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18 Nov 2015 00:00
A man wearing a Guy Fawkes mask associated with Anonymous makes a statement in this still image from a video released on 16 November, 2015. (Reuters)
Online collective Anonymous “is at war” with the Islamic State (Isis) following the attacks in Paris, in a continuation of its “#OpIsis” campaign.
One major Anonymous twitter account, @GroupAnon, announced the operation on November 15, writing that “we won’t stop opposing #IslamicState. We’re also better hackers.”
In a video, originally released in French, a figure wearing Anonymous’s iconic Guy Fawkes mask addresses the terror group directly.
“You, the vermin who kill innocent victims, we will hunt you down like we did those who carried out the attacks on Charlie Hebdo,” the figure says in computer-generated speech.
A loosely related group of hacktivists, BinarySec, has confirmed that it will also start acting against Isis in the online sphere.
The group posted a statement on ghostbin, saying: “We as a collective will bring an end to your reign of terror.
“We here at BinarySec live for the sole purpose of bringing down all Isis propaganda one website and/or person at a time. Isis … your jihad is coming to an abrupt end. We here at BinarySec will be one of the driving forces to your end and that’s a promise. Isis … The War Is On.”
The opposition to Isis isn’t new among hacktivist communities, and BinarySec and Anonymous, more broadly, have been disrupting jihadi online communications for a while. The operation began in January as #OpCharlieHebdo, when members of Anonymous devoted themselves to rooting out the social media accounts of Isis supporters.
Anonymous declared a partial victory in #OpIsis in February, after seizing control of almost 100 Twitter accounts associated with the group. Since then, they have made use of a varied set of tools to hinder Isis online. Social media accounts have been seized by guessing passwords or abusing reset emails and when that isn’t possible, they have been flagged to either Twitter or Facebook to be shut down.
Additionally, Anonymous has been using hacking techniques such as distributed denial of service attacks, which overwhelm a website with traffic, to bring down public Isis websites.
According to a report in Foreign Policy, Anonymous has had success in bringing down 149 websites, flagging more than 100 000 Twitter accounts and reporting a further 5 000 propaganda videos.
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