Terrorists ‘could be using dating apps like Grindr to communicate’, says expert

Terrorists could be using dating apps like Grindr to message each other, a security expert says.

Will Geddes, CEO of ICP group, said extremists are "getting smarter" at using different messaging platforms to avoid detection by MI5.

He said apps that tell them when another user is nearby like Grindr would be particularly useful to terrorists.

Mr Geddes, who leads an elite team of former intelligence, special and military officers, told the Daily Star: "I look at what they can virtually use – a lot of the groups are using things like Telegram to communicate with each other and they use various other platforms.

"It could be online gaming, it could be spurious websites, dating sites, that sort of thing – they will use all sorts of different media to virtually strike up conversations.

"The one thing we know is they will use all sorts of different types of messaging platforms and these guys are getting a little bit smarter at jumping from one to another.

"The gay site Grindr has the proximity notification. It's a means of communicating and saying we are both in the local area – is that something where they people use tools the app to meet up?

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"People are vulnerable when they get on websites and sometimes their motivations are driven more by their loins than their heart or common sense."

He explained terrorists cycle through messaging platforms within a single online conversation to avoid arousing suspicion by intelligence services.

For example starting the conversation on a dating app, moving on to a website and then a third platform and so on.

He said both Islamist and far-right extremists could trick the search algorithms on dating sites to target potential recruits or find other terrorists.

Mr Geddes added: "There could be a way of using certain profile details, using the algorithms within the search findings for who you are looking at find who you are looking for.

"Using something like a dating website could be a way. The difficulty that you have there is obviously when looking for a specific person so it could be quite a trawling process.

"I think there's always opportunities for potentially for grooming or fishing for candidates.

"One thing that criminals looking for is that they are looking for vulnerable people.

"I'm looking at the algorithmic aspects, I'm looking at the profile on people who would sign up to the site.

"There's the angle of using a huge website where it could be a slow working process where people are working to set up compatible matches for forging them."

Grindr did not respond for a request for comment.

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