Just 24 hours after declaring war on the Islamic State, hacktivist group Anonymous says its taken down thousands of social media accounts linked to ISIS as well as leaking the home address of an alleged recruiter in Europe. And based on ISIS’ response, for a deadly extremist group they’re getting shredded on some pretty remedial security protocols.
The official Twitter account for Anonymous’ Paris action reported more than 5,500 ISIS accounts removed by its actions early Tuesday morning.
In response, ISIS has called Anonymous “idiots,” which is pretty thin. Its also advised its supporters to follow these five protocols to avoid being hacked, suggesting they take these idiots seriously.
- Change Internet Protocol addresses “constantly.”
- Don’t open any links unless sure of the source.
- Do not talk to people you do not know on Telegram.
- Do not talk to people on Twitter direct messaging.
- Do not make the same email as your username on Twitter.
Again… this is all common sense. Luckily for Anonymous, there don’t seem to be any warnings about not revealing your bank account numbers to a wealthy, imprisoned Nigerian prince who just needs your help getting his cash out of the country, so ISIS’ bank accounts are still in danger.
When Anonymous announced they were going after the “vermin” responsible for the attacks in Paris, initial reaction was largely split between those who pictured the group pulling little more than a series of toothless pranks and those who thought an unelected social justice movement with an affinity for Guy Fawkes masks and expertise in coding were not to be trifled with.
If Anonymous can out some of ISIS’ people to authorities its campaign is off to a powerful start, but even wrecking online recruitment and coordination tools of social media is powerful on its own. Here’s the Homeland Security Institute on the increasing importance of terrorists’ online presence to recruit and radicalize:
“The Internet has become an important resource for disseminating terrorist propaganda and instructions to young persons that might not otherwise have direct contact with group recruiters or supporters. The Internet is accessible, cheap, and anonymous. It offers terrorists a variety of mediums to disseminate messages and provides connections to recruiters and recruits that might not otherwise be possible. Some groups have established websites designed specifically for youth audiences, disseminating propaganda through colorful cartoons and games. These sites – many of which are available in English – help to get the groups’ message out to a worldwide audience, including any young person that has access to an Internet connection. In recent years, there have been reports of a growing trend by which young persons have the potential to self-radicalize through the use of the Internet.”