Hacktivist group Anonymous said they have shut down the main ISIS forum, which the terrorist organization used for its primary online communications.
While the forum is not the only means of communication on the web, it does allow the terror group to publish propaganda videos, information, and guides on how to carry out attacks.
“It’s a shock to their system,” said Rachel Bryson, a researcher at the Quilliam Foundation who specializes in Islamic State messaging. “But it won’t impact the spread of jihadist propaganda in the long run.”
Bryson added that even if Anonymous managed to cripple all ISIS forums online at once, the jihadist group would likely find a way to rebuild them.
Following the Paris terror attacks, Anonymous vowed to turn the majority of their efforts towards dismantling the “Islamic Cyber Army” and unmask the identities of ISIS supporters.
— Libertatio (@Libertatio) November 18, 2015
In what some may view as Anonymous’ first major strike against the so called Islamic State, the group claimed to have taken actions that led to the suspension of 5,500 Twitter accounts affiliated with the terror group.
The hacktivist group’s recent victories has riled some ISIS sympathizers and even caused some to vow revenge against the online collective.
“What will you hack? And what will you achieve?” fumed one supporter in a lengthy rant. “You are so stupid, they don’t know that they opened the gates to hell for themselves…we didn’t lie when we said that ISIS is owning the virtual world…the next day will prove.”
Some analysts have said Anonymous attacks could force ISIS and its sympathizers to use other platforms, which could pose a problem for authorities in tracking the terror group’s online activities.
In response to the hacktivists actions, ISIS has moved most of its propaganda and bomb-making instructions to the dark net, making it accessible through special web browsers. The group has also taken to cloud-based services like Telegram, which allows users to send encrypted messages.
“We keep seeing them migrating across different platforms,” Bryson said. “I don’t think by shutting down a current means of communication will mean the Islamic State fails. It’s not key to defeating them.”