Rogue Hackers May Hurt ISIS More Than Anonymous
Ghost Security Group's Aim: Spying for Intelligence Instead of Forced Shutdowns
By Jenn Gidman,  Newser Staff
Posted Nov 23, 2015 2:07 PM CST
A rogue group is going after Twitter—and it's not Anonymous.   (Twitter)

(Newser) – Anonymous is making good on its threats to launch a "cyber war" on ISIS, hacking into the group's sites and accounts and warning people about possible attacks. But there's a smaller group that says Anonymous is going about it the wrong way—and claims that its own methods are more effective, the BBC reports. "They [Anonymous] don't have any counterterrorism experience whatsoever," the executive director of Ghost Security Group scoffed to the BBC in a phone interview. GSG—made up of volunteer counterterrorism and computer experts, some of whom used to belong to Anonymous and who say they put in an average of 16 hours a day, per CNNMoney—operates mainly by checking out purported ISIS member social-media accounts and snooping on message boards, then sharing info it gathers with law enforcement, the BBC notes. That methodology contrasts with Anonymous' preferred method of launching distributed denial-of-service attacks that take jihadi websites offline.

"I don't think DDoS attacks do a huge amount of damage to Islamic State," the GSG director notes. He tells the Boston Herald that "if they don't listen to us within a week, we shut ... down [suspected terror websites] by force. [But] anything with intelligence value, we leave intact." The group says it helped stop a follow-up attack to this summer's Tunisian beach massacre by monitoring Twitter, per the BBC. The security firm CEO who's the middleman between GSG and authorities tells the broadcaster that "these people have saved lives." An Anonymous member offered a virtual eye-roll at the GSG being in bed with the law, telling the BBC its own shutdown method "stops [ISIS] from recruiting young kids that have no place to go or people [who] are sick in the head." But the GSG director says, "We can't do anything with that data unless we work with the US government. They have the guns and the boots on the ground [to] disrupt terrorist operations." (ISIS has a menacing message for Anonymous.)