ISIS Hackers Join Forces with Pro-Palestinian Hackers AnonGhost

ISIS hackers Ghost Caliphate AnonGhost
ISIS hackers have teamed up with pro-Palestine hackers AnonGhost as part of a "cyber jihad". Ghost Caliphate

Hackers supportive of the Islamic State militant group (ISIS) have teamed up with the Pro-Palestinian hacking group AnonGhost.

In a video released through ISIS propaganda channels on Twitter and the encrypted messaging app Telegram, the Caliphate Cyber Army (CCA) announced the formation of a new hacking organisation called the Ghost Caliphate.

"We pledge allegiance to the khalifa Abu Baker," text in the video states. "To listen and obey in hardship and ease, and we will not oppose the caliphate unless we see clear kuffur and deviation, and judging it from the shariah. We make Allah our guide and witness to this."

AnonGhost has previously been engaged in cyber attacks against Israeli websites, leading an "electronic Holocaust" campaign against Israel for the past two years on the country's annual Holocaust remembrance day.

A spokesperson for the Palestine Liberation Organisation (PLO) has condemned the move by AnonGhost to pledge allegiance to the "thugs, murderers and criminals of the so-called Daesh".

"The Palestinian cause embraces universal values of freedom and justice," Xavier Abu Eid tells Newsweek . "Daesh terrorists have even burnt Palestinian flags. Nobody could support Daesh and the just cause for Palestine's freedom and independence at the same time."

Despite the similarities in name, the hacktivist collective Anonymous has distanced itself from AnonGhost in recent years. Following the terror attacks against the French magazine Charlie Hebdo in January 2015, AnonGhost hackers described the satirical publication as "Charlie Pedo" and declared a digital jihad against France.

"I'm not Charlie Pedo, I'm a Muslim and I won't allow anyone to attack my prophet Mohammed," AnonGhost said in a statement at the time. "Your freedom of speech [meant] it was only a matter of time before someone was going to display their freedom against you."

Paraphrasing the Anonymous slogan "We are Legion, we do not forgive, we do not forget, expect us," Ghost Caliphate states in its video: "We are Muslim, We are many. Beloved Tawheed, Defenced Islam, Rules is Shareea".

The video shows images of New York and Tel Aviv, interspersed with lines of computer code and phrases like "virus attack" and "global power". Video footage of wounded infants and small children is also shown.

The video's narrator states: "Oh Jews, oh crusaders, if you want to protect your blood, increase your wealth, and live in safety from our swords, then there are only two choices before you with no third option. Either you submit yourselves to Allah alone, without partner, and believe in Him as your Lord and God... or you pay us the jizyah with willing submission and feel yourselves subdued."

Last month, ISIS supporters launched a magazine designed to instruct and inform would-be jihadists on how to take part in a "cyberwar" against the West. Despite this, the cyber threat posed by ISIS is thought by experts to be limited, especially since the death of prominent IS hacker Abu Hussain Britani.

"After the US drone strike against Junaid Hussain [Abu Hussain Britani], the cyber caliphate's effectiveness has declined dramatically and they currently pose little threat to Western society in terms of data breaches, however that is subject to change at any time," an online spokesperson for the independent counter terrorism network Ghost Security Group, tells Newsweek.

"The Islamic State is recruiting heavily, which opens the possibilities for them to find skilled technical individuals to carry out cyber attacks but currently we have not encountered any which we would deem as a severe threat."