For the last few weeks, we’ve been following the grassroots (cyber roots?) efforts by the “hacktivist” group Anonymous to take down ISIS in cyber warfare. We’ve shared here a few of their videos describing the effort. Seems like maybe they’re on to something, because the Pentagon has announced it’s going to take a leaf out of their book.
As Fox News reports, “the Pentagon is considering more aggressive cyberattacks on the Islamic State’s computers in an effort to decrease its propaganda on social media and prevent potential terror attacks, according to a published report.
The Los Angeles Times reported Sunday, citing unnamed U.S. officials who were not authorized to speak on the matter, that military hackers at Cyber Command in Fort Meade, Md. have created malware that could be used to curb the terror group’s capabilities on the Internet.
However, the military’s fight against the extremists’ online communications faces drawback from the FBI and other intelligence officials who say that constricting the Internet in Syria and Iraq may shut the window into the militants’ whereabouts and intentions, according to the Los Angeles Times.
Of course bad guys aren’t necessarily stupid, and just as criminals find ways to buy guns if they want them, terrorists have already figured out other options for communicating.
Despite the cyberattacks, ISIS extremists have found workarounds to communicating on social media. The terror group encourages its militants to use encrypted social apps – such as Telegram – instead of Twitter or Facebook because the messages are harder to monitor.
The Counter Extremist Project, a New York-based nonprofit that tracks messages sent on the Internet from alleged extremists, says militants send about 90,000 Twitter messages a day to promote their ideology and to recruit new members.
Comey said last week before the Senate Judiciary Committee at least one of the two shooters at the anti-Prophet Muhammad event in Texas in May had exchanged 109 encrypted electronic messages with “an overseas terrorist.”
It’s getting harder and harder for us to intercept the communication between this international network of jihadists hell-bent on carrying out terror attacks.
It’s already too late for the lone wolves and other sympathizers who’ve already slipped in, either through a lax system or quietly and illegally over the border.
So for heaven’s sake, can we just start right now and at the very least stop letting in military-aged Muslim males for the time being?
[Note: This article was written by Michele Hickford]