This post originally appeared on AddictingInfo.org
For a despicable terrorist group hunted around the globe by a formidable coalition of some of the most powerful militaries in the world, staying hidden is the only way to survive. Members of the terror group ISIS, based primarily in Syria and Iraq, have taken to using social media accounts to coordinate, plan, and recruit. They’ve managed to stay one step ahead of U.S. and coalition intelligence services because of the difficulty in tracking the thousands of accounts ISIS members use. But after the brazen attacks in Paris, they’ve kicked the hornet’s nest. The loosely-connected “hacktivist” group known as Anonymous has formally declared war on ISIS – and they are already getting results.
In just under two days, Anonymous has managed to identify and take down over 5,500 pro-ISIS Twitter accounts. Coordinating under the hashtag #opIceISIS, hackers have collected all sorts of valuable data about suspected ISIS members and the people who aid them.
Perhaps sensitive to previous campaigns that led to the leaks of unvetted information, the members of #opIceISIS are being as transparent as they can be with the press. According to the UK’s The Guardian, their reporters have already been granted access to the massive data dumps Anonymous has been collected in the last 48 hours. The information appears extensive (albeit still not independently verified):
The activist collective is assembling lists of the Twitter accounts and websites of extremists, in an attempt to have them taken down. At least one post seen by The Independent contains details including the physical address of a person it claims is an Isis recruiter in Europe.
Activists claim to have successfully had accounts and sites taken down already. Accounts associated with the group claimed that it was responsible for the removal of more than 5,500 accounts.
The idea that hackers have gotten information on who is behind many of the accounts used to propagate the messages of ISIS is probably terrifying for those linked. After all, almost any slip up by a leader of ISIS means certain death. We saw a stark example of that truism just one day before the Paris attack when a U.S.-led airstrike in Syria killed “Jihadi John,” the man seen murdering several hostages in ISIS’s videos this summer.
While conservatives act tough by embarrassingly tweeting pictures of hand guns and empty posturing, what ISIS really fears are things like their names, their addresses, and their social media accounts being compromised. To that end, what Anonymous is doing is very likely to strike a chord of fear among their supporters.
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