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A Small Group of Iraqi Hackers Are Fighting ISIS Online With Porn

The hackers, called "Daeshgram," are sowing confusion and chaos among the terrorists.

Technology By

Six young Iraqis are taking on ISIS with a new weapon: the Internet. The group of six calls themselves “Daeshgram,” which is a meld of the Arabic acronym for ISIS and Instagram, and they are risking their lives by hacking into ISIS’s accounts and creating fake news to disrupt its “virtual caliphate,” reports The Daily Beast

The group was formed by Nada and Ahmed (not their real names, for obvious reasons) about a year ago.

“We started thinking about how we could fight them online,” said Nada to The Daily Beast. “We were always messing around on the internet with each other anyway. ISIS are still a threat to Iraq, to Syria, even the world. So we started looking into exactly what might be effective on social media, and on Telegram. Back then, ISIS could do whatever they wanted on Telegram, we wanted them to know we were going to fight them on there too.”

They spent months pretending to be ISIS members in order to study how the terrorist organization behaves, the type of language they use, and the unwritten rules. They received death threats from real ISIS members, and since they were so deeply embedded in the jihadists’ online activities, they also needed to be wary of the Iraqi government.

The group used an encrypted messaging app called Telegram to proliferate the group’s high-quality media output, from radio broadcasts to written statements to battle videos, reports The Daily Beast. Daeshgram’s tactics varied: Once they photoshopped a pornographic scene into an image announcing the opening of a new media center in Syria. Another time they created an official-looking video saying ISIS’s go-to news source had been hacked. After one of ISIS’s radio stations was destroyed in an airstrike, Daeshgram created an audio statement denying that the station had been taken offline.

“Daesh supporters themselves, especially the Arabic speaking ones, are our target,” Nada told The Daily Beast. “Our main objective was to create confusion and discord, and we were able to do that.”

Read full story at The Daily Beast