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Since their formation in 2003, Anonymous, a loosely organized international group of hackers have conducted a series of well-orchestrated cyber attacks on corporations, governments, and individuals. Some of the crusades have been justified and necessary, while others have been viewed as vindictive. But few people have any reservations about their most recent undertaking - To bring down ISIS!
The hackers whose members call them themselves 'Anons' announced their latest target in a video released shortly after the November 13th attacks in Paris. A spokesman wearing the group's signature Guy Fawkes mask warned the militant group to expect massive cyber attacks. Though that may not sound like much of a threat, it could do some damage to the organization. That's because ISIS has been extremely active in enlisting new members through social media sites.
The Anons have also asked people all over the world to help and even released a hacking guide to take down suspicious online accounts. Since their November 18th announcement, the hackers claim to have deleted thousands of ISIS-related Twitter accounts. The accounts are believed to be one of the biggest recruiting tools used the militants.
Many people including members of ISIS who countered with a guide on how to prevent being hacked (it has been taken down since) are skeptical about the effectiveness of the cyber attacks. They do not believe the hacker group can make a big difference especially since the tech-savvy militants can easily set up new accounts.
But Anonymous spokesperson Alex Poucher is confident that their efforts will be successful. In a recent interview, the hactivist said "Our capability to take down ISIS is a direct result of our collective's sophisticated hackers, data miners, and spies that we have all around the world. We have people very, very close to ISIS on the ground, which makes gathering intel about ISIS and related activities very easy for us." Poucher asserts that Anonymous “might be better than any world government's tools to combat ISIS online.”
While the hackers work their magic online, police forces across Europe are attempting to do the same on the ground. Since November 13th, France's elite forces have tracked down and killed the mastermind behind the attacks. There is currently also a continent-wide manhunt for a suspect that is still at large. Additional suspects have been caught in Brussels, and hundreds more have been detained for questioning. Hopefully, the online and ground efforts of these brave, intelligent, and dedicated individuals, will end or at least curb ISIS-related threats.
Meanwhile, Parisians are trying to return to normal life the only way they know - By visiting their favorite cafes, bistros, and museums. Stay strong Paris, the world is with you!
Resources: rt.com,cnn.com, guardian.co.uk