Following devastating terror attacks in Paris, Lebanon, and on a Russian commercial flight, many countries have vowed to fight ISIS until it can no longer function as a terror organization. While these threats and calls to action demonstrate the tenacity and power of the governments behind them, one non-governmental group has vowed to fight the anti-terror battle as well on a different field; the internet. Anonymous, the sometimes-questionable coalition of hackers who have, in the past, hacked Sony servers, released emails of corrupt Bank of America executives, and even hacked visa websites, is now launching an attack on one of the world’s most hated groups, ISIS.
Immediately after the attack in Paris on November 13, 2015, ISIS claimed responsibility for it, and closely behind that was the video announcement from Anonymous that it is launching a cyber war against ISIS called #OpParis.
ISIS at first responded with “What they gonna hack” by a telegram account believed to be linked to the group. Anonymous has, since the attack, hacked and shut down over 5,000 ISIS related Twitter accounts.
After these cyber attacks ISIS has since sent out publications to its members on how to avoid being hacked. The publication instructed members of the terror organization to only open links of which they are sure of the origin, not to communicate with anyone online that they have not communicated with over telegram, and to constantly change IP addresses. Along with this, it was also revealed that ISIS has a 24-hour jihadi help desk available for any operative to contact with questions or issues. Anonymous aims to inhibit and even destroy these lines of communication through relentless slews of hacking.
Although Anonymous started their cyber attacks against ISIS after the Charlie Hebdo attack in January, their counterterrorism efforts have now been stepped up to new levels of intensity. The world continues to wait and hope that all of the forces fighting on different battlefields can weaken, and eventually defeat one of the most universally hated terrorist groups in history.