Last week, a new cyber front emerged in the war against the Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant (ISIL). Anonymous, the hacker collective principally known for its website defacements and account takedowns for political causes, initiated #OpParis, aimed at defeating ISIL online. This is not the first Anonymous campaign against ISIL. Their previous foray several months back, more obviously named #OpISIS, failed to cultivate a strong following or endure. But Anonymous hackers, likely bearing witness to ISIL violence in European neighborhoods in which many likely roost, have energized their legion and drawn interest from media outlets.
Reactions to #OpParis are mixed. It is encouraging to see the collective take on a noble goal in contrast to many of their other campaigns that vary in merit. Everyone hates ISIL and Anonymous has skills. Why shouldn’t the hacker collective join in a campaign to root out evil? And who better for Anonymous to challenge than a terrorist group that so prolifically uses the Internet to radicalize and recruit their foreign fighters and social media fan boys.
Thus far, Anonymous’ primary modus operandi has been to take down ISIL social media accounts and initiate Distributed Denial of Service (DDoS) attacks on key terrorist forums. This immediately raises several issues.
I am going to write my own post on Anon and its participation in Ghost Fleet, an awful book, but also discuss what they have done in real life. Esp with regards to Daesh/IS because it relates directly to that terrible book.