Hacker group disables 5,500 Twitter accounts linked to IS

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As many as 5,500 Twitter accounts linked to Islamic State (IS) militants have been disabled by a hacker group titled, Anonymous.

Anonymous made this claim in a tweet a day after launching the #OpParis campaign, in an effort to close IS’s social media accounts. “We report more than 5500 Twitter account of #ISIS are now #down! #OpParis #Anonymous #ExpectUs,” said a tweet, posted on 18 November. It was not immediately clear how the accounts were taken down.

Anonymous said, it posted the accounts to an online forum, labeling them as #daeshbags, a reference to Daesh, an Arabic acronym for the IS group.

Meanwhile, a message posted via Telegram messaging service, called on the IS affiliates to secure their Net disciplines. “The #Anonymous has threatened to carry out a major hack operation on the IS (idiots),” said the message.

Anonymous had waged a campaign against the IS, but increased its efforts only after the 13 November Paris attacks. This has not only led to a rise in online activity against terrorists, but also efforts at countering the group online.

Civilian hacking and denial of service are illegal no matter what. The most sophisticated and potentially helpful efforts, including aping a recruit, run the risk of confusing efforts by the United States or other governments.

Facebook has virtually banned praising ‘terrorist’ groups on its site this year. Similarly, YouTube too acts to take down violent videos within hours, Ghost Security Group said.

At Twitter, Ghost Security Group and an affiliate, circulate lists of problem accounts. Users who see those lists can complain about those accounts and get them suspended.

“More accounts are being taken down,” said JM Berger, a Brookings Institution expert on IS. “I think the majority of those is being done by Anonymous and Ghost Security. But initiatives such as the Counter Extremism Project and the Sawab Centre are also contributing to reporting efforts.”

Berger said, the efforts were somewhat helping to keep the IS’s Twitter audience flat, which is a positive sign.

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