Anonymous is a group of political hacktivists/vigilantes who have historically fought injustice using their tech-savvy hacking skills. The group became infamous with its pursuit of justice for a young girl raped by members of the Steubenville, Ohio, high school football team. The group hacked the team’s cell phones and pulled up social media and emails used as evidence against the rapists, all of which led to convictions of several members of the team. And earlier this month, Anonymous targeted the KKK by outing several of its members.
Anonymous, understandably outraged at the attacks against the French in Paris on Friday, declared war Monday against ISIS. The declaration of cyber war was made in French by an Anonymous member donning the group’s trademark white smiley face mask. “Anonymous launched what it called Operation Paris, with the aim of tracking down members of the terrorist group,” reported the BBC.
Wasting no time, Anonymous, on Tuesday, made good on its promise to attack ISIS. Anonymous tweeted, “We report that more than 5500 Twitter account of #ISIS are now #down! #OpParis #Anonymous #ExpectUs.”
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Rory-Cellan Jones, a BBC reporter, asked for and received an interview with the founder of Anonymous’ Operation Paris. The granted interview was not an oral one, but Jones provided questions for the group’s leader to answer. Operation Paris’ leader responded with typed answers to the questions Jones provided him. Of course, his identity, up to now, is still a mystery.
The following is the transcript Jones published; it serves as a glimpse into what a real cyber war resembles.
What are the aims of your operation?
Our main goal in this operation is to identify the perpetrators of the Paris terror attacks and all terrorist organisations linked to them, acquire intel to dig deep into the roots of their manpower, disable their propaganda and stop their reach on social media, release their information to the public, and flag down any threat to mankind.
How will you measure its success?
With #OpParis as a large scale op, we make use of our morale, experience, and our efficiency in effectively finishing off ISIS, not just in the Internet, but ISIS itself. We will not settle down by just simply putting ISIS off the internet grid.
Are you confident about the accuracy of your claims about IS members?
We run effective verification of intel, and make sure that our leads are legitimate before we attack them. In some cases, they could be sympathisers or followers that republish horrifying display. We guarantee that we are not making false accusations to those who aren’t actually involved.
What happens if you post the name of someone who turns out not to be involved?
It is difficult that we make a visible profile without having the absolute certainty, we do not share information as soon we have them in hand and we spend countless hours to investigate and verify it.
Isn’t it better for the fight against IS if its members talk openly on Twitter where the security services can see them, rather than being driven underground?
The propaganda of ISIS is based on advertising their actions. They want to strike terror with their name, with bloody images, with violent videos. We can not fight them with guns and rifles, stopping their propaganda is an effective way to weaken their manpower and their presence in the Internet. Disrupting their communications makes it difficult to organise their attacks in a fluid manner.
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ISIS uses social media to recruit, report, and propagandize its terror activities. If Anonymous’ claims are true, then ISIS will have a harder time getting their dirty deeds out for the world to see. Anonymous went one step further. It was reported that the group posted a link to instructional information that would allow other Anonymous members to track down more ISIS social media sites and shut them down as well.
How effective do you think Anonymous’ cyber war on ISIS will be?
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