Saturday, 11 November 2017

Muslim activists hack the Isis mailing list hours after terrorists claimed that it was unhackable

Muslim hackers have attacked Isis’s propaganda network and published a list of almost 2,000 subscribers’ email addresses in the latest blow to the online “caliphate”.

After numerous cyber attacks and official takedowns targeting its Amaq “news agency”, Isis issued a message on Friday night claiming it had increased security.

“In response to recent events, we have imposed more stringent security measures on our systems,” said the email in Arabic. “We can now handle email attacks or any type of hack.”

For a Muslim hacking collective called Di5s3nSi0N, which previously disabled the automated email service last month, it was “challenge accepted”. Less than three hours later, another email was sent out to Amaq subscribers, but this time displaying the hackers’ logo and a warning. “We have hacked the full ‘secure’ email list for Amaq,” it said. “Daesh...shall we call you dogs for your crimes or snakes for your cowardice? We are the bugs in your system.”

The email contained a list of 1,784 subscribers’ email addresses, which were partly redacted but have been verified by The Independent.

“Challenge complete – too easy!” Di5s3nSi0N activists wrote on Twitter. “2,000 email subscribers hacked from Amaq...what is next?”

Amaq is one of Isis’s key outlets, issuing claims for international terror attacks as well as updates from battles across the Middle East, Africa and Asia.

Increasing crackdowns forced Amaq’s website to retreat from mainstream platforms to rapidly shifting websites and encrypted messaging services, and its automated email service had been one of the last reliable channels.

At the time of writing, cyber attacks had disabled updates on Amaq’s current website, its Tumblr account was outdated and the only platform it remained able to operate was on the Telegram messaging service.

As Isis territory has been retaken on the ground, seeing Syrian forces push into the last town held by militants this week, governments and activists have been taking on its sophisticated media network.

The Di5s3nSi0N attack was part of the group’s #silencetheswords campaign, which it claims will culminate next week.

It is among the vigilante hacking collectives targeting Isis’ websites and servers, which have continued to relay propaganda to its followers despite a mounting international crackdown.

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