Based on the recent terrorist attack on Paris – France – Anonymous has set out a new operation fighting ISIS by knocking out their online communications lines. They launched the operation on YouTube – like any other operations they’ve launched. Just to name a few operations from current year:
- Operation Charlie Hebdo: shutting down Islāmic terrorism online.
- Operation ICE ISIS: Hunting ISIS, pretty much the same as the current #OpParis/#OPISIS operation(s).
- Operation Death Eaters: collating evidence against international pedophile rings and their severe abuse of children to bring them to justice.
- Operation Stormfront: Attack on the Stormfront website.
- Operation KKK: Outing Ku Klux Klan members.
The operations follow the same format (overly simplified): doxxing, stopping online presence and defacement. Their hearts seem to be at the right place fighting nasty things that lingers in the human culture. Who wouldn’t bring an end on hatred and child abuse? Fighting evil is noble, but are their tactics what the world need? Could it be that Anonymous is causing future problems which is harder to solve? The current operation raises many questions.
One question that must be asked is, how do they pick their targets? Dealing with foreign languages is not necessarily easy. Do Anonymous understand the language(s) involved at all? Anonymous is a loosely organized group – it could very well be that they got people who understand the language their targets is using. There’s also a chance that they don’t. The world doesn’t know since no one knows who’s involved with Anonymous.
The next question, and perhaps the most important, is disrupting communication the best way to bring targets to their knees? It appears that taking down communications channels by exploiting inexperienced tech mindset forces the mindset into professionalism – a natural progression. A quick example: when penetration testers pinpoint security issues, most of these issue gets fixed. There’s a concern that ISIS would seek new and secure ways to communicate – evidence shows they already have. It has been reported that ISIS might have used the Playstation 4 to communicate because it is very hard to decrypt. According to Jester’s Court, ISIS is now looking into the Blackphone, they have even made use of Telegram and other american technologies. There’s little to doubt on the information provided by Mr. Jester.
The third and last question to ask is, do Anonymous know if the target is legit? Taking down ISIS communication channels becomes a risky business if it turns out that some of these social media accounts indeed are set up by foreign governments as honeypots. There’s little to no known evidence that this has happened or that such accounts exists. But, it is a common tactic for penetration testers to set up rogue accounts and devices to extract information. This could very well be set up in a larger scale.
There’s no doubt that Anonymous is fighting this cause using their hearts. The question is, do they fight in affect, thus fails to see the consequences of their actions? That’s an open question I leave you to answer. One thing is for sure, the target will fight back.