Following last Friday’s terror attacks in Paris, French President Francois Hollande wasn’t the only one declaring war on ISIS. (OF COURSE it wasn’t President Obama.) The hacker group Anonymous also declared war on ISIS — and since then, the group has been shutting down ISIS accounts on social media, as well as arming the rest of us with tools to join the fight.
ISIS previously responded with a rather junior high level response, calling Anonymous hackers “idiots.”
Now, however, ISIS is upping the ante, promising to become “owners of the virtual world.”
Via Business Insider:
A propaganda account affiliated with ISIS has released another statement related to the hacking collective Anonymous’ declaration of “war” on the terrorists, proclaiming themselves the “owners of the virtual world.”A channel for ISIS hackers on the messaging app Telegram — which is popular with ISIS (also known as the Islamic State) and other terrorist groups — sent out a message notifying its members to “unite [their] profile pictures on Twitter” with an image of a black shoe print on the French flag. Here are images of ISIS’ sick twist to the French flag campaign on social media, courtesy of The Daily Mail:
The message came days after Anonymous threatened to launch its “biggest operation ever” against the group, which apparently includes trying to shut down thousands of pro-ISIS Twitter accounts.
While sick and twisted — which is exactly what you’d expect from the likes of ISIS — the social media profile campaign isn’t exactly frightening. What is potentially more worrisome is what ISIS is promising still to come.
Following the message advising ISIS hackers to change their profile pictures on Twitter, the Telegram channel sent a message in Arabic that promised a further response to Anonymous.
Rachel Bryson, a researcher at the Quilliam Foundation who studies ISIS propaganda, read the message and described its contents to Business Insider.
The post “states that there will be something coming and that we should stay tuned and watch out as [ISIS] declares themselves as the owners of the virtual world,” Bryson said in an email.
“I don’t know if it is literally declaring virtual war on Anonymous, but it is promising a response — which can easily be declared ‘war.’ They are definitely trying to taunt Anonymous with this … but writing a post is easy, it’s doing a strong response that will be the thing to watch for.”
I’m sure we can all imagine lots of frightening scenarios of what ISIS taking over “the virtual world” could possibly look like. And, I would imagine, the group Anonymous is conjuring up and doing its best to prepare for these worst case scenarios.
Wish I had half as much confidence in our own government.
[Note: This article was written by Michelle Jesse, Associate Editor]