These are the ways Anonymous could wage 'war' on ISIS

International hacking collective Anonymous declared war this weekend on ISIS, the extremist militant group that claimed responsibility for the attacks in Paris on November 13 which killed 129 people and left another approximately 350 injured.

In a video released Saturday, a French-speaking member of Anonymous warns ISIS to “expect numerous cyber attacks.” Here is the video in question:

https://youtube.com/watch?v=w49NCXhq0YI

But what are the “cyberattacks” in question? What kind of damage can an online force do to an organisation it wants to attack? Since the Anonymous video doesn’t spell it out, we’ve gathered up some common tactics used by the group in the past, as well as those used by other major hacker collectives.

'Doxxing' members: revealing personal, private information about members of ISIS.

Broderbund

Another popular attack method used by hacking collectives is 'doxxing': the act of releasing personal, private information of specific people, often private citizens. In the case of a group like ISIS, this tactic could be used to expose the personal information of those involved in terrorist activity. This is the kind of information-based warfare that hacking collectives specialize in, which has ripple effects beyond the act itself.

Information obtained from 'doxxing' is often distributed via anonymous, publicly accessible channels like the website Pastebin, or internet forums like 4chan.

'Google Bomb' / 'Googlewashing' searchable terms with links to anti-ISIS websites.

Google

Ever try searching former Pennsylvania Senator Rick Santorum's last name on Google? Go right ahead. We'll wait.

Notice that the first thing that comes up isn't Rick Santorum's Wikipedia entry, or his personal website, but a page explaining the neologism behind the word that was once his last name. This is the very definition of 'Google Bombing' someone: linking en masse to an alternative definition to impact the Google results that come up when someone searches that word.

Google searches, to some extent, depend on users to define where search terms will send them -- more simply, the more websites that return the same information fundamentally alter the search results. If an overwhelming number of websites and users redefine search terms like 'ISIS recruiting' (for example), that could seriously impact the group's ability to easily recruit new members.

Hack accounts: Take over social media accounts used by ISIS.

Twitter
In this image, ISIS hackers overtook United States military account @CENTCOM.

This one may be the most obvious weapon in a hacker collective's arsenal: outright hacking of social media accounts. There are a variety of ways that hackers can take over social media accounts, from social engineering (calling Twitter/Facebook/etc. and pretending to be the account's owner) to side doors (using password retrieval of separate, connected accounts to access social media accounts).

Since ISIS is notorious for using social media to recruit new members, this is a likely course of action for Anonymous.

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