An Islamic State hacking collective is claiming that they “will kill” Anonymous hackers who have been waging a lengthy campaign that has knocked down scores of terrorist websites and social media accounts.
The United Cyber Caliphate is also warning that it will attack the Indonesian government this Friday, showing screenshots of hacked Facebook accounts bearing their branding.
Over the summer, the UCC has claimed takedowns of websites across the world, including 200 Jewish websites in June, and earlier this month threatened Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg by photoshopping his head onto an orange jumpsuit next to an ISIS flag.
Lately, they’ve left an image of Jihadi John standing next to a kneeling, orange-jumpsuited prisoner with the trademark Guy Fawkes mask of Anonymous photoshopped on the captive’s face.
“A message to all Anonymous organization: You are the ones who started the war against us. So expect what will harm you. You are the enemies of Allah. And die in your rage, you and who provoked you against us,” the text above the image says, claiming to the hacktivist collective that “you know very well that your strongest branch has joined us.”
“We are Islamic State hacking division. We will find you. And we will kill you,” the message adds, tacking on a series of hashtags including #OpTheWorld — a play on Anonymous’ #OpISIS campaign, and shorthand for #OpTerrorizingTheWorld.
That campaign targeting ISIS’ online recruiting and propaganda operation has continued even as the physical caliphate has sustained extensive losses. Twitter, though, hasn’t always been fair to the hackers doing the dirty work of taking terrorists offline while weathering their death threats: #OpISIS hackers have reported that they were suspended while exposing and going after ISIS accounts.
Multiple ISIS hacking teams fight under the umbrella of the terror group’s hacking division, including the newest unit called Al Baghdadi’s Hack Section.
A November 2017 report from the Centre for Risk Studies at the University of Cambridge Judge Business School warned that, as ISIS evolves into a virtual caliphate and recruits more highly skilled techies, the terror group’s hackers could target critical infrastructure.
“In the hands of an Daesh-affiliated cyber group, even faulty ransomware (in the mould of WannaCry) could be used to maximise publicity, business interruption and frustration amongst security agencies and the general public,” the report stated. “In time, Malware-as-a-Service (MaaS), although costlier, could provide Daesh related groups with potential HS/HT capabilities, allowing for true penetration of industrial or other vital systems.”
ISIS has been recruiting for new hackers. “Oh supporter, If you didn’t do anything or obligated not to fulfill the call of ‘Jihad’ against the coalition of the infidels in the battlefield, why not fulfilling the call of ‘Jihad’ in the Media field?!” states a message distributed last year in English, Arabic and French by the Ashhad Media Foundation, showing a hooded figure in front of a laptop computer branded with the ISIS insignia and icons of social media sites in the background, including Twitter, Facebook, Google Plus, Instagram and YouTube. They also included the employment networking site LinkedIn.
Ashhad called on supporters on Telegram to go open Twitter and Facebook accounts to spread ISIS propaganda as needed. The media foundation also put out a call for hackers to go after anti-ISIS Facebook accounts.
Ashhad previously published a social media guide, “O Knights of Media, Descend for Combat with Allah’s Enemies and Fight with Them,” with a cover image of a jihadist shooting computer screens with Twitter and Facebook logos on them.