Digital Operations Against ISIS

NESA Communications Intern, Mr. Nathan Turregano, offers his views with the following piece on how “hacktivists” are joining the fight against ISIS…

After the Paris Attacks the hacker group Anonymous released a video on YouTube declaring war on the Islamic State (ISIS). Anonymous sent the message that they will “Hunt them (ISIS) down” and to “Expect many Cyber Attacks” in their efforts to combat the extremist group. This is not the first time the Hacktivists have gone toe to toe with ISIS, the Charlie Hedbo attacks also provoked the same response. Anonymous is meeting ISIS on the more unseen battlefield of this conflict, the Internet.

The Islamic State is known for its boisterous and active participation in social media. It constantly uses Facebook and Twitter in efforts to reach out and radicalize people across the globe. These efforts are extremely difficult to combat without a serious invasion of privacy into the lives of private citizens. On the other hand it is impossible to pinpoint one single source of ISIS propaganda. ISIS has over 46,000 twitter accounts posting videos and sharing messages that accelerate radicalism beyond their borders. Combating such a large scale operation, while still conducting airstrikes and special operations missions, has proven difficult to western governments.

Anonymous has taken it upon themselves to contribute to the global front against extremism. After the Charlie Hedbo attacks the group brought down a known French terror mongering website. In their very recent battle the group has been focused on the eradication of ISIS Twitter activist and ISIS accounts. Anonymous is not the only group to take on this battle,  Ghost Security Group or Ghostsec have been a major force against ISIS. Ghostsec, unlike anonymous, Deals strictly with social media. It tracks and maps online communication networks, and then passes the information on to relative authorities.  Anonymous has been criticized by Ghostsec in the past on their approach to ‘hacking,’ claiming that tearing down websites leads to a loss of valuable intelligence.

Both Anonymous and Ghostsec provide the world with their form of modern vigilante justice. They independently take on the evil that they see in the world in order to serve what they call “freedom.” While these groups are not without controversy, their hacktivism still finds support across the globe. Anonymous and Ghostec will harass ISIS with no end in sight and continue to be a forefront of digital warfare in a modern age.


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