New York – Ghost Security, a group of counterterrorism hackers, has shut down 149 Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) propaganda sites, 110,00 social media accounts, and over 6,000 propaganda videos since it formed in January after the Charlie Hebdo attacks that killed 12 people took place in Paris. The ‘hacktivists’, who are distributed all over the world, work an average of 16 hours a day as volunteers according to an special report made by CNN Money.

It is recognized that ISIS sympathisers use social media as one of their principal recruitment methods, they also publish thousands of propaganda that sometimes goes unnoticed by most of the people. Activists are urging people to knock some sites and accounts off.

This week, Anonymous, the international network of activist and hacktivist declared a technological war to the caliphate. They already spread a guide to hack the terrorists. While this declarations draw attention to media and people, there are other groups such as Ghost Security Group (GSG) that have been doing the same for months.

“Our mission is to eliminate the online presence of Islamic extremist groups such as Islamic State (IS), Al-Qaeda, Al-Nusra, Boko Haram and Al-Shabaab in an effort to stymie their recruitment and limit their ability to organize international terrorist efforts,” reads their site Credit:

As stated by the report, the group has even delivered information to the U.S. government, the FBI and other agencies via a Congressional terrorism adviser. The executive director of Ghost Security, who did not give his name because of security concerns, said they were playing more of an intelligence role, even when hacking is illegal no matter who and where the objective is.

It was said that the group also complains to companies such as YouTube, Twitter and Facebook, about publications, propaganda and accounts that support terrorism. The mentioned social media netwoks have taken measures in the last year in order to respond.

Facebook, the giant from California, already banned all terrorist content from its site. On the other hand, YouTube now take actions in just a few hours to eliminate violent videos. The 140 characters network, Twitter, works along its users to suspend terrorism related accounts. However, ISIS had been using Telegram which made them almost untraceable, but in recent declarations the CEO said he already suspended all their accounts.

In July Tunisia was threatened from an ISIS associated twitter account. The attack could have gone unnoticed if it weren’t for GSG, the Twitter profile just had a few followers who belonged to high profile ISIS members. 38 people were killed a moth before in a similar attack. As reported by CNN, the group conformed by counterintelligence officials and computer specialists, had been following and monitoring the account for 30 days.

GSG claims that they are different from the majority of the hacktivists groups. A bunch of members were previously part of Anonymous, including one of the leaders, who identified himself as “DigitalShadow”. He said that Ghost Security was smaller and more focused.

“We have structure and leadership, we also have a lot of counterterrorism experience. We have translators, linguists, research analysts on hand to analyze all the data that we receive.” he told CNNMoney. DigitalShadow also gives electronic equipment for the group.

Source: CNN Money