ISIS promotes US kill list, while Guccifer works with the FBI
A pro-Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) hacking group called the “United Cyber Caliphate” has released a US kill list in an effort to speed up wannabe jihadist terror attacks inside America. The list includes names, addresses, and email addresses of more than 8,000 people. Vocativ reports that 7,848 Americans are listed with 1,445 addresses in California, 643 in Florida, 341 in Washington, 333 in Texas, 331 in Illinois, 290 in New York as well as other states and countries.
The group reportedly hacked into US Central Command’s (CENTCOM) 54,000 Twitter accounts and threatened President Barack Obama with assassination. There have also been several reports that ISIS has targeted the US military and their families, prompting military brass to warn service members to refrain from posting on social media like Facebook.
A Las Vegas TV report said, “If in fact a sympathizer gets ahold of this list and is readily able to identify you as being his neighbor and, then, decides (because they’re a sympathizer) to go out and do something horrific to you, there is no way to calculate the potential or to prevent that.”
That chilling statement has the FBI looking into this angle as part of the horrific Orlando terrorist attack that left 49 Americans dead and another 50 wounded earlier this month in Florida.
While the use of cyber warfare may not be new for ISIS, a rash of attacks on the homeland resulted in a lengthy security warning from Flashpoint Intel. The security experts suggest that ISIS has grown in the past couple of years, and its media machine, global support, and online channels have also grown.
“This unprecedented expansion has now come to include capabilities to inflict damage over the Internet, which came to light when its supporters began coordinating and organizing cyber attacks on Western targets. Highlighting this newfound desire to cause virtual harm was the brief 2014 takeover of Twitter accounts run by US CENTCOM and Newsweek.”
Flashpoint also pointed out that the successful hacking attacks propagated the support of ISIS and generated notable global attention. “Like-minded individuals and groups found new ways to target Western interests. As such, new concerns regarding ISIS’s cyber capabilities emerged. At the center of the conversation has been whether ISIS’s cyber prowess is a real threat or exaggerated. Given the attacks that resulted in the CENTCOM and Newsweek Twitter accounts being compromised, it appears that ISIS’s supporters maintain somewhat of an existing coordinated cyber campaign that aims at launching attacks on targets of opportunity, typically those that are considered low-hanging fruit.”
Guccifer pleads guilty in Hillary email gate federal case
The Romanian hacker Marcel Lazar or “Guccifer” who said he compromised Hillary Clinton’s private email server, pleaded guilty on May 25 in federal on two counts of computer hacking. Justice Department prosecutors told the court that in exchange for a reduced sentence (2 to 7 years), Guccifer agreed to cooperate with federal officials with other cyber investigations, presumably the FBI’s ongoing criminal investigation into Hillary Clinton’s private email server.
“Mr. Lazar will be punished for violating the personal privacy of dozens of Americans,” said Dana J. Boente, US Attorney for the Eastern District of Virginia. “These convictions show that cyber criminals cannot hide from justice. The United States will vigorously pursue these offenders, wherever they may hide.”
Leslie Caldwell, Assistant Attorney General of the Justice Department’s Criminal Division said: “Cybercriminals like Marcel Lazar believe they can act with impunity from safe havens abroad, but the Justice Department’s partnerships with law enforcement agencies around the world ensure that they can be brought to justice. Lazar sought fame by hacking the private online accounts of Americans and releasing their personal information to the public; instead, he has been convicted in aUnited States federal court.”
The FBI also weighed in on the guilty plea. “Marcel Lazar, who hacked under the moniker ‘Guccifer,’ has now been brought to justice before a United States court,” said Paul M. Abbate, Assistant Director in Charge of the FBI’s Washington Field Office. “As a direct result of our global technological and investigative reach and strong international partnerships, we were able to successfully identify Guccifer and his criminal activities, and bring him to justice here in America. The FBI will continue to relentlessly hunt down criminals in cyberspace and around the world. I would like to commend the dedicated efforts of the agents, analysts, prosecutors, and international partners who worked tirelessly to resolve this highly complex cyber investigation.”
Lazar pleaded guilty to the unauthorized access of a protected computer and aggravated identity theft, these counts were first tied to a report in the Smoking Gun. Guccifer illegally hacked into systems belonging to former US government officials, including former Clinton adviser Sidney Blumenthal and former Secretary of State Colin Powell. The defense did not answer any questions after the hearing in which only a handful of reporters attended.
While neither the defendant nor the US courts have released evidence supporting Guccifer’s claims, he was transferred into US custody from a Romanian jail where he was serving time for other computer hacking crimes. Security experts, as well as former federal agents, say it’s completely feasible that he breached the email server and that the US government would not go through the arduous task and expense of an extradition if there was no probable cause of a crime. Keep reading here.