Ghost Security Group Criticise Anonymous’ ‘crude’ Methods

Image courtesy of Stian Eikeland

Online collective Anonymous has received criticism from its breakaway Ghost Security Group (GSG) for its methods in waging ‘cyber warfare’ with so-called Islamic State (IS).

In a marked difference to the group from which it was conceived GSG have emphasised their role as supplementary to and supportive of law enforcement bodies. They have also publicised a change of tact in their methods to tackle IS on the digital warfront.

Following the devastating terrorist attacks in Paris Anonymous announced it would be declaring ‘war’ on IS through various internet operations. These techniques include:

  • Conventional hacks and Doxxing. Sensitive Information is obtained by gaining access to systems and accounts and then disseminated through public channels.
  • Distributed Denial of Service (DDoS) strikes. These are essentially digital sit-ins that take services and websites offline by repeated globally distributed access requests.
  • Social Media Hacks. Gaining access to social media accounts and shutting them down or controlling them.

Now breakaway group GSC have criticised Anonymous for their ‘unsophisticated’ tactics in dealing with IS. They say that Anonymous’ DDoS attacks and other debilitating techniques are a ‘crude’ way of combating the terrorist group online.

Rather than shutting down web pages and services GSG opt to gain access and monitor communications before passing information on to relevant security services. In doing so the group claim to have prevented several terrorist attacks, although these currently cannot be corroborated.

In an interview with IBT the group’s executive director said:

“To actually combat terrorism on a real scale it involves coordinating efforts with United States and other nation’s governments to actually prevent attacks from taking place. When we collect data that may be prove to be useful in saving human lives and result in the capture of extremists this data is useless without close relationships with government officials. Simply put we have the data and they have the means to act on it”

It remains to be seen if GSG claims may be verified, or if indeed they may have any effect in combatting a terrorist threat. What is sure though is that we are living in a world in which the digital realm is becoming increasingly important to our real lives. Waging digital warfare effectively then may play an increasingly integral part in the way in which conflicts are fought.