An online group that supports the Islamic State has released a new warning of an upcoming cyber war. The group has named the United States as its first target, according to analysts at JihadoScope.
The group, which was identified by JihadoScope as “Electronic Ghosts of the Caliphate,” claimed to be the “hackers of the Islamic State” and threatened cyber attacks against the enemies of ISIS, starting with an attack against the U.S. planned for Dec. 8.
“We will face you with a massive cyber war,” the group, which calls itself “Caliphate Cyber Ghosts.” warned in the video, and described the planned cyber attacks as “Black days you will remember,” according to a translation provided to International Business Times by Raphael Gluck, a lead analyst at JihadoScope.
According to Gluck, the video first surfaced online midday Monday and has been spread online via Twitter, Vimeo, Facebook and other platforms. “Electronic Ghosts of the Caliphate” is one of more than one dozen hacking groups that merged in 2016 under the banner of the United Cyber Caliphate, which had been dormant for months before resurfacing in recent weeks, according to JihadoScope.
“The group [is] threatening to ‘penetrate’ websites including government and military, while identifying America as their first target,” Gluck told IBT. The analyst explained that it is not typical for groups to name the date of their attack. “It’s possible that naming a date is a response to the so-called Islamic State ‘hackers’ who struck a couple of weeks back and predicted the Friday November 17th as their day of activity,” Gluck said. “Perhaps putting forward a date is an attempt to project a great threat.”
The group is just the latest pro-ISIS group to promise a return to cyber warfare, where ISIS has been somewhat stifled since crackdowns on the terrorist organization’s activity were implemented by major tech companies and social media sites.
According to a post made in November by JihadoScope, the hacking collected identifed as UCC announced that it would resume its operations, carrying out hacks and cyber attacks against a number of targets, including Facebook and Twitter accounts and websites.
The group threatened to hack websites and turn them into tools of pro-ISIS media and spread their message using hacked social media accounts. It highlighted this effort by showing a number of Twitter accounts the group successfully compromised—a task that can be done by buying stolen credentials off the dark web and does not necessarily require any technical hacking skills.
UCC has a history of executing attention-grabbing online campaigns. The group netted headlines in 2016 and earlier this year after it published “kill lists” that contained the names and addresses of thousands of individuals in the U.S. and United Kingdom.
Despite the shocking behavior that is successful in generating fear, the group has not received much praise for its actual hacking capabilities. Kyle Wilhoit, a senior security researcher at DomainTools, described the coding skills of UCC as “garbage” earlier this year at security conference DerbyCon in Kentucky. “As it stands ISIS are not hugely operationally capable online,” he said.
The increased activity online from ISIS comes just weeks after a group of Muslim hackers claimed to have taken down the terrorist group’s news websites, including Amaq. The group also set up fake websites designed to look like the news sites in order to spread disinformation through ISIS channels. While the group of Muslim hackers also claimed it would release ISIS communications intercepted from messaging apps, it did not follow through on the threat.