds that the US may be using information from these apps to track them and kill their commanders.

 

Telegram in particular is designed to be very secure for users, with government officials internationally long criticizing them as a “nightmare” for the surveillance community since they don’t keep chat logs to hand over at the demand of governments.

 

It is unclear, then, whether the US is actually able to use information from smartphones using this app, or potentially using the fact that a smartphone is sending information at all, as a way to track people for future killing in air strikes.

 

It may simply reflect growing ISIS paranoia about potential vulnerabilities, particularly as the US is backing offensives against major cities like Mosul, and as ISIS leadership is losing city and has less places to spread around to.