Social nets could hold wealth of info on Boston bombers

As manhunt is on for surviving suspect, their social nets could hold critical clues

By , Computerworld |  Unified Communications

Dzhokar Tsarnaev, one of the suspects in the marathon bombing, is still on the run. (Image: FBI) As the manhunt goes on for the surviving suspect in the Boston Marathon bombing, the bombers' social networks could give investigators needed clues about them.

The City of Boston, along with neighboring Watertown, Newton and Cambridge, are in lock down, with residents warned to stay inside their homes with their doors locked as Boston police and federal agents hunt for suspected bomber 19-year-old Dzhokhar A. Tsarnaev.

Tsarnaev has been on the run since he and his brother Tamerlan Tsarnaev, 26, allegedly killed an MIT police officer and carjacked an SUV late Thursday night. The older brother, Tamerlan, was killed during a shootout with police.

Both brothers are believed to be behind the two bombs that went off at the finish line of the Boston Marathon on Monday. The blasts killed three people and injured more than 170 others.

Now that the brothers have been identified, investigators are looking for information about the two men.

Their social networks could hold a wealth of information.

"These suspects were reasonably active on social media and it looks like investigators have been picking up these threads and using them to push the investigation forward," said Dan Olds, an analyst with The Gabriel Consulting Group. "All of the information on these sites goes toward building a picture of these guys and putting together the entire story."

While Tamerlan Tsarnaev had a YouTube channel, his younger brother Djohar appears to have maintained an account on VK.com , a social network popular in in Russia, the Ukraine, Kazakhstan and Israel.

On the VK.com site, Djohar listed Boston as his current city and posted that he is a 2011 graduate of Cambridge Rindge and Latin School, a public school in Cambridge, Mass.

Under his "world view," Tsarnaev lists "Islam" and adds that his personal priority is "career and money."

Most of the page, which today has been filled with mostly angry comments, is not written in English.

However, Keith Jones, an independent computer forensics examiner, said he's sure investigators have gone through the social networking page, looking not only for Tsarnaev's views and mind set, but also for his group affiliations, as well as his list of online friends.

"If I was a police officer, I would be looking at social media," Jones said. "As soon as these guys were suspects, their sites were worth a look at... As an investigative tool, it's great."


Originally published on Computerworld |  Click here to read the original story.
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