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March 26, 2015 0

ISIS Cyber Unit Announces More Hacks

Hacker(s) iden­ti­fy­ing as “ISIS cyber army” claimed respon­si­bil­ity for hack­ing fifty-one Amer­i­can web­sites on March 24.

Screenshot of the defaced websites

Screen­shot of the defaced websites

Each of the hacked web­sites was defaced with the flag of the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS), a state­ment that the web­site was “Hacked by Islamic State [sic],” and an e-mail address for the ISIS cyber army, the unit believed to be behind the cyber activ­i­ties of ISIS. In the past, the ISIS cyber unit  claimed respon­si­bil­ity for involve­ment in a series of attacks against a num­ber of Israeli web­sites.

The recent ISIS cyber-attack tar­geted a vari­ety of web­sites, rang­ing from sim­ple online retail stores to forums to help preg­nant women—all web­sites per­ceived to be tech­ni­cally vulnerable.While the attack does not show a high level of tech­ni­cal capa­bil­i­ties by ISIS, it demon­strates their com­mit­ment to engag­ing directly in cyber warfare.

Tweet from ISIS Cyber Army: "...message to the dog of the Jews, #Obama"

Tweet from ISIS Cyber Army: “…mes­sage to the dog of the Jews, #Obama”

Accord­ing to a tweet by the ISIS_cyberarmy Twit­ter account , the recent cyber-attackwas a mes­sage to “the dog of the Jews, Obama.” ISIS and its sup­port­ers have reg­u­larly referred to Pres­i­dent Obama as a “mule of the Jews,” and the phrase “dog of the Jews” may be a vari­ant of this.

The ISIS_cyberarmy Twit­ter account, which appears to have been sus­pended as of March 25, was pre­vi­ously fol­lowed by more than a thou­sand ISIS supporters.The account pub­lished the urls of the hacked web­sites and linked to a state­ment on justpaste.it, a file-sharing web­site reg­u­larly used by ISIS and its sup­port­ers to post infor­ma­tion, which also included the list of hacked web­sites and the seal of what appears to be the ISIS cyber army. The state­ment on justpaste.it started with an Islamic prayer in Ara­bic and included the seal of the ISIS cyber army.

Record­ings show­ing the defaced web­sites were also posted on Aljyyosh (“the armies” in Ara­bic), an online forum for Arab hack­ers, which in the past has been a hub for anti-Israel and anti-Jewish hack­ers. The videos show the hacked web­sites defaced with ISIS flags and an e-mail address of the ISIS cyber army.

In the past, sev­eral promi­nent hacker groups launched cyber-attacks in sup­port of ISIS, but recently ISIS esca­lated its cyber activ­ity by claim­ing direct respon­si­bil­ity for hack­ing per­sonal infor­ma­tion of 100 Amer­i­can mil­i­tary per­son­nel and pub­lish­ing the infor­ma­tion on a “hit list.” These hack­ings are the lat­est exam­ple of what appears to be direct activ­ity by ISIS’s cyber unit.Earlier this year, social media accounts of the U.S. military’s Cen­tral Com­mand were hacked by a group that claimed to be act­ing in sup­port of ISIS.

This capa­bil­ity to engage in cyber-attacks may be a reflec­tion of ISIS’s calls for sup­port from indi­vid­u­als with var­i­ous skills, from media experts to doc­tors, to join and con­tribute to the group and its ter­ri­tory how­ever they can.

The tac­tic of hack­ing U.S. web­sites may also be related to ISIS’s calls for small-scale and lone-wolf attacks against the U.S. and its inter­ests. In the past, ISIS has recruited out­side hack­ers and hack­ing groups to under­take such cyber-attacks on its behalf.

Pro­mot­ing the hack­ings of Amer­i­can web­sites with anti-Semitic lan­guage demon­strates how ISIS’s anti-Semitic sen­ti­ment extends into its sub­di­vi­sions, includ­ing its cyber arm. Like other Islamic extrem­ist ter­ror groups, ISIS has been known to use anti-Semitism to appeal to fol­low­ers.

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January 13, 2015 0

New ISIS Threat Campaign Capitalizes on Paris Attacks

Image from Twitter campaign

Image from Twit­ter campaign

The Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) has launched a new cam­paign on Twit­ter call­ing for addi­tional home­grown attacks in West­ern coun­tries in the after­math of the attacks in Paris last week that killed 17.

The cam­paign, adver­tised with the hash­tag #Fight­forHim was espe­cially promi­nent on Twit­ter on Sun­day, when both offi­cial ISIS accounts and mul­ti­ple sup­porter accounts Tweeted images fea­tur­ing mes­sages to Mus­lims “liv­ing in the West” and quotes by Anwar al-Awlaki advo­cat­ing “the duty of killing those who insult our Prophet Muhammad.”

Awlaki was an Amer­i­can pro­pa­gan­dist for Al Qaeda in the Ara­bian Penin­sula. He was killed in a drone strike in 2011 but his writ­ings and say­ings con­tinue to be a moti­va­tional force for extrem­ists, includ­ing the Kouachi broth­ers, who are believed to have been two of the three indi­vid­u­als who attacked the Char­lie Hebdo offices last week, and Amedy Coulibaly, believed to be one of the two indi­vid­u­als behind last week’s hostage inci­dent in a kosher gro­cery store in Paris.

At the same time, ISIS sup­port­ers are also con­tin­u­ing a cam­paign of hack­ing Jew­ish insti­tu­tional web­sites and, increas­ingly, sites that are affil­i­ated with gov­ern­ments, mil­i­tary insti­tu­tions, and other orga­ni­za­tions, replac­ing the orig­i­nal text on the site with anti-Semitic and pro-terrorist mes­sages. Mon­day after­noon, ISIS sup­port­ers claimed respon­si­bil­ity for hack­ing the social media accounts affil­i­ated with U.S. Cen­tral Com­mand.

