A couple of weeks ago, it was reported that a group of Muslim hackers hacked into the official news website of the so-called Islamic State called Amaq and leaked a list of around 2000 of its subscribers. Now, another group of six Muslim men from Iraq are taking on the terrorist organization by using fake news and pornographic content.
The group calls itself Daeshgram, Daesh is what the terrorist group calls itself in the Arabic language, and gram is taken from the popular social media site Instagram. Although the identities of the group members are anonymous, according to a report, the group includes a student, an engineer and four IT and cybersecurity researchers living in Iraq and fighting ISIS using modern tech.
The group works by first taking note of appearances, activities, and behavior of ISIS members on their website and encrypted application Telegram which is used by its supporters around the world. In one of their feat, the group posted a photoshop image of a naked woman in a porno as an announcement that there will be an opening of a media center in Isis-controlled Syria. A video of ISIS supporters listening to the announcement was altered to appear as if the extremists were actually watching a projection of a naked woman.
It ended up confusing the members and divert their attention from what they all had gathered for. “Our intention was to flood the market with fake Amaq content in order to dilute the credibility of Amaq – a so-called news agency,” Daeshgram told Newsweek.
1. ISIS members debating which website could be the real Amaq one. #ParalyzingAmaq @OpISIS #Daeshgram is creating confusion among #ISIS members about Amaq. pic.twitter.com/FM2ZLFDczS
— Daeshgram (@DaeshGram) November 18, 2017
In another feat, the group uploaded a video to display they had hacked Amaq website. The video looked so authentic that it created panic among the members of the group. In reply, a number of group members had fights between each other; some even removed each other from secret groups where the members discussed plans. Moreover, Daesh ended up telling its members not to trust Amaq links which is a huge success since the website served as a propaganda tool for the organization and is used by its officials to take responsibilities for terrorist attacks around the world.
ISIS's main press site, Amaq website is being hacked. It is surprising how no one mentions it. #ISIS #Syria #Raqqa #KurdistanReferendum pic.twitter.com/AtySpffeH3
— Daeshgram (@DaeshGram) September 20, 2017
“It let Daesh know that we were capable of replicating their media to a very high standard, it was the first seed of doubt. Our output had to be subtle, and believable. We wanted to create items that ISIS members would not question and would share widely—believability was key, as with all fake news,” one of the Daeshgram told The Daily Beast.
In one of the most effective feat by Daeshgram, the group successfully spread the fake audio message on ISIS’s online platforms announcing that its Al-Bayan radio station has been destroyed in an air strike. The message according to TheDailyBeast was downloaded 800 times.
Daeshgram vows to carry on confusing ISIS and hopefully become more sophisticated in future. However, since the group works on its own it also has to look out for itself by keeping its online presence as anonymous as possible.
Previously, WauchulaGhost hacker carried similar attackers on ISIS including defacing their Twitter accounts with pornography and pro-LGBT related content. The online hacktivist group Anonymous, on the other hand, took over ISIS’s official website on the Dark Web and defaced it with viagra advertisement.