Violence. Extremism. Hate. The three main pillars of the IS terrorist machine.
The jihadist group, better known locally as Daech, became more internationally recognized in 2014 after taking control over large swathes of territory in Syria and Iraq.
It has displaced thousands of civilians, killing hundreds in the process. It has terrorized several nations, both online and offline, in the Middle East and the West.
Daech’s name has become synonymous with brutality, beheadings, abductions, mass killings, human trafficking and slavery.
While a U.S.-led coalition has vowed to destroy it, some have launched their own war against the group.
Enter tech giants
By observing their behavior via a combination of Google’s search advertising algorithms and YouTube, particularly through certain videos targeting those who have shown an interest in extremist material.
Prior to Google, you had Twitter – which shut down over 125,000 accounts on the social media platform in 2015 “for threatening or promoting terrorist acts, primarily related to ISIS.”
But, it’s not just the tech-giants
A group of ordinary people have been fighting the extremist group by hacking into ISIS’ accounts. These “hacktivists” fight virtually, with an aim to impede the spread of extremist propaganda.
One such hacktivist decided to alter ISIS’ social media accounts … by sending pro-LGBT messages on Twitter.
A hacker who goes by the name ‘WauchulaGhost’ has been targeting ISIS’ social media accounts for around 18 months – an operation he started after the gay night club shooting in Orlando, Florida, last year – which left 49 people dead and 53 others injured.
The man behind the whole scheme planted porn and pro-LGBT images on more than 250 Twitter accounts owned by ISIS.
“We started to take over their accounts with porn and gay pride images basically just to troll them. We thought that putting the naked images would offend them,” he told CNN.
The hacktivist behind this operation told CNN that he’s received several death threats for doing so.
“I get beheading images… death threats. ‘We’re going to kill you’ and that’s good because if they are focusing on me they are not doing anything else,” he said.
The Twitter accounts were then renamed to “jacked by a ghost.”
Why does he do it?
He believed somebody had to “stand up” to those spreading hate, according to The Sun.
The hacker revealed that hacking an account takes him just 60 seconds, if he has all the information needed
“One thing I do want to say is we aren’t using graphic porn and our purpose is not to offend Muslims. Our actions are directed at Jihadist extremists,” the hacker said.
“Many of our own [group of hackers] are Muslim and we respect all religions that do not take innocent lives.”
Former beauty Queens are also fighting. Meet Jordanian Lara Abdallat
MIC once described Lara Abdallat’s role as a reverse plot of the hit film “Miss Congeniality” – as she ditched her role as a beauty pageant to fight the bad guys.
She now works with Ghost Security, a hacktivist counter-terrorism group that has even been linked to Anonymous.
She explores the Dark Web for suspicious activity with links to terrorist groups, including ISIS.
“We’re locating a lot of the Islamic State’s websites and Facebook or Twitter [accounts] or blogs. We can locate and target [them], and we work on closing them down because they share terroristic information,” she told MIC.
Beyond locating and taking down Daech’s (IS) social media accounts, Abdallat’s work leads to the actual arrest of terrorists.
Abdallat has talked about specific planned attacks that were thwarted by Ghost Security’s efforts, including one in New York City and one in Tunisia. And her activism also goes beyond the internet.
“I’m always interested in helping underprivileged families. And I’m active in saving animals, especially the Canaan dogs, which are a rare breed that is facing extinction,” she told our sister site YallaFeed in March.