In the wake of the Orlando shooting at a gay nightclub, “hacktivist” group Anonymous has attacked several Twitter accounts linked to the terror group Islamic State In Syria (ISIS). Anonymous has long stood for human rights for all people around the world, using various forms of internet-based attacks against groups it considers tyrannical or impeding upon the free flow of information. Other targets in the past have included Fox News and the Church of Scientology.
The online hacker group adopted its signature white Guy Fawkes mask and black cloak from the movie V For Vendetta, in which a revolutionary nicknamed “V” overthrows the government whilst dressed in that same garb. As Techly.com found, one of the ISIS Twitter accounts that were hit, @gi_h_a_d_35, had its profile picture changed to a gay pride flag while hackers tweeted a message “outing” the account holder as gay.
The Anonymous hacks are a small, but comforting revenge for a shooting at gay nightclub Pulse in Orlando, Florida, that killed 49. Before going on his rampage, shooter Omar Mateen pledged his allegiance to the radical terrorist group, which considers homosexuality a sin. After carrying out the attacks, Mateen took his own life. Anonymous’ Instagram page pointed out that Jarrett Wade, a friend of Mateen’s, wished the shooter “peace” in the afterlife and promised to “finish what he started.” Anonymous has since called for police to arrest Wade.
Hacking Twitter accounts is simply one of the many techniques Anonymous uses to exact revenge on organizations like ISIS and the KKK. The group has also been known for carrying out Direct Denial of Service (DDoS) attacks, which involves overloading a given website with traffic to shut its servers down. These attacks can sometimes overwhelm a server in a matter of hours if there are enough attackers.
The Huffington Post spoke to one of the Anonymous hackers, who goes by the name WauchulaGhost, via email on Wednesday. Ghost stated that he or she used the hacked accounts to “…create confusion” by messaging followers of the hacked ISIS account and revealing his true identity.
Anonymous, as the name implies, uses a variety of tactics to keep their identity almost completely concealed online. Some of these include VPN’s, proxies, and a privacy-first browser called Tor, which allows one to shift IP addresses with the click of a button. ISIS has also been known to use digital tools like social media and the internet to spread propaganda and recruit new followers over time. Homosexuality is largely considered a sin by Islamic extremists such as ISIS.
I am proud to announce that after 14+ hours on the floor, we will have a vote on closing the terror gap & universal background checks— Chris Murphy (@ChrisMurphyCT) June 16, 2016
There have been multiple reactions to the Orlando shootings on all sides of the political aisle. President Obama made an emotional appeal to the nation to increase the toughness of gun laws and institute background checks for those who want to buy guns. Others are calling for more extreme measures, and want to outlaw the purchase of assault rifles by average citizens. Some fear, however, that outlawing guns altogether, or restricting access to them, would leave citizens at the mercy of a continually more militarized police force.
In his speech, Obama also told the nation his plan to defeat ISIS. He promised that America would strike at ISIS’ lifeblood by destroying their sources of funding and undermining their resources, but did not lay out a specific plan for doing so.