Could YouTube videos help predict Islamic State attacks? Report says yes

Known for its social media savvy, the Islamic State has made use of a number of platforms in proliferating its message and its attacks. But now, experts say they may have found a way to turn the terrorists’ hubris against them. According to a new report from Defense One, traffic spikes on YouTube videos may be able to help predict the extremist group’s next attacks.

Traffic spikes on YouTube videos can provide useful information, Defense One says, because “a YouTube video’s best day, traffic-wise, is usually the day it gets posted. Clicks generally decline quickly and post-launch spikes are rare.” This means that an unusual onslaught of traffic could portend calamity. As Defense One notes, “On Dec. 18, a year-old jihadist video called ‘Black Flags of Islam and Imam Mahdi’ saw just such a spike, receiving enough views to reach about 70 percent of its best day’s traffic. Eight days later, an ISIS-affiliated suicide bomber detonated an explosive belt at an Ahmadi mosque in the Bangladeshi town of Bagmara, an unexpected uptick in Islamic State tactics in the country.”

The video in question, known as the “Black Flags of Khorasan,” has since been removed from YouTube, with the site noting that its content violated terms of service. The 26 minutes of footage calls “soldiers of Allah” to action and encourages “killing upon killing upon killing” and, as Scott Crino, managing director at predictive analytics company Predata says, it’s ISIS’ “version of listening to AC/DC before weightlifting.”

“It gets them psyched up,” Crino explained, “So, often there’s a big spike in that particular video, prior to an event occurring.”

Of course, simply knowing that there may be a major event in the near future doesn’t provide all the necessary information to combat potential attacks. But there are other sources in addition to YouTube that Predata believes could prove helpful. Even comment sections could belie social unrest — “In 2014, heavy commenting on news articles about Russia and Ukraine preceded Moscow’s annexation of Crimea,” the company notes. Wikipedia can also be rather telling, Crino believes.

A few months before the deadly November attacks in Paris, Predata noted “particularly heavy changes” in the French-language ISIS page on Wikipedia. “That signal, plus others, led the Predata system to raise its prediction for a terror attack in France several times in the six weeks leading up to the November terror attacks,” said Joshua Haecker, Predata’s business development director.

Sadly, this sort of clairvoyance rarely yields happy results.


Xbox One S All Digital Edition design, price reportedly revealed by leak

The design and price of the Xbox One S All Digital Edition have reportedly been leaked by German Blog WinFuture. Microsoft is said to be planning to open pre-orders for the console this month, then start deliveries in May.
Smart Home

Making hard-boiled eggs isn’t hard — here’s how to do it perfectly every time

With the help of science or some kitchen gadgets, making hard-boiled eggs can be a little easier. It may not be the hardest task in the world, but a few of these methods are foolproof.
Movies & TV

Clip from John Wick: Chapter 3 confirms the dog is totally fine

John Wick: Chapter 3 — Parabellum, the third installment of the wildly successful action series that stars Keanu Reeves as a deadly assassin forced out of retirement, hits theaters in May 2019. Here's everything we know about it so far.

Leaker claims we'll be saying hello to the new OnePlus 7 range on May 14

The OnePlus 6T may still be new, but we're already looking ahead to the upcoming OnePlus 7. It will use the Snapdragon 855, and may have a new pop-up front camera, too. Here's everything we know about the OnePlus 7.
Movies & TV

No TV? No problem. Here's how to watch the NCAA championship game online

Whether you want to watch the Big Dance on your phone or on your smart TV, we have the lowdown on all the ways to watch March Madness you can handle. Grab your foam finger and some nachos.

Back off, photo thieves: Flickr alerts photographers to image theft with Pixsy

Worried about someone swiping your photo off Flickr? The image sharing platform can now integrate with Pixsy accounts to alert photographers when a photo is used without permission by using artificial intelligence to scour the web.
Social Media

Facebook’s tributes section serves as an online memorial for deceased users

Death doesn't stop Facebook users from sharing memories, and now those memorialized posts have a dedicated spot on the network. Facebook Tribute is a section on memorialized profiles for users to write posts and share memories.
Social Media

How to protect yourself from GoFundMe scams before donating

Can you spot a GoFundMe scam? While the fundraising platform says scams make up less than a tenth of one percent of campaigns, some do try to take advantages of others' charity -- like a case last year that made national news.

House votes to restore net neutrality rules, but effort faces long odds

The U.S. House of Representatives has approved the Save the Internet Act, a measure intended to restore net neutrality rules that were repealed in 2017 by the Federal Communications Commission.

Search all of Craigslist at once with these great tools on web and mobile

Not finding what you need in your local area? Craigslist can be great for finding goods and services from further afield too. All you need do is learn these tips for how to search all of Craigslist at once.

The FCC and White House want to bring high-speed internet to rural areas

The FCC and the White House unveiled new initiatives to bring high-speed internet to rural areas, including $20.4 billion in incentives to companies to build infrastructure. The FCC also announced ways to speed up the rollout of 5G.

Internet Explorer zero-day exploit makes files vulnerable to hacks on Windows PCs

Evidence of an Internet Explorer zero-day exploit capable of letting hackers steal files from Windows PCs was published online by a security researcher who also claims Microsoft knew of the vulnerability and opted not to patch it.

Buying airline tickets too early is no longer a costly mistake, study suggests

When you book can play a big role in the cost of airline tickets -- so when is the best time to book flights? Earlier than you'd think, a new study suggests. Data from CheapAir.com suggests the window of time to buy at the best prices is…

Report says 20% of all 2018 web traffic came from bad bots

Distil Networks published its annual Bad Bot Report this week and announced that 20% of all web traffic in 2018 came from bad bots. The report had other similarly surprising findings regarding the state of bots as well.