A Self-Proclaimed ISIS Fan Is Hacking Local News Outlets

A hacker going by the name Cyber Caliphate hijacked the Twitter feed of the Albuquerque Journal earlier today, posting documents the individual claimed to have stolen off of the newspaper’s database. Cyber Caliphate also commandeered the Twitter feed of a television station in Salisbury, Maryland, posting additional documents that the hacker claimed to have taken documents from an FBI server.

Cyber Caliphate also defaced a page on the Albuquerque Journal’s website late last month.

The hacker replaced both the Journal and WBOC’s banner images on Twitter with this image, suggesting that the hacker is a supporter of the Islamic State, the jihadist group that now controls a Belgium-sized slice of Iraq and Syria:

On a personal Twitter account, Cyber Caliphate linked to a post on Pastebin that included three links to websites hosting “confidential documents,” including one hosted on Gulfup.com, a file upload site that ISIS supporters have used before and whose registrant is based in Saudi Arabia. The Pastebin page included a warning specifically aimed at the people of Albuquerque:

It is unknown at the moment whether Cyber Caliphate has any actual connection to ISIS. It’s also possible that the hacker is claiming an ISIS affiliation in order to distract from his actual identity and motives.

If the attack is in any way linked with ISIS or its sympathizers, it would signal a disruptive new tactic for the group: going after perhaps lightly-guarded servers and using soft targets like social media accounts to spread personal or otherwise sensitive information.

For instance, the hacker used the Journal’s Twitter page and its nearly 20,000 followers to post arrest records, addresses, phone numbers, and other sensitive personal information, along with documents from local and federal law enforcement — all while claiming a jihadist motivation:

ISIS has been active in the cyber sphere before, and has waged malware attacks against the web presence of Syrian organisations opposed to the jihadist group.

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