A previously unknown group calling itself “Islamic State Hackers Division” has posted a hit list of 100 American servicemen online, urging followers to carry out attacks against the targets.
The names, addresses, and photos of the servicemen are included in the posting. Sources tell Reuters that the information was not obtained by hacking a military website and appears to be from easily accessible online databases.
The Pentagon said after the information was posted on the Internet that it was investigating the matter. “I can’t confirm the validity of the information, but we are looking into it,” a U.S. defense official, speaking on condition of anonymity, said on Saturday.
“We always encourage our personnel to exercise appropriate OPSEC (operations security) and force protection procedures,” the official added.
In the posting, a group referring to itself as the “Islamic State Hacking Division” wrote in English that it had hacked several military servers, databases and emails and made public the information on 100 members of the U.S. military so that “lone wolf” attackers can kill them.
The New York Times reported that it did not look like the information had been hacked from U.S. government servers and quoted an unnamed Defense Department official as saying most of the information could be found in public records, residential address search sites and social media.
The Times quoted officials as saying the list appeared to have been drawn from personnel mentioned in news articles about air strikes on Islamic State. The group’s forces control parts of Syria and Iraq and have been targeted in U.S.-led air strikes.
The posting, addressed to disbelievers, Christians and “crusaders” in America, included what the group said were the names, military service branch, photos and street addresses of the individuals. The posting includes the military rank of some but not all of those named.
The New York Times quotes from the website:
“With the huge amount of data we have from various different servers and databases, we have decided to leak 100 addresses so that our brothers in America can deal with you,” the Islamic State’s so-called Hacking Division said in the web posting.
It added: “And now we have made it easy for you by giving you addresses, all you need to do is take the final step, so what are you waiting for?”
That doesn’t sound like a foreign terrorist who speaks English as a second language. But even if the posters are not directly under the command of Islamic State, the invitation to kill servicemen is deadly serious. As we’ve seen in several attacks around the world, there are plenty of nutcases who are inspired by Islamic State and would be eager to carry out their wishes.
Let’s hope they shut that website down before one of our servicemen is attacked.