A group calling itself the ‘Cyber Caliphate’, which has been created by Islamic State terrorist Junaid Hussain, have been able to hack into over 54,000 Twitter accounts. The move from the group is said to have been in retaliation for the death of a British ISIS terrorist in a drone attack supported by the United States and the United Kingdom.
On November 8, 2015, the group published a list of all the accounts they had hacked, including their passwords. Interestingly, this is not the first time that the group has employed these types of tactics.
Islamic militants brag online that it is only a matter of time before they manage to pull off a highly disruptive attack on America’s infrastructure or financial system. In addition, Islamic State, the terror group that claims to have established a caliphate across Syria and Iraq, boast openly of plans to establish a “cyber caliphate,” protected by jihadist developed encryption software from behind which they hope to mount catastrophic hacking and virus attacks on America and the West.
Experts in the field of cyber terrorism have stated that the move by the Islamist group is significant in terms of the global cyber war. One expert Tony McDowell has made a statement about this issue.
It is very worrying that terrorists are gathering data in this way.
Hussain was raised in Birmingham, United Kingdom. He had been urging followers of ISIS to use the newly hacked Twitter accounts in order to spread propaganda for the terrorist group,. However, in August, a US drone killed him in an operation launched together by the US and UK. Sally Jones, his wife from Kent, United Kingdom, and mother of two children, is classed as being the most dangerous recruiter for ISIS in the United Kingdom, from where more and more people are fleeing to Syria in order to join the struggle.
The majority of people who have been targeted by the Cyber Caliphate hack are based in Saudi Arabia. However, it is feared that a number of British nationals are also among them. Cyber Caliphate posted the names of the accounts and passwords, as well as a variety of other sensitive information. This includes the hacked telephone numbers of the heads of the CIA (Central Intelligence Agency), the FBI (Federal Bureau of Investigations) and NSA (National Security Agency). One victim, a half-British engineer who works in Saudi Arabia, was shocked by the developments.
I am horrified at how they got hold of my details.
In January, the Cyber Caliphate was briefly able to hack in to the Pentagon’s Twitter account. Since then, they seemed to have gone underground again. However, on November 8, 2015, they reappeared with a Twitter declaration.
We are back. We need years to publish what we have. We will raise our flag in the heart of Europe.
Sources have mentioned that an unnamed security agency contacted Twitter about the breach. In response, they suspended all of the hacked accounts. A statement referring to the Twitter abusive behavior policy was immediately released.
Posting another person’s private and confidential information is a violation of the Twitter rules. Users may not make threats of violence or promote violence, including threatening or promoting terrorism.
In the United Kingdom, the Home Secretary Theresa May is in the process of pushing the Investigatory Powers Bill through the House of Commons. Essentially, this bill will allow security agencies and law enforcement agencies to snoop on anybody whom they suspect of any crime by viewing that person’s internet history. If the bill is passed, all online activities of every person in the United Kingdom will be stored for a full year.