“We are Muslims, we are Christians, we are Jews, we are hackers.”
With this steely statement, the hactivist vigilante cyber-cabal, Anonymous, initiated a cyber-war against the recruiting efforts of ISIS by launching cyber-attacks on Twitter accounts used by the terror group to mobilize fighters. In a comprehensive strike called #OpISIS, the hackers have managed to breach hundreds of ISIS Twitter accounts and email addresses.
ISIS preys on lonely, isolated teenagers who are disconnected, disenchanted and disenfranchised by events in their region, and around the world. This week, in the wake of the terrorist’s group assault on Paris, they vowed to up the ante. Anonymous may just be the type of organization to make a dent in ISIS’s armor, for they share at least two traits in common: determination and anonymity. For the uninitiated, Anonymous hauntingly describes itself in this way:
“We are hackers, crackers, hacktivists, phishers, agents, spies, or just the guy from next door. We are students, administrators, workers, clerks, unemployed, rich, poor. We are young, or old, gay or straight. We wear smart clothes or Uggs. We come from all races, countries, religions, and ethnicity. United as one, divided by zero. We are Anonymous“.
Anonymous first emerged into the public consciousness in 2003, and has mainly focused its efforts on effective hacks against corporations, religious organizations and government bodies. With this renewed push, it joins what could be an expanded, reinvigorated coalition against the terrorist forces. Thus, it hopes to strike at the strength of ISIS by limiting its ability to spread its propaganda and, therefore, recruit – the lifeblood of any organization, especially those lacking many other resources. The assumption is that targeted hacks will force ISIS to deflect attention and assets away from life-threatening activities, while at the dame time expending extra effort into rebuilding their network.
Anonymous pledged this revived effort in a video posted on YouTube with the presenter donning the organization’s trademark Guy Fawkes mask,
“War is declared. The French people are stronger than you and will come out of this atrocity even stronger. So get ready for a massive reaction from (us). Know that we will find you and we will never let up.”
This decree is not the first time the Hacktivists have engaged in battle with terrorists. In the aftermath of the attack on the French magazine, Charlie Hebdo in January, a Belgian offshoot of the group also proclaimed war against al Qaeda, ISIS, “and other terrorists.”
Anonymous said on Sunday that more than 2000 ISIS-related Twitter accounts had been taken down in Operation Paris (#OpParis). Given the amorphous and secretive nature of Anonymous, however, the group’s activities can be hard to verify and track. But, if somehow it would lend their talents, zeal, and patriotic fervor to work in concert with government forces, given its appeal to a younger, more impressionable constituency, it could provee a formidable addition to the fight against ISIS.The determination and resolve of Anonymous cannot be denied,
“We will not give up; we do not forgive. Expect us.”