Anonymous shutting down thousands of ISIS Twitter accounts may harm counter-terrorism

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ARA News

DAMASCUS – Since the deadly attacks of Paris claimed by the radical group of Islamic State (ISIS) last week, the Anonymous hackers group has been in an all-out cyberwar with the ISIS, having blocked thousands of pro-ISIS accounts and forums online. 

ISIS has called the Anonymous hacker “idiots” since they have no presence on ground.

On the other hand, the anti-ISIS cyberattacks by Anonymous may minimize the chances of western intelligence to track down ISIS jihadists through their online accounts and websites. 

According to activists, the Anonymous attacks could help ISIS jihadists rather than harming them. 

Over the past few days, the members of the Anonymous hacking group announced they have hacked and closed down more than 5,500 Twitter accounts under the banner #OpISIS. 

Anonymous forced Twitter to shut these pro-ISIS accounts down.

They’ve been quite successful in their cyberwar mission. However, several monitoring groups say the mission has brought reverse results.

The counter-terrorism efforts will be crashed by such random cyber assaults. At least, it may prevent other hacking groups track down ISIS accounts and sympathizers online, which would subsequently prevent knowing about the ISIS’s plans for any intended attacks in advance.

Hacker groups linked to Western intelligence agencies that rely on ISIS’s social media consider the Anonymous attacks harmful for blocking the way to track down ISIS-linked accounts. 

One of these security groups is GhostSec. They regularly hunt down jihadist accounts and forums online, without shutting them down; they rather infiltrate into them and monitor their activities and future plans. 

The GhostSec‘s mission is to “eradicate the online presence of extremist groups, including ISIS, al-Qaeda, al-Nusra, Boko Haram and al-Shabaab in a bid to prevent them recruiting new teenagers and youth as well as limiting the terror group’s ability to plan for international terrorist attacks.”

They pass all key information about extremist groups to intelligence agencies, like the FBI.

Such links could include information about the places where bomb-making materials are being purchased as well as the plans for leading terrorist attacks like those hit France capital Paris last week.

According to the GhostSec, their mission is much easier to monitor ISIS’s future plans when the group’s militants, supporters, sympathizers and allies communicate through Twitter, because it is an unencrypted, public forum.

Since all these accounts have been shut down, pro-ISIS activists and supporters have been using Telegram site which is encrypted, protected from surveillance as well as easy for communicating by extremists.

Telegram users are allowed to transfer funds to each other, or set a timer on their messages so they self-destruct.

Hence, closing down thousands of Twitter accounts by Anonymous will not eliminate the terror group and terrorism outright, they rather help extremists move, plan, attack and bomb secretly out of sight.

“We easily could save someone’s live if we were familiar with their terrorists’ attacks beforehand,” a GhostSec spokesman has said. “Anonymous group is used to shoot randomly then ask questions.” 

Reporting by: Resho Issa 

Source: ARA News

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