Hackers Cause Chaos in ISIS Ranks by Hijacking Twitter Accounts

Hackers Cause Chaos in ISIS Ranks by Hijacking Twitter Accounts
Anti-terrorist hacker with Anonymous, WauchulaGhost, works at a computer from an undisclosed location. (WauchulaGhost)
Joshua Philipp

A new operation against ISIS, started by a small group of hackers, is bringing the online propaganda arm of the terrorist group to its virtual knees.

The plan unfolded in late March, when around five hackers from the groups Anonymous and BinarySec started hijacking Twitter accounts used by ISIS propagandists who spread violent images and promote jihadist ideologies.

After gaining control of the accounts, the hackers get an inside look at the direct messages between the ISIS recruiters and other jihadis, and information on their locations. They also gain temporary control over the mouthpieces used to spread the terrorist organization’s messages.

One of the hackers, who goes by the moniker “The Riddler,” said that over the last three days he personally took over 29 ISIS Twitter accounts. He said his group has gained control over close to 1,000 accounts of terrorist recruiters since the operation started.

“We are hoping by taking Daesh [ISIS] accounts it will show them they are not safe here on Twitter,” said another of the hackers, “WauchulaGhost,” in an interview on Twitter.

Some of the accounts contain virtual treasure troves of data linking ISIS supporters. The accounts also contain access history, which displays the locations of many of the ISIS propagandists. Others contain chat histories and even lists of phone numbers.

One of the hackers, BinarySec admin “JustAnotherNode,” said in an interview on Twitter that by taking over the accounts “we are able to see the complexity of their inner structure and organization.”

Twitter has been fighting a battle of its own against ISIS accounts using its services, claiming in a blog post on Feb. 5 that since mid-2015 it had suspended 125,000 accounts that were “threatening or promoting terrorist acts, primarily related to ISIS.”

Several online groups that are fighting ISIS online, however, believe that Twitter itself is still not doing enough.

WauchulaGhost said the new effort gives them more power over ISIS online operations, noting that they’re also taking over ISIS websites, removing their propaganda videos, and helping suspend large numbers of their social networking accounts.

He added that “by taking control of their Twitter accounts it should make them feel insecure about using social media.”

The team plans to carry out similar operations on other social networks—“what they don’t know is we are everywhere.”

Joshua Philipp is senior investigative reporter and host of “Crossroads” at The Epoch Times. As an award-winning journalist and documentary filmmaker, his works include "The Real Story of January 6" (2022), "The Final War: The 100 Year Plot to Defeat America" (2022), and "Tracking Down the Origin of Wuhan Coronavirus" (2020).
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