Is there anything in life like an absolute enemy? It does not exist and will never exist, because our enemies are human beings, like us ...
Summary: on December 17, 2015, I receive in my inbox an email from a friend with urgent flag, whose body read: "My company's website and my personal Facebook wall have suffered a defacement and have been compromised, I ask for your help as soon as possible. " Being frank, the attack on his Facebook account drew much more my attention, since it was clearly a personal outbreak, than the damage done to the company's website, which could have been only a fortuitous and collateral target, although obviously not less important. Then, when he passed the credentials of his profile and opened it on my own machine, an Islamic song rang in my speakers ...
... There are only enemies in relative terms. A few months ago, I dedicated myself to reading a text by a Mexican writer whose origins are in a very well-known place nowadays: Syria. Casa Damasco is the name of his book, extremely pessimistic for my way of thinking, but which fully encompasses the true reality of people who are under the absolute yoke of extreme violence. A reality so “real” (worth the pleonasm) and seemingly so remote from my home (very fortunately, by the way). In this novel, the writer asks us a fundamental question: can we love evil ?, and formulates it through its main character, Wissam, who falls in love with a member of the secret police of the Baathist government; a cruel executioner murderer in full order, but on the other hand, and in a very strange way, a sweet, condescending and tender lover with his girl. An inexplicable duality for someone supposedly devoted to hatred and death.
The book is undoubtedly a mirror of the events shaking the world recently. Much has already been said about what happens in Syria, the war, the countless victims, the consequences for mankind. We could repeat again what Daesh is, and why there is a widespread resentment against everything that seems Muslim today. A parallel violent response from the West as expected, attacking many times the bastion of the Islamic State is not mentioned so much. What we did not expect at all, in any kind of possible scenario, was the almost Shakespearean appearance of the hacktivist group Anonymous, the hacker community per se and the inscrutable presence of a cyber war; above all, it catches my attention the very decisive way in which these groups have influenced the development of this conflict, and in general the fight against global "terror".
Anonymous is part of hacktivism, carrying out civil disobedience activities, and mainly cyber combat against groups or people of various kinds. This is how this group of hackers declared war directly on the Daesh, after the massacres perpetrated, and did so publicly. Then, large-scale computer attacks against the terrorist group ISIS began: their websites, social networks, communication channels, and monetary funds were the object of desire for Anonymous hackers. Of course, ISIS answered these attacks in the virtual world and added some apparent "security tips" for their adherents (which I don't believe at all, because they are extremely childish considering they can pay computer experts).
... On my monitor screen there is an image with Arabic symbology, and another one with a large and bright text: "Daesh will dominate the world". Also, the photo of a hooded man in gray tones and covered face is adorning a signature: "Hacked by Cybercaliphate". And as a cherry on top, a personal invitation from the attacker to stop "discrediting" the Daesh with a threatening reminder that their gaze is also on Mexico.
Really confused and looking on my screen, I wonder what that defacement has to do with my friend, because I really can't find any relation. The first thing that comes to mind is that it may have been a mistake and perhaps some malicious code that was free on the Internet, belonging to the Daesh, has been downloaded and executed, causing a defacement as part of the attacking vector. I immediately discarded the idea because it was a barbaric stupidity and, basically, I had no idea what the exact reason of this attack on his profile was.
I opened the case to my colleagues, to assist me in tracking the origin of the defacement, and especially the purpose. The first thing was easy, it originated in Syria, so we have a group of hackers at the service of Daesh to perpetrate this type of hacktivism throughout the world.
During the following hours, I received information from several digital sources, that in those days began operations on Twitter and various groups on Facebook with the keywords and hashtags referring to #OpCalyphate, #AnonGhost, Middle East Cyber Army, etc. that were especially active organizing campaigns against the West and recruiting new adherents around the planet for their purposes.
In the end, after doing a deeper investigation of the targets and goals these campaigns had, we concluded that the attack to this company's website and the owner's Facebook account did not have a specific objective. It was a permanent and intermittent “canvassing campaign” across the network. And it happened that my friend was harmed, because his corporate and private website (his profile on Facebook), promoted a suite of antimalware-browsing, to counteract the misuse of social networks and listed some topics of considerable delicacy that we should avoid at all costs when surfing the Internet, such as cyberbullying, gore, pornographic sites, illegal gambling sites, etc. and also it was mentioned in a segregated way to avoid contact with criminal or terrorist groups, setting as an example the Daesh, among many others. It seems this was enough for my friend's sites to be indexed directly into the attack carried out by Daesh on various websites and profiles and be part of a massive and continuous defacement worldwide.
It can be considered these hacks, trolleys, graffiti and computer devastation to the various web pages of individuals are the iconoclastic simile, on a smaller scale of course, of the destruction done in the historical buildings of Syria perpetrated by the Islamic State.
When I try to see the positive side of any kind of beliefs and believers, I personally get a bit dizