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US Man Charged with ISIS Coding Plot

A Chicago man has been arrested and charged with attempting to provide technology to ISIS to support the terror group’s propaganda efforts.

Thomas Osadzinski, 20, was arrested on Monday and charged with one count of attempting to provide material support and resources to a foreign terrorist organization.

The complaint alleged that he designed a process that helps computer users more easily access and share ISIS propaganda on social media.

Osadzinski was caught in a classic sting operation earlier this year, sharing the computer script he allegedly wrote and instructions on how to use it with FBI agents posing as ISIS supporters and members of pro-ISIS media organizations.

The terror group uses social media content to help spread its message, recruit members and inspire others to violence against the US and other Western nations. In one case in 2015, a pro-ISIS Facebook-clone and linked Twitter account were taken offline after briefly hitting the headlines.

Legitimate social media companies are inundated with illegal content from groups like these, which they work quickly to remove. However, Osadzinski’s alleged Python script is said to have automatically copied any ISIS propaganda posts, allowing members and sympathizers to continue to access and share the content.

According to the court documents, he also promised to build a version of the Gentoo Linux operating system customized to make it harder for law enforcers or “crusader intelligence agencies” to crack.

If found guilty, Osadzinski is facing a maximum of 20 years behind bars.

Sometimes social media monitoring of terrorist content can actually help intelligence agencies. In 2015, the US military claimed that it managed to locate and then neutralize an ISIS command-and-control facility after spotting photos shared by fighters online.

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