Anonymous promises retribution for Paris attacks

Anonymous says its members are better hackers than IS
Anonymous says its members are better hackers than IS

The hacker group, Anonymous, has declared war on IS, or Daesh as it is commonly known in Arabic, following the devastating attacks in Paris on Friday.

More than 130 people were killed and scores serious injured by Daesh supporters in a series of coordinated attacks against restaurants and music venues.

According to intelligence agencies, groups like Daesh use social media and the internet to recruit new fighters, raise funds, spread their propaganda and plan and coordinate attacks.

In September, it was reported that ISIL – another name for Daesh or IS – had even threatened to launch a cyber- attack against the UK in retaliation for a drone attack on an IS fighter in Syria.

Anonymous, synonymous with a brand of anti-establishment, anti-government hacktivism, has recently turned its attention to terrorist groups, vowing to disable their websites, take down their social media accounts and expose their members.

Anonymous, as it has done with previous campaigns, has released a video on YouTube and warned Daesh, “You should know that we will find you and we will not let you go”.

The group went on to threaten Daesh, saying, “Expect massive cyber-attacks. War is declared. Get prepared.”

“We will launch the biggest operation ever against you,” Anonymous said. “The French people are stronger than you and will come out of this atrocity even stronger.”

This is not the first time Anonymous has gone up against Daesh. In January, following the attack on the offices of the satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo, the online activist group promised much of the same retribution. Anonymous claims to have successfully disabled a number of Daesh websites and social networks as a result of that campaign.

Some industry commentators have poured scorn on Anonymous's objectives, such as security writer Colin Anderson.

The common theme that seems to run across these comments is Daesh wouldn't particularly miss it if their websites were down due to a DDoS attack, or if their Twitter/Instagram accounts were temporarily unavailable.

However, in an interview with PR Week, Chris Calland, senior account director at Hanover Communications said that Daesh releasing horrific videos is a calculated move used to "... rally their recruits by demonstrating their seriousness”.

Speaking to Vice News last summer, Dinah Alobeid, a spokesperson for social analytics company Brandwatch said that 'Whether or not their social media presence is exactly reflective of their numbers and power, ISIS have commandeered a great deal of online space.” 

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