Analyzing Cyber Capabilities of the ISIS

Pierluigi Paganini April 30, 2016

The data intelligence firm Flashpoint has published an interesting report that explore the cyber capabilities of the ISIS radical group.

In the last days of April, Flashpoint a global leader in Deep and Dark Web data and intelligence published a report that is dedicated to the analysis of cyber capabilities of the ISIS with the title of “Hacking for ISIS: The Emergent Cyber Threat Landscape.

ISIS cyber capabilities report

Hacking attacks in support of the Islamic State have piqued the attention of the world and escalate the publicity of the terror group. In spite of the launched hacking attacks, the overall capabilities are neither advanced nor do they demonstrate sophisticated targeting.

During the past two years that ISIS has been growing, at least five different pro-ISIS hacking group launched cyber-attacks in favor of the Islamic State.
According to techworm, on April 4, 2016, Cyber Caliphate Army (CCA), ISIS’s main hacking unit, and other pro-ISIS groups like the Sons Caliphate Army (SCA) and Kalacnikov.TN (KTN) merged and formed The United Cyber Caliphate (UCC). These pro-ISIS activities are still poorly organized and likely under-resourced and have not been neither officially acknowledged nor claimed by ISIS itself.

Most of the claimed attacks by the pro-ISIS hackers are beginner level and opportunistic such as exploiting known vulnerabilities to compromise websites. These pro-ISIS actors have launched attacks chiefly on government, banking, and media targets, so far, but researchers at Flashpoint expect as growing to maturity, they keep targeting financial institution.

The IS is not explicitly attempted to recruit sophisticated hackers, but its followers can broaden their knowledge and skills through hacking courses, tools, and guidance available in Deep & Dark Web forums. Pro-ISIS cyber actors are likely to download hacking tools from publicly available sources while also utilizing both off-the-shelf and custom malware.

On Monday, the UCC published a new kill list featuring 43 names linked to the U.S. State Department, the DHS, and other federal agencies on the messaging app Telegram, Vocativ reported.

Whilst the current cyber capabilities of the IS are not sophisticated, it won’t remain the same and could change quickly. “There is clear evidence that they are growing in number, coalescing in rank, and zooming in on American and other Western targets,” Alkhouri told SecurityWeek.

The report published by Flashpoint can be downloaded from their website through the link below:

About the Author

Ali Taherian on ISIS cyber capabilitesAli Taherian (@ali_taherian) is an enthusiastic information security Officer. He’s finished his education in information security and has recently been involved in banking software and payment security industry. Taherian is proud to be certified IBM Cloud Computing Solution Advisor and ECSA and enjoys sharing and tweeting about security advances and news.

Edited by Pierluigi Paganini

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Pierluigi Paganini

(Security Affairs – ISIL, terrorism)

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