Anonymous 'at war' with Islamic State, hacktivist group confirms

November 18, 2015, 2:04pm

A man wearing a Guy Fawkes mask associated with Anonymous makes a statement in this still image from a video released on 16 November, 2015. Photo: Reuters 

By Alex Hern, Mail and Guardian

The online collective Anonymous “is at war” with the Islamic State following the attacks in Paris, in a continuation of its “#OpISIS” campaign.

One major Anonymous twitter account, @GroupAnon, announced the operation on 15 November, writing that “we won’t stop opposing #IslamicState. We’re also better hackers.”

In a video, originally released in French, a figure wearing Anonymous’ iconic Guy Fawkes mask addresses the terror group directly. “You, the vermin who kill innocent victims, we will hunt you down like we did those who carried out the attacks on Charlie Hebdo,” they say in computer-generated speech.

A loosely related group of hackivists, BinarySec , has also confirmed that it will start acting against Islamic State in the online sphere. In a statement posted on ghostbin, the group wrote:

“We as a collective will bring an end to your reign of terror. We will no longer turn a blind eye to your cruel and inhumane acts of terrorism towards all other religions that are not Islam. We’ve watched you behead innocent people, kidnap and murder children, and then launch terrorist attacks in France. This will NOT BE TOLERATED ANY LONGER.

“We here at BinarySec live for the sole purpose of bringing down All ISIS Propaganda ONE website and/or person at a time. ISIS … Your Jihad is coming to an abrupt end . We here at BinarySec will be one of the driving forces to your end and that’s a promise. ISIS… The War Is On.”

The opposition to Islamic State isn’t new amongst hacktivist communities, and both BinarySec and Anonymous, more broadly, have been disrupting jihadi online communications for a while. The operation began in January, as #OpCharlieHebdo, when members of Anonymous devoted themselves to rooting out the social media accounts of Islamic State supporters.

Anonymous declared a partial victory in #OpISIS back in February, after seizing control of almost 100 Twitter accounts associated with the group. Since then, they have made use of a varied set of tools to hinder Islamic State online. Social media accounts have been seized, by guessing passwords or abusing reset emails, and when that isn’t possible, they have been flagged to either Twitter or Facebook to be shut down.

Additionally, Anonymous has been using hacking techniques such as distributed denial of service attacks, which overwhelm a website with traffic, to bring down public Islamic State websites.

According to a report in Foreign Policy, Anonymous has had success, bringing down 149 websites, flagging more than 100 000 Twitter accounts and reporting a further 5 000 propaganda videos.