One of the Tweets from the #Fight­forHim cam­paign fea­tures a red ban­ner image with the quote, “You are a Mus­lim? Liv­ing in the West? Being a city wolf is your task! For you are the only ones to do so! You are already ’cit­i­zens’, and no doubt you are the suit­able ones to be cho­sen for such a task. You are shar­ing the same land with them! The same busses and trains, the same neighborhoods!”

Sev­eral Tweets also fea­tured what appeared to be pages ready for inser­tion into an English-language pro­pa­ganda mag­a­zine that quoted Anwar al-Awlaki nar­rat­ing a story about a “Jew­ish leader and…very elo­quent poet” who wrote poems that spoke out against Muham­mad, after which he was killed. In the story, Muham­mad stated, “I am the Prophet of mercy and I am the prophet of war” and “he has harmed us and he has defamed us with his poetry, and none of you (Jews) would do this except we would deal with him with the sword!”

Image from Twitter campaign showing Anwar al-Awlaki

Image from Twit­ter cam­paign show­ing Anwar al-Awlaki

The three pages that make up this story are titled Char­lie, ref­er­enc­ing the mag­a­zine. In its sub­ject mat­ter, the story also can be read as sup­port­ing attacks on Jews more broadly.

These images and oth­ers were Tweeted directly from mul­ti­ple indi­vid­ual Twit­ter accounts. This may indi­cate that they were part of a coor­di­nated cam­paign run through the Dawn of Glad Tid­ings app, a Twit­ter appli­ca­tion that allows ISIS to Tweet directly onto users’ pages, thus rapidly and widely dis­sem­i­nat­ing pro­pa­ganda and enabling effec­tive hash­tag cam­paigns. Some of the images were Tweeted from between 80 and 100 accounts in minutes.

The cam­paign was sup­ple­mented by an essay writ­ten by an ISIS sup­porter that urged attacks in West­ern coun­tries and pro­vided sug­ges­tions for car­ry­ing them out.

The essay cites Inspire mag­a­zine, Anwar al-Awlaki, Osama bin Laden and ISIS as sources for inspi­ra­tion and lists mul­ti­ple cities, states, and coun­tries that can be attacked, includ­ing mul­ti­ple loca­tions in the U.S.

“Until life in Nor­way, Florida, Mon­treal, Fin­land, Lis­bon, Lux­em­bourg and Can­berra becomes…a land that burns, a sky that rains rock­ets, and cities through which wolves walk, the lions of jihad, and where breaths are con­ceal (sic) until they taste our sever­ity” it states. The essay later threat­ens addi­tional attacks includ­ing San Fran­cisco, Bel­gium, Lon­don, Madrid, Syd­ney, Rus­sia, Boston, Dal­las, Vir­ginia and Ams­ter­dam with explo­sive devices, booby traps and poison.

This essay was picked up and cir­cu­lated by offi­cial ISIS media out­lets fol­low­ing its post­ing on Justpate.it, an online pub­lish­ing site reg­u­larly used by ter­ror­ist sup­port­ers to quickly and anony­mously post text and images online.

Although the #fight­forHim hash­tag is new, calls by ter­ror­ist groups for home­grown attacks have a lengthy his­tory. In the past year, ISIS, Al Qaeda, AQAP and Al Shabaab have all called for such attacks. In the wake of the attacks in France, addi­tional groups includ­ing the Pak­istani Tal­iban, Al Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb and Al Moura­bitoun have also called for copy­cat attacks.

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March 14, 2014 1

Hackers Target Israel On Holocaust Remembrance Day

A hacker group known as Anony­mous Arab has announced plans to ini­ti­ate a cyber-attack against Israel on Holo­caust Remem­brance Day (April 7). The cam­paign, called OpIs­rael, is being pro­moted on mul­ti­ple social media plat­forms in order to attract hack­ers from around the world.  opisrael-anonymous-arab-april-7-holocaust-remembrance-day

In a state­ment on the Anony­mous Arab Face­book page, the group threat­ened to launch “elec­tronic attacks against as many Israeli web­sites as pos­si­ble.” The group also threat­ens Israeli cit­i­zens: “Your credit cards, your bank accounts, your servers … are ALL in a danger!”

Last year, Anony­mous Arab issued a sim­i­lar warn­ing around the same time to “wipe Israel off the Inter­net.” The warn­ing was fol­lowed by a series of cyber-attacks against Israeli gov­ern­ment, mil­i­tary and pri­vate web­sites, although with lim­ited results.

The Face­book page includes tuto­r­ial videos on hack­ing web­sites. One post reads, “Guys who are expe­ri­enced in the DOS Attack [Denial of Ser­vice Attacks], prepa­ra­tions must be made to attack the web­site of the Zion­ist Min­istry of For­eign Affairs.” The post specif­i­cally men­tions the Farsi lan­guage web­site of the Israeli Min­istry of For­eign Affairs.

Another post reads, “Now, Attack. Stop the ser­vice on the Israeli weapons web­site.” The post also lists tac­ti­cal instruc­tions and asks par­tic­i­pants to hide their IP [Inter­net Pro­to­col] so they can­not be tracked.

The past few years wit­nessed an esca­la­tion in cyber-attacks against Israel by var­i­ous hacker groups from all across the Arab World. Hack­ers have also increased their attacks against the web­sites of Jew­ish insti­tu­tions in the United States.

Hack­ers who tar­get Israel often claim their attack is part of an elec­tronic Jihad against the State of Israel in defense of the Pales­tin­ian peo­ple, but the tim­ing of this cam­paign to coin­cide with Holo­caust Remem­brance Day demon­strates an anti-Semitic bent.

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