Interpol, Group-IB Unmask Pro-ISIS Hackers

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Interpol has teamed up with Russian security firm Group-IB in an effort to identify the members of a pro-ISIS hacker group that has taken credit for many website defacements and distributed denial-of-service (DDoS) attacks.

The group, calling itself the United Islamic Cyber Force (UICF), has carried out numerous attacks since January 2014. It has contributed to hacktivist campaigns such as OpFrance, which included attacks on the TV5Monde TV station and Notepad++, OpIsrael, OpIndia, Operation Free Palestine and Operation Free Al-Aqsa.

According to Group-IB, UICF has had over the years at least 40 members who were connected to over 60 pro-Islamic hacker groups from around the world. The security firm has traced the online monikers used by UICF hackers to individuals in Indonesia, Pakistan, Morocco, Algeria, Nigeria, India and Kosovo.

United Islamic Cyber Force (UICF) defacement

Using the aliases and email addresses posted by the hackers on the websites they defaced, researchers managed to identify several individuals allegedly involved with UICF.

“Their low level of technical training, a sense of impunity and excessive ambitions cause hacktivists not to pay due attention to their own security, despite the various instructions for ensuring anonymity popular in their milieu,” said Dmitry Volkov, Group-IB co-founder and head of the company’s threat intelligence department. “Information published by the hacktivists helped us a great deal in our investigations.”

The email addresses and aliases were linked by Group-IB to personal websites and social media profiles that appear to have been registered using the hackers’ real names.

The security firm’s report includes censored pictures, social media accounts, and redacted phone numbers and email addresses allegedly belonging to members of the hacker group.

“From their profiles, none of the hacktivists from the United Islamic Cyber Force looks like professional cybercriminals who attack banks, government institutions or strategic infrastructure facilities,” Group-IB said in its report. “They are yesterday’s schoolchildren and students, with a limited life experience, easily amenable to someone else’s influence. Their goal is not to steal money, but publicity – coverage of their actions by the world media.”

SecurityWeek has reached out to Interpol to find out if it plans on taking any action against the individuals identified by Group-IB, but the law enforcement agency did not respond by the time of publication.

Related: Pro-ISIS Hackers Compromise U.S. CENTCOM Twitter, YouTube Accounts

Related: Europol Probing IS Setting Up of Social Network

Related: ISIS Cyber Capabilities Weak, Poorly Organized

Related: Pro-ISIS Hacking Group Continues Defacement Campaign

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Eduard Kovacs is an international correspondent for SecurityWeek. He worked as a high school IT teacher for two years before starting a career in journalism as Softpedia’s security news reporter. Eduard holds a bachelor’s degree in industrial informatics and a master’s degree in computer techniques applied in electrical engineering.

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