Are ISIS hackers trying to take down the internet? An Islamic State app commonly used by the terrorist group might be the cause of a significant hack on the core operating infrastructure that took place in early December, according to cyber security experts.
The ISIS Amaq Agency app could feasibly have been behind the bot used to initiate a “distributed denial of services,” or a DDos attack, on root server names earlier this month. Some cyber security experts claim that if a similar and more powerful attack occurs in the future not only could a massive disruption of service happen, but the entire internet could temporarily be taken offline.
ISIS to unleash up to 400 MILLION jihadi hackers on West in attack worse than NUCLEAR WAR https://t.co/U2Ij9wIk1z
— FTSN Mainstream News (@ftsnnewsdeskm) December 17, 2015
In our technology-dependent world, taking down the internet for only a short amount of time would have a devastating effect. Commerce would grind to a screeching halt, surveillance cameras at many government buildings and banks would stop functioning, and communications would cease for many Americans who no longer possess old-fashioned landlines in their homes.
As the Hillary Clinton email scandal has taught us, even high-ranking government officials use the internet to share sensitive information. The FBI investigation into whether or not the Democratic presidential hopeful used a personal and not a government email account to view classified information is still ongoing. Regardless of the ultimate findings, the scandal alerted many Americans to the fact that federal officials utilize the internet to share important reports and information. Disrupting the functions of the United States government would cause the Islamic State leaders to rejoice and publicize any material they could gain access to in the process.
— Daily Mirror (@DailyMirror) December 16, 2015
The internet cyber attack tentatively attributed to ISIS hackers occurred between November 30 and December 1, according to MSN. Notable hackers, cybersecurity experts, and members of the Anonymous “hacktivist” community agree that ISIS hackers used the Amaq Agency smartphone app to intentionally target a total of 13 root name servers that are reportedly at the heart of internet infrastructure.
According to Anonymous hacktivists, the Amaq Agency app appears to be the most likely cause of the cyber attack that flooded internet servers with about five million queries each second during the attack’s peak. The hacking experts believe that it only took around 18,000 smartphones running the ISIS app at the same time to generate the massive amount of internet traffic needed to disrupt the system.
— Scot (s) land (@scotsvote) December 16, 2015
“I feel certain that the IS news app was the source of the DDoS attack. One of my researchers has discovered encrypted packets being sent to the Amaq Agency news app,” cyber security expert and anti-virus software creator John McAfee said during an interview with the International Business Times UK. “We found the 13 Root Server Addresses in the app memory while the app was running. The addresses did not appear inside the static app. The addresses therefore had to be decrypted at run time. Why would they encrypt the addresses inside the app unless they were trying to hide the true purpose of the app? This is the smoking gun we were looking for.”
The ISIS Amaq Agency app is believed to have been developed by technology experts at the Islamic State headquarters in Raqqa. The smartphone app was created as a means to spread the group’s propaganda, the Express reports. British hacker Junaid Hussain may have been involved with ISIS cyber hackers group and could have helped to design the easy-to-use distributed denial of service bot to attack specific websites and the internet.
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