Chicago student charged with writing code to spread ISIS propaganda

Pierluigi Paganini November 20, 2019

US authorities arrested Thomas Osadzinski, a student at DePaul University, because he allegedly built a custom Gentoo Linux distro for ISIS.

Thomas Osadzinski (20), a student at DePaul University, Chicago, was arrested because he allegedly built a custom Gentoo Linux distro for ISIS, he could now face up to 20 years in prison.

The Chicago student is suspected to have provided propaganda content that supports the Islamic State terrorist group (ISIS).

Osadzinski developed a Python script to that allows supporters and members of the organization to automatically save ISIS propaganda material shared through social media.  The student shared his script with members of the organizations in order to help spreading the ISIS’ propaganda, he also offered them the use of bots to automate the process on a large-scale.

Osadzinski also began developing a lightweight Gentoo Linux distro for the terrorist organization.

“I will began a new and very valuable project, I will be developing a custom Gentoo Linux version designed for ansar [ISIS supporters] it can run on any computer and will be very lightweight, fast and secure.” the student told to an undercover FBI agent in an online discussion in March .

The student aimed at hardening the Linux Gentoo distro to prevent hacks from the intelligence agencies that he defined as “crusader intelligence agencies.”

Osadzinski provided another FBI undercover agent a screenshot of the Gentoo Linux distro he was preparing, promising that it would be “available for the ansar [ISIS supporters] very soon.”

“It will be very secure, in sha allah it will only browse [Social Media Platform 1]. When there are less things installed the operating system is harder to hack,”

The student was not able to complete his work because of the difficulty in studying for hardening the Linux distro.

According to Cyberscoop, to Osadzinski also worked for two months as a software tester for Blackberry Cylance.

The student, if will found guilty for distributing propaganda material to support ISIS, will dace up to 20 years in prison.

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Pierluigi Paganini

(SecurityAffairs – ISIS, Gentoo Linux)

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