A man who taught would-be terrorist how to hide their tracks online and hid Islamic extremist material on a covert USB cufflink has been sentenced to eight years in jail.
Samata Ullah, 34, of Cardiff admitted being a member of the Islamic State, taking part in terrorist training, preparing for terrorist acts, and possessing extremist material for the purposes of terrorism.
The jury at the Old Bailey heard how Ullah was a ‘cyber-terrorist’ that offered would-be terrorists guidance on how to stay one step ahead of police and intelligence services online by securely storing and sharing data with the use of encryption.
When he was arrested on 22 September 2016, authorities seized 150 digital devices from his home, which contained over eight terrabytes of data. These devices included 30 USB cufflinks, which stored a variety of files including official Islamic State propaganda and media materials.
British authorities began watching Ullah in mid-2016 after being passed information about his digital activities by the FBI, who had in turn been passed the data by Kenyan authorities after the arrest of another man with links to the Islamic State.
Commander Dean Haydon, Met Police Counter Terrorism Command, said:
“Just because Ullah’s activity was in the virtual world we never underestimated how dangerous his activity was. He sat in his bedroom in Wales and created online content with the sole intention of aiding people who wanted to actively support ISIS and avoid getting caught by the authorities.
“This is just the sort of information that may have helped people involved in planning devastating, low technical level, attacks on crowded places as we have seen in other cities across the world.
“This conviction is a success, but we need to keep succeeding, which makes it important that we all remain vigilant and people act at the earliest opportunity by calling us confidentially if they are concerned about any suspicious activity.”
Detective Superintendent Lee Porter, Head of Wales Extremism and Counter Terrorism Unit (WECTU), added:
“Ullah’s activities came as a shock for those who knew him, including his family and the local community. His actions and desires do not represent the people of Cardiff or Wales who have repeatedly voiced and demonstrated their resilience to extremist views.
“The police and the security and intelligence agencies depend on information from you. Be our eyes and ears and help keep yourself, your family and your local community safe. Please visit the Action Counters Terrorism website for more information on how you can help us.”