- The Washington Times - Wednesday, February 11, 2015

The hacking group “Anonymous” on Tuesday took credit for shutting down hundreds of social media accounts linked to Islamic State sympathizers.

Last month, the group of “hacktivists” declared a cyberwar against the digital jihadists after the deadly terrorist attack on French satirical newspaper Charlie Hebdo last month. The hacking campaign is called “Operation ISIS” or #OpISIS, Fox News reported.

Hackers say they exposed or destroyed nearly 800 Twitter accounts, 12 Facebook pages and over 50 email addresses linked with Islamic State supporters, CNN reported.

“We will hunt you, take down your sites, accounts, emails and expose you,” the hackers said on YouTube. “From now on, there [will be] no safe place for you online — you will be treated like a virus, and we are the cure. We own the Internet.”

The hack could prove detrimental to the Islamist militants’ online propaganda efforts. The terrorist group has heavily used social media to recruit new fighters, issue threats and post videos of its executions.

A group of Islamic State Sympathizers calling themselves the “Cyber Caliphate” has carried out several high profile Twitter hackings in recent weeks, including breaches of the U.S. Central Command, Newsweek magazine and a Military Spouse’s group Twitter profiles.

Anonymous’ hacking apparently irked at least one Islamic State sympathizer who threatened to kill members of the group if the hacks continued, The International Business Times reported.

The Anonymous hacking group has typically been on the negative spectrum of media attention and has been credited with strategic cyberattacks on governments and businesses. But the group is now being praised for its efforts to combat the cyber jihadists. News of the hack was featured on the front page of British Newspaper The Sun, with the headline, “The Digilantes.”

Anonymous hackers identify themselves as a multiethnic group consisting of Muslims, Christians and Jews.

• Kellan Howell can be reached at khowell@washingtontimes.com.

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