Anonymous vs ISIL. Good or Bad?
Following the outrageous, barbaric acts of cowardice and cold blooded murder by representatives (aka murdering lowlife scumbags) of the so called ‘Islamic State’ in Paris last week, the hacking collective known as Anonymous released a video in which they claimed to be ‘going to war’ (Cyber we presume) with the medieval, thoroughly rotten butchers.
We have seen many questions doing the rounds on social media such as “what can Anonymous really do? Is this a real thing?’ ‘Is it a good thing’ etc. along with some pretty good jokes, our favourite of which says ‘at least ISIL are going to be screwed by 72 virgins’. Ho Ho.
Let’s take these questions one at a time.
What can Anonymous really do?
It would be very, very foolish to underestimate the capability of Anonymous. As they say themselves, they are ‘Legion’. Comprising of a significant number of hard-core hackers, information security experts, intelligence caseworker types, they have the capability, the tools, the smarts and the willpower to execute significant operations.
The focus of their operations against ISIL will be and actually has been for some time (since the Charlie Hebdo incident operations have been seriously underway) to disrupt the communications channels of ISIL by taking down websites and other servers, to remove social media accounts belonging to Jihadi sympathisers and recruiters and to name, shame and out the same.
In the week since the Paris attacks, Anonymous has hacked 5500 Twitter accounts and taken down many ISIL servers and continue to do so.
In summary, it is a real thing, a massive operation and should be taken seriously; it has the capability to disrupt, in some part, this evil brainwashing ideology.
Is this a good thing?
The UK media, who, as usual are focussing on their shrieking WAR headlines, is largely overlooking this question.
The trouble with Anonymous activities of this type is that they focus on specific target activity without considering the broader intelligence picture. Anonymous do not work hand in glove with the NSA/GCHQ etc. and so stand a very real chance of disrupting intelligence gathering information or preventing communications between at risk agents on the ISIL side who may be using the communications discussed above to communicate with their handlers.
On balance this lawless and quite brash approach to Cyber Warfare is a keystone cop situation and we would encourage Anonymous to have some comms with The Law, perhaps they do. We wouldn’t know.
If you would like to keep up to date with the activities of the boys and girls of Anonymous in this operation, they have a Twitter feed of activities: https://twitter.com/opiceisis
In the meantime our thoughts go out to the victims and all those affected by the terrible events in Paris.