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Terrorists now use social media to communicate, recruit new followers, and commit crimes, the minister of communication and digital economy, Isa Pantami, has said.

Mr Pantami on Tuesday in Abuja said terrorists are ”exploiting social media, encrypted communications, and the dark web to spread propaganda, recruit new followers and coordinate attacks”.

He noted that ”the rapidly evolving phenomenon” requires the use of innovative approaches to both ‘counter’ and ‘prevent’ terrorism.

The Islamic State of Iran and ISIL famously used Twitter for this purpose in 2014 and 2015.

Organizations like ISIL usually recruit en masse through the route of social media.

‘Emerging trend, counter-measures’

Meanwhile, Mr Pantami said “the development of new and emerging technologies such as Big Data Analytics, Internet of Things (IoT), Robotics, Machine Learning and Artificial Intelligence (AI) will help counter and prevent terrorists’ latest ploys.”

He said the military and intelligence agencies can use big data to fight the war against terrorism.

“Data can be analysed to understand background, motives, modus operandi and methods of communication of persons or groups of interest.”

Mr Pantami cited an example of a project by the Qatar Computing Research Institute, ”in which big data was used to scrutinise and analyse social media such as Facebook and Twitter in order to locate the origins of supporters of the terrorist organisation ISIS”.

“Availability of internet access to wearables and household devices such as fridges, washing machines, and the IoT technology would ease up processes of monitoring, location tracking, identification, surveillance and gaining access to networks,” the minister said.

He added that the advent of the IoT presents the connection of devices to not only the Internet but also to each other as IoT enables increased convenience, efficiency, and energy conservation.

Machine learning

Mr Pantami said the massive increase in computing power and advances in machine learning have made it possible to examine huge amounts of data related to crime and terrorism, to identify underlying correlations and causes.

He, however, urged the security agencies in Nigeria to tap into the resources in technology and use them as potent tools for ousting the insurgents.

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