London: The al Qaeda is increasingly using online technology to plan attacks in pursuit of a ‘cyber-jihad’, it has emerged.
The UK`s updated counter-terrorism strategy suggests that terrorists` use of social media to disseminate information and radicalise people is "commonplace".
It said there was evidence of extremist groups seeking “to invade Facebook”, the BBC reports.
The government`s report warned that the number of attacks on IT systems will likely increase and that extremists were increasingly getting sophisticated in their use of social networking and video sharing sites.
“Since the death of Osama bin Laden, al Qaeda has explicitly called not only for acts of lone or individual terrorism but also for `cyber-jihad`,” the document said.
“There have been a number of attempts by terrorist and extremist groups to `invade` Facebook,” it said.
“Twitter will be used to re-post media or forum articles enabling extremist content to be shared more quickly, widely and amongst people who would not normally search for extremist content,” it added.
Home Secretary Theresa May said the UK must react to this threat.
She said that the UK must learn the lessons from how past terrorist incidents, such as the 7/7 bombings in London and the 2008 Mumbai shootings had been planned, and "work harder" to tackle radicalisation via the Internet.
“Our response must improve to keep pace,” she said.
“Terrorists are increasingly using online technology, including Google Earth and Street View, for attack planning. While radicalisation continues primarily to be a social process, terrorists are making more and more use of new technologies to communicate their propaganda,” she added.