After the horrific events of November 13 in Paris, the globally known hacker group, Anonymous, declared war on ISIS through a video posted on Youtube. According to a spokesman, wearing the now popular Guy Fawkes mask that is characteristic for the group, warned ISIS members that they were coming for them. Anonymous plans on tracking down social media accounts that belong to Islamic State members and other extremists and then shut them down. The hacker group believes that by killing their main way of communication, they will manage to stop or at least slow down the activity of the Islamic State.
ISIS responded to these threats by instructing they members on how to avoid cyber attacks conducted by Anonymous. The instructions were provided through the one of the channels of Telegram messaging app, which is thought to be affiliated with ISIS hackers. The message was later forwarded to other channels of the same app that are also believed to be affiliated to the extremist group. ISIS activists were instructed through this message not to open any links that originate from unknown sources, change IP addresses constantly and to not make contact with unknown people through Telegram or Twitter.
This is not the first time the hackers threatened to bring down ISIS members by tracking down their social media accounts and take them down. The international hacker group already started this operation following the events from Charlie Hebdo t the beginning of the year. Ever since, the hacker group tries to track down extremists and when they manage to identify them on Twitter, they ask the social media network to take their accounts down. Now they even promised to disclose physical addresses of identified extremists to the public. Unfortunately, if they get it wrong and indicate the wrong persons, it may cause some serious issues, but then again, they have to start from somewhere. Anonymous was mistaken in the past when indicating some people were militants, but in the majority of the cases their information proved to be accurate.
According to a post on #OpParis Twitter account, on Monday 3824 pro- ISIS Twitter accounts were already taken down from the social media network. If the information is accurate, it seems that the group of hackers is really invested in this project and the hacker group could actually be successful. Of course, the governments of all the western states already monitor the online activity of known extremist groups affiliated to ISIS, but in these cases all the help they can get is welcome.
The efforts of a single group would probably be insufficient to slow down or hopefully shut down the activity of extremists on the Interner, this is why it is a good thing that individuals also join these efforts. Although the methods of the hacker group are not entirely orthodox and not always legal, it’s good to know that there are people out there who are trying to win the war against ISIS and protect innocent people from being attacked and killed. We hope that the biggest operation conducted by Anonymous so far will have its result and they will manage to track down as many extremists as possible.