One casualty of the Anonymous “war” against ISIS seems to be the website of an innocent academic researcher.
On Monday, Aaron Zelin asked on Twitter that “Anonymous, GhostSec, and other ‘hackers'” stop attacking his website Jihadology, since they were impeding his and others research.
Jihadology, a personal website of Zelin’s that tracks militant groups and often translates their propaganda, apparently came under a denial-of-service (DDoS) attack. A DDoS attack is when a group floods a site with bogus traffic, forcing it to shut down.
“All I know is that I had a difficult time loading or [was] unable to load my website,” Zelin told Tech Insider in an email. “I have gotten similar complaints from others.”
In response to Zelin’s tweet, a user from Ghost Security group told him they were not attacking his site. Zelin however, posted a screenshot from Ghost Security’s own database of submissions, which showed at least 60 reports of content from Jihadology.
— Aaron Y. Zelin (@azelin) November 24, 2015
“We believe in open data and that must have been submitted thru our system anonymously,” tweeted GhostSecPI. “We will look into it.”
The nature of a DDoS attack makes it tough to narrow down exactly who the perpetrator is. But the possibility that Jihadology would get caught up in the anti-ISIS cyberwar “would make sense,” Zelin says.
Zelin’s site isn’t the only research site apparently on Anonymous’ hit list. When the hacker group first released its listing of websites it claimed were in support of ISIS, an academic research site intended to track Russian-speaking foreigners travelling to Syria also made the cut.
“For those too lazy to read my About page, this site is an academic blog that tracks North Caucasian militants in the Middle East,” the researcher, Joanna Paraszczuk, wrote on her site Chechens In Syria.