Following the Paris terror attacks, Anonymous declared cyber war to ISIS, vowing to take down the sites and accounts affiliated with the terrorist organization.
Anonymous isn’t the only group scaling up actions against ISIS. However, following the Paris terror attacks, cyber war against the terrorist organization intensified. All groups looking to fight ISIS online are targeting social media accounts spreading extremist propaganda, looking to attract fighters in the ranks of the terrorist organization or spreading hatred.
Following the Anonymous announcement, social media has been inundated with hashtags like #OpParis or #OpISIS. These hashtags have allowed a public window to the backends of the cyber war. Anonymous declared cyber war to ISIS. And it seems it’s been largely successful. Since the Paris terror attacks, the shadow hackers have took down over 20,000 Twitter accounts tracked down to ISIS.
The public opinion is split on these actions. While it is largely considered a beneficial war to fight, some fear that Arab speakers might get caught up in the cyber war and become innocent victims through backlash. Journalists and others who have no ISIS connections could also be targeted.
In declaring cyber war, Anonymous launched a rallying call both on Twitter and Pastebin. For those interested, an extensive how-to list has been put at disposal. Among the tactics Anonymous plans to employ, posting the names of suspicious accounts is one of them. In addition, a tool can be used to search specific keywords that can be linked to such accounts and automatically report them to Twitter.
This tactics is also among the most controversial according to experts. While it may work to take down accounts that promote recruiting for ISIS, the keyword search bots swept accounts of journalists and news organizations in the process.
However, Anonymous is not the only organization fighting ISIS online. GhostSec announced that they managed to infiltrate ISIS message boards. At the same time, they stated that Arabic tweets shouldn’t be targeted indiscriminately in the process of swiping out ISIS accounts.
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