The hacktivist group Anonymous is ramping up its war on ISIS with the release of information how to take down social media accounts associated with the terrorist organization.
“This system coordinates all of the efforts so that they are all working together and sharing to ensure a highly effective fighting force. Its results are staggering. When people work together, they are unstoppable,” the group said in explaining their tactics.
The guides provided by Anonymous detail such things as DDoS-ing, cracking passwords, and how to take down an account. In response, members of ISIS have sent around information on how to not get hacked, recalling details such as not talking to strangers or changing one’s IP repeatedly.
The group has also received recognition from official antiterrorism groups. Retired American General David Petraeus said in an recent interview that what he has seen so far of Anonymous’ work “would be of considerable value to those engaged in counter-terrorism initiatives.”
But could this form of vigilantism actually be of any help? Computer security blogger Olivier Laurelli told AFP that it could harm police operations to find members of ISIS.
“To close those accounts is to leave police deaf and blind around some matters,” Laurelli the French news service. “It is important to know that one account is in France, another in Syria or in Iraq.”
Furthermore, the wrong person could be accused or attacked.
Sunil Tripathi was identified by members of Reddit as the man who had coordinated the Boston Marathon bombing. News outlets such as the BBC reported him as the prime suspect by the FBI, but Tripathi was found dead shortly after the brothers Tsarnev were arrested.
Not only did the Reddit users’ actions take away from the actual perpetrators of the crime, it applied guilt onto a person who wasn’t guilty and may have led to their deaths.
It is unclear whether Anonymous will have a similar record in combating ISIS.
Cover Photo Credit: Pierre (Rennes)/ Flickr (CC By 2.0)