As a response to the attacks in Paris that left 129 people dead, Anonymous, the hacker group, announced on YouTube they would launch a series of cyber-attacks against the Islamic State, who have already responded through a Telegram account. The extremists called the hacker group “idiots”.

A spokesperson wearing the customary Guy Fawkes mask affirmed in French they declare themselves on war against the Daesh. Published on YouTube on Monday, the video reached more than 1.1 million views by 14:30 GMT that same day. The spokesperson said the group will take revenge for the attacks occurred in Paris.

Anonymous is a loosely associated international network of activist and hacktivist entities. Credit: International Business Times

“We are going to launch the biggest operation ever against you. Expect many cyberattacks. War has been declared. Get ready,” the man said. He threatened ISIS by reassuring Anonymous from all over the world will hunt them down. As usual, he finally added: “We don’t forgive and we don’t forget”.

A couple of hours later, an ISIS-affiliated account on Telegram, which is a messaging app, sent a message to its followers giving them instructions about how to prevent Anonymous potential attacks. The instructions include leaving unopened any links that come from unknown sources, changing Internet Protocol addresses frequently and avoiding talking to people they don’t know on Telegram or Twitter direct messaging. Written in Arabic and English, the statement was forwarded around to several other Telegram channels linked to ISIS supporters.

Anonymous is a worldwide network of activist computer hackers that have cyber-attacked a large number of government, corporate and religious websites over the past twelve years.

Since the terrorist attack on French weekly Charlie Hebdo earlier this year, which left 17 mortal victims, the group has held an online campaign to force the shutdown of Twitter profiles that are apparently linked to Islamic State supporters. Anonymous claim they have detected over 39,000 ISIS profiles and reported them to Twitter. The hackers say 25,000 of these accounts have been suspended. However, about 14,000 on the targeted list are still active.

Anonymous is not really one single group, as cyberwarfare expert David Gewirtz told CBS News. He explained the network is constituted by many hackers working under the same name. However, he suggested that threats are decided by certain members. Gewirtz remarked that cyberattacks can have significant impacts. Although they are not useful to arrest people or eliminate terrorists, they can be used to weaken structural components of terrorist movements, as they help identify terrorism financial sources and therefore attack their operations. Besides, ISIS uses social media to recruit people, which can be disturbed by Anonymous cyberattacks.

Source: NBC News