It’s Easy if You Join the Cyber War
Imagine you are 18-24 years old, live in the middle east and have been taught to see as your enemy anyone who is not Muslim.
Imagine seeing the United States of America, a country allowing for religious freedom rather than religious indoctrination as enemy number one yet feeling powerless against her due to the country’s military superiority.
And then imagine the internet, leveling the playing field against ‘The Great Satan’, and ask yourself how many hours a day you would spend online waging cyber warfare?
Regardless of the number you believe is accurate, with estimates ranging between 35,000 to 90,000 pro-ISIS tweets per day, apparently the answer is a lot.
As late as 2014, President Obama believed ISIS to be a JV terrorist organization, and to say the administration was caught flat-footed in the cyber caliphate waged by the Islamist State would be an understatement.
Take, for example #BringBackOurGirls, the foreign policy by hashtag used by First Lady Michelle Obama in response to Boko Haram’s kidnapping of 126 school girls in Nigeria.
According to al-Arabia News, ISIS promptly responded by tweeting a photo-shopped image of Mrs. Obama holding a sign with the hashtag #BringBackOurHumvee after taking over the city of Mosul and seizing U.S. made military equipment.
Sadly, the State Department’s attempt to wage an Anti-ISIS social media campaign on Twitter falls equally short. The Twitter feed of Think Again Look Away comes across more like an advertisement for Islamic terrorism than a means of disputing radical Islamic propaganda.
In February 2015 the Obama administration held a summit on violent extremism in an effort to “undermine the attraction of extremist movements and ideologies that seek to promote violence”.
According to the fact sheet released by the White House press office, “CVE efforts address the root causes of extremism through community engagement, including the following programs”:
Building awareness—including briefings on the drivers and indicators of radicalization and recruitment to violence;
Countering extremist narratives—directly addressing and countering violent extremist recruitment narratives, such as encouraging civil society-led counter-narratives online; and
Emphasizing Community Led Intervention—empowering community efforts to disrupt the radicalization process before an individual engages in criminal activity.
The Social Media Solutions section of the fact sheet provides readers with an idea of just how far behind the U.S. is in the cyber war being waged.
Clearly unmoved by President Obama’s community organizing approach to battling Islamic terror and unafraid of U.S. military intervention, ISIS strikes again through social media this weekend by releasing “We Will Burn America”, a graphic video calling for supporters to attack the homeland and promising another 9/11.
Certainly posting the ISIS video on the State Department’s Anti Islamic propaganda @ThinkAgain_DOS twitter account, or starting a #DontBurnAmericaPrettyPleaseISIS hashtag campaign ought to put a stop to the destroy America plan. But as usual, I digress.
In the article ISIS Creates a Ghost, we introduced readers to #GhostSec, a prominent faction of the group known as Anonymous equally unmoved by the United States military response to ISIS and its inability to successfully engage in the cyber caliphate being waged by the Islamic terrorist group.
While President Obama prefers “countering violent extremist recruitment narratives…by encouraging civil society-led counter-narratives”, #GhostSec prefers results.
WayneDupree.com reached out to a member of #GhostSec for more information about #OpISIS and the results of the operation thus far. According to @DigitaShadow #OpISIS is comprised of #GhostSec, responsible for destroying ISIS servers and websites; and #CtrlSec responsible for destroying ISIS social media accounts. Thus far hundreds of websites with suspected ISIS ties have been identified; 233 have been taken offline, and 85 have been permanently destroyed. #CtrlSec is responsible for terminating 25,000 Twitter accounts to date.
Although #OpISIS is having much success, ISIS has thousands working on its behalf to replace social media accounts and websites being destroyed by #GhostSec, #CtrlSec, and #Anonymous. According to, @DigitaShadow, this battle will be long, and “cannot be won without the people’s involvement, each can make a huge difference.”
So what can you do to help support #OpISIS, even if, like me, you possess zero technology skills. According to #GhostSec anyone armed with a laptop can join the cyber fight against ISIS by doing the following:
1.) Report ISIS accounts to @Twitter, @Support or send the Twitter handle to #GhostSec or @CtrlSec
2.) Begin your search for ISIS social media accounts. According to @DigitaShadow, “ISIS members are very proud people, and tend to display their ISIS affiliation in their social media profiles”. Once identified, report through the social media reporting mechanism or send the information to #GhostSec.
3.) Remember ISIS uses sites other than Twitter to spread their propaganda and to recruit such as Instagram, Facebook, YouTube and Kik.
4.) Don’t stop at account identification, check the account followers for social media accounts and websites supporting ISIS or used to recruit.
5.) Report any websites suspected of ties to ISIS to #GhostSec. They will investigate the site and add to the list of targets.
6.) Search Twitter hashtags for #GhostSec, #CtrlSec, #OpISIS; and re-tweet results of the operation to help garner support for the group and increase awareness of the operation.
7.) Most importantly, DO NOT BE DISCOURAGED! Get involved, and stay involved because it will be a long fight.
Now, imagine through technology being on equal footing militarily with a country or ideology intending to destroy the United States.
Imagine the United State’s first line of defense in the cyber war on terror is a government incapable of launching a health insurance quoting website with a $1.7 Billion dollar budget and with over three years to build it.
Imagine you are an American of any age, and armed with a laptop.
Imagine nameless, faceless volunteers waging and succeeding in the cyber war against ISIS on your behalf.
And then ask yourself how many hours you are willing to spend to support #GhostSec and #OpISIS.