An Indian Civilizational Perspective

Self-destruct e-mail IDs snag terror trail

The Intelligence Bureau has come up against a particularly insidious tool of terror in their probe into the 13/7 Mumbai blasts. It’s called Disposable Email Address (DEA), and IB sleuths say it is a nut that is hard to crack.

DEA is a smart communication technique used by a key Indian Mujahideen (IM) leader Danish Riyaz Khan, arrested by the Gujarat Police on June 21, just a fortnight before the serial blasts. Khan, a software engineer, have recruited around 25 men using Facebook, blogs, chats to resurrect the IM network. It has been found that he had used DEA to remain in touch with these faceless, tech-savvy associates who are now suspected to be behind the Mumbai attack.

Since DEAs leave no traces once the timed lifespan is over—which could range from a few seconds to few days, depending upon the user—the personal computer seized from Danish is not of much help in tracking his network. DEAs thus last for a few second to minutes; the email then vanishes. No trace is left, not even on a server.

Even Danish has no memory of all the DEAs used to correspond and communicate with his associates because in most cases the user name is picked up randomly or automatically generated by computer.

Moreover once a particular username, say Trojan2010 had been used by one person is timed-out, the same could be provided to another user because it is automatically generated. So there is no way to pin-point who was the original user because everyone is anonymous.

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