False Flags: The Kremlin’s Hidden Cyber Hand

The Islamic State’s hacking army doesn’t actually work  for ISIS—It’s part of the secret Russian online espionage effort against the West.

For two years the so-called Cyber Caliphate has been the online weapon brandished by the Islamic State against its enemies. Its hacking offensive, including aggressive use of social media, made front-page news around the world, heralding a new front in that murderous group’s worldwide jihad against “infidels.”

Pledging support to ISIS, the Cyber Caliphate hacked and defaced U.S. Government websites and social media feeds, including those of Central Command, the Pentagon’s Middle East headquarters. Numerous smaller cyber-attacks followed. They also hacked into Department of Defense databases and posted the personal information of 1,400 American military affiliates online.

The Cyber Caliphate has attacked targets in many countries, including allegedly accessing top secret emails belonging to senior British government officials. The most public of their attacks was the April 2015 hijacking of several feeds belonging to the French channel TV5Monde, which included defacing its website with the slogan “Je suis ISIS.” This assault, seen by millions of people worldwide, gave the group the notoriety it craved.

The American-led coalition against ISIS has taken the Cyber Caliphate threat seriously, devoting significant intelligence resources to tracking and studying the group. Western fears increased this April with the announcement that disparate ISIS hackers were merging, creating a new United Cyber Caliphate, designed to be a major expansion of the existing Cyber Caliphate. Drawing together jihadist hackers from many countries, this would constitute a major online threat.

Read the rest at The Observer …