Islamic State issues anti-hacking guidelines as Anonymous launches campaign

Islamic State (IS) anti-hacking guidelines recommend using virtual private networking tools to create encrypted connections and changing IP addresses

Islamic State (IS) has issued guidelines on how to defend against hacking after hacktivist group Anonymous declared “war” in response to the deadly Paris attacks on 13 November 2015.

In a French language video posted online on 16 November, 2015 Anonymous said it would launch its “biggest operation ever” against IS.

Hours later, Anonymous posted a list of around 800 Facebook, Twitter and email accounts believed to be related to IS.

The group opened an #OpParis twitter account to provide updates on its campaign against IS, and so far claims to have shut down more than 6,000 IS-related Twitter accounts. It has also released the names of 9,200 accounts believed to be affiliated with IS.

The move is the latest in the group's anti-IS campaign, called #OpISIS, launched after the Charlie Hebdo attack in Paris on 7 January 2015.

IS has since reportedly issued five points of guidance on how to avoid being hacked through instant messaging app Telegram on the Khilafah news channel.

The guidance was discovered by researchers at the International Centre for the Study of Radicalisation, a London think tank, reported the Telegraph.

The IS guidelines include a recommendation to use virtual private networking (VPN) tools to create encrypted connections and to change IP address frequently.

The guidelines also recommend avoiding clicking on links if the source is not known; avoiding the use of direct messages on Twitter; avoiding the use of email accounts as Twitter user names; and blocking and avoiding talking to unknown contacts on Telegram.

Anonymous attracts criticism

Anonymous has reportedly been criticised for its campaign against IS by French security blogger Oliver Laurelli.

Laurelli told Agence France Presse (AFP) that, although Anonymous' campaign might seem attractive to those with a grievance, it ultimately hinders the efforts of security and intelligence services.

“Young people identify with it and feel they can act but it is counter-productive. It is more embarrassing for the police than anything else,” he is quoted as saying by AFP.

Laurelli was also critical of Twitter’s decision to close down a large number of accounts associated with IS.

“Closing those accounts, as Anonymous has attempted to do, shuts down potential points of investigation for police,” he said.

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