“Anonymous sends our deepest condolences to anyone who has lost [loved] ones due to these recent attacks.” – Anonymous on pastebin

ISIS has brought a new problem to the desks of officials in the military and government: how do you fight an enemy that builds its ranks and spreads its propaganda using the Internet? Joby Warrick, Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist, speaks to this exact difficulty in the below video:

In a March 2015 report, the International Center for Counter-Terrorism called the rise of ISIS a “cyber jihad.” The report stated close to 20,000 people from 90 countries have joined ISIS in Iraq and Syria because they were “spurred in part by large-scale jihadist propaganda” transmitted via the Internet and social media.

While governments continue to debate the best strategy for fighting our greatest enemy, there is one international group that has had some success in slowing down ISIS' momentum, and that’s Anonymous.

Immediately following the Paris attacks, Anonymous pledged to combat ISIS with “major cyber attacks,” such as taking down secret websites designed to recruit members and revealing members of ISIS.  

You can watch the official video statement, in French with English subtitles, here:

The ongoing strategy to fight ISIS is straightforward and similar to Anonymous’ recent #OpKKK #HoodsOff movement, which revealed the names, social media accounts, cities, and other private information for KKK members nationwide.

Phase one of #OpISIS involves information gathering to determine what websites are designed to recruit members to ISIS and who on social media is associated with ISIS. 

Phase two focuses on publishing this information once it is vetted and verified and then taking down as many ISIS websites and accounts as possible.

“We are furious with the repeated slaughter of innocent citizens in the name of a [peaceful] religion, you clearly don't respect you beliefs,” writes Anonymous in a message to ISIS on pastebin, “and you clearly have no respect for human life...We are coming to get you, we will be hitting you harder than ever.”

Some lists have already surfaced – including this list of ISIS twitter accounts and a list of Islamic State CloudFlare addresses for Anonymous to target.

Hacking into and taking down CloudFlare sites isn’t as easy as a typical website as the CloudFare hosting system is part of the Deep Web – an area of the Internet designed to be untraceable, even for the Pentagon.

Through tools like TOR (a browser that bounces communications around the world thus keeping anyone from knowing where the user is located), ISIS leaders can become basically invisible from the U.S. military and intelligence community. However, for a community for like Anonymous, this area of the Internet is known territory.

“We do this as a free service to not only the USA but to all countries of the world,” stated a member of GhostSec (short for GhostSecurity), an affiliate of the Anonymous hacker collective. “Ghost Security’s mission is to eliminate the online presence of the Islamic State extremist group.”

According to The Epoch Times:

Over the last several months, GhostSec claims it has taken out close to 60,000 ISIS social media accounts…and shut down 100 ISIS websites used for recruitment, spreading propaganda, and planning attacks. They also quietly monitor many terrorist websites, including those hidden in the Deep Web.

GhostSec has leaked lists of some of its targets, including IP addresses where the websites are hosted. A recent leak included a list of 791 Twitter accounts, 11 Facebook pages, and 52 emails used by ISIS members and supporters. Epoch Times was able to independently verify some of the information.

To date, hacktivists in Anonymous claim “to have dismantled some 149 Islamic State-linked websites and flagged roughly 101,000 Twitter accounts and 5,900 propaganda videos.”

Anonymous also took credit for destroying the radicalization website Ansar-AlHaqq.net after the Charlie Hebdo attacks in January.

The #OpParis Twitter account (@opparisofficial) states it has already taken down more than 3,000 pro-Islamic State Twitter accounts, and it’s just getting started.

Prior to the Paris attacks, Facebook briefly took down the Anonymous Facebook group “Report ISIS Accounts” (without any justification), but the page – with over 4,000 members -has now been restored.

Anonymous has also published a "how to" guide for identifying Twitter accounts associated with ISIS.

When it comes to waging war against ISIS, the United States has already determined the typical route of action – be it boots on the ground or drone strikes – is not affective. When a terror group excels at creating secret websites to recruit members world-wide (even in the United States), it becomes clear that disrupting their method of communication will significantly diminish the power and influence of this group, and might actually lead to stopping future terrorist attacks. 

If you want to join the crusade, here are step-by-step instructions on how to become part of Anonymous: http://pastebin.com/Lq8GNYR5

Need a refresher course on who Anonymous is and how the group evolved? Anthropologist Gabriella Coleman spent six years studying and communicating with the hacktivist group. She discusses their evolution from internet hell-raising trolls to an activist force exposing corruption around the world in this video:

If you want to know how Anonymous is doing in their cyber war against ISIS, follow #OpISIS and #OpParis on Twitter - we've also posted some of the most recent activity below.  #StayVigilant


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