The Islamic State of Iraq and Syria’s online platform, Amaq, has been hacked and shut down by a group of Muslim activists by the name Di5s3nSi0N.
The group of hackers has been in a trail of hacking ISIS websites and leaving a message to their followers.
A Global Rise
The Islamic State of Iraq and Syria, also known as Daesh, the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant, and the Islamic State, is a jihadist group that has been fighting to push their agenda around the globe.
Their activities throughout the world have been condemned as they result in the deaths of numerous people over the years since their inception.
Since their rise in the regions surrounding Syria, the group has tried with all of their effort to expand their doctrine to neighboring countries. It has led to the destruction of the country’s economy, creating a high number of refugees fleeing from the group’s reign.
Members have been generating their funds from crude oil processing and other illegal activities. They also get supplied with ammunition and firearms, making it difficult for the fighting armies to mitigate their actions.
The group is popularly known as Daesh by the people who live in the affected regions.
Their violent acts have lately been felt abroad far beyond their place of origin, as they have recruited people from all over the world.
Their sophisticated nature has led the Iraqi army to evolve their tactics of attacking and retaking control of the captured cities. In the process of retaking cities, the number of casualties has been high enough to warrant the international community intervening.
Countries like Russia, Turkey, China, the United States of America, France, and many others have taken their troops to Syria to offer tactical support to the nation’s military.
Most of the fights have been via airstrike to attempt to minimize the number of casualties on the governments’ sides by having as few personnel on the ground as possible.
According to reports by humanitarian groups, the amount of civilian casualties caused by the use of airstrikes has reached an alarming level.
Although the use of airstrikes has been seen as an effective measure to eliminate Daesh personnel and leadership in the region, the number of casualties has been devastating.
Daesh and Social Media
Due to the high number of Daesh members being eliminated, their leaders have developed a new way of recruiting more members from the globe.
They entice people to travel to regions in the Middle East—namely Syria—with their political influence, calling them to fight for the group’s ideology.
Meanwhile, genuine Muslim leaders abroad have come out to defend their faith and clarify their non-association with the Daesh faction in any form while denouncing the group and their actions.
Social media providers like Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, WhatsApp and other accounts have been a victim of the Daesh menace. This is only because they don’t have a clear distinction between the civilian and Daesh member while opening account.
WhatsApp, Twitter and Facebook remain the most widely exploited due to the large audience they are likely to reach with minimal effort.
Daesh members have exploited the end-to-end encryption in their communications, which has stirred a debate on end-to-end encryption itself.
The policies made on domestic surveillance in nations like the United States and United Kingdom have made it even more difficult for government cyber security personnel to counter and intercept Daesh communications, with their actions largely relying on those who are contacted to report it.
Amaq Hacked and Taken Over
The Daesh organization also has a news agency by the name Amaq, which has hundreds of subscribers globally. The site is used to push the group’s propaganda agenda forward to as many people as possible.
But a group of hackers with origins from Muslim-dominated countries have come together to pull resources and launch a series of attacks on Daesh websites and other platforms.
Although the security organizations do not recognize the group, they have been the forefront of fighting the cyberwar against the Daesh organization.
Di5s3nSi0N is the group of hackers who have given Daesh a sleepless time in all of their PR and cyber activities.
The hackers took over the news agency and exposed all of the emails belonging to the subscribers.
It was seen as a big blow to the terrorist group, as they had initially bragged of the enhanced security features used by their news agency system, which was claimed to be impenetrable.
They were quoted saying that they were able to deal with any form of cyber attack or even email attack.
Hours after Amaq was attacked, the hackers went ahead to post on the website that they had taken control of the site, which was evident by the fact that they even had their logo posted on the site after the takeover.
The hacking and control of Amaq, being a significant outlet used by Daesh members, was seen as a big blow to group as they are not able to directly communicate with their subscribers. The website has been used in the past to claim international acts of violence.
One of the consequences of the hack is that the organization has had to convince their email subscribers of their safety from hackers.
All this is seen as a game of PSYOPS, as the hackers exposed their emails to the public.
According to the hackers, Di5s3nSi0N, they claim the hacking took them less effort than Daesh had claimed. The group of hackers view this event as a significant milestone in trying to mute and destroy the organization’s propaganda.
Daesh, on the other hand, has found an alternative way of communicating with their members globally. They have taken advantage of features like the end-to-end encryption on WhatsApp, although it’s not entirely adequate to reach as many of their members as possible.
Furthermore, the group has also been cited using Telegram as their online platform and messaging service.
This comes as ISIS continues to suffer from the loss of the battle on the ground in Syria due to the continued air and ground attacks by the combined military forces.
Di5s3nSi0N has also been in the lead to educate the society of their activities in order to get support from them.
Their campaign hashtag #silencetheswords has received notice on social media as well.
Although Amaq has been taken down, the Daesh group maintains high ambitions to continue with their activities in claiming a presence in their region.
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