In a post on the encrypted smartphone-messaging app Telegram, the Islamic Cyber Army, an affiliate of the Islamic State militant group, called the Western hacker group Anonymous “idiots” for declaring war on ISIS last weekend. Anonymous made a declaration vowing “massive cyber attacks” in a video posted to YouTube on November 14, the day after the coordinated attacks on Paris. Since Saturday the video has been viewed more than 6 million times.
The Islamic Cyber Army attempted to make a joke: “What they gonna hack…all they can do is hacking twitter accounts, emails, etc…”
Yesterday, Anonymous did exactly that. The hacker group made its first strike by releasing a list of 5,500 Twitter accounts believed to be related to ISIS in an effort to have them suspended. ISIS is known for using Twitter as a means of spreading propaganda and communicating with potential new members. However, their campaign to take down social-media accounts related to the militant group is unlikely to disrupt any of its day-to-day workings.
In its response, the Islamic Cyber Army gave its followers some advice: “Do not make your email same as your username on twitter this mistake cost many ansar [users sympathetic to ISIS] their accounts and the kuffar [non-Muslims] published their IP, so be careful.”
Anonymous in its current form was founded in 2008 as a more focused version of the web pranks organized through 4chan, the anonymous image board. (Earlier this week, Brian Feldman, of the website Following, embedded himself with Anonymous.)
ISIS also has a secret weapon: a 24-hour IT department at the ready to tell jihadis in need to turn it off and on again.