Hacking group declares war on Daesh

Global hacking collective Anonymous on Monday declared a “cyber-war” on Daesh, following deadly terrorist attacks in France.

Anonymous was trending on Twitter for the first time in several years and vowed to shut down websites and social media accounts that promote Daesh’s propaganda and communication.

While the group has hacked ISIS accounts before, the attack in Paris on Friday that killed at least 129 victims caused the group to step up its activity.

“We as a collective will bring an end to your reign of terror,” a member of Anonymous wrote in a post on publishing platform PasteBin, adding that the hackers have “watched you behead innocent people, kidnap and murder children, and then launch terrorist attacks in France”.

Anonymous’ members “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,” according to the post referring to an alternative name for Daesh.

Along with exposing Twitter accounts linked to the Daesh, Anonymous claimed it was launching Distributed Denial of Service (DDoS) attacks against Daesh-affiliated websites and other services that host the militant group’s propaganda.

DDoS attacks overload website servers to essentially shut down the targeted websites. Anonymous is specifically targeting Daesh websites that use CloudFlare cybersecurity software, a United States-based service that has not shut down the terrorist group’s online activities due to freedom of speech principles.

Anonymous, founded in 2003, has launched a series of hacking campaigns against various groups and governments with mixed success. In 2008, the organization gained notoriety for a successful cyber-attack against the Church of Scientology. It also attacked the official websites of Tunisian and Egyptian governmental agencies during the Arab Spring of 2011.

Since targeting Daesh after an attack on French satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo in January, 2015, Anonymous claims it has shut down tens of thousands of Twitter accounts linked to Daesh members. 

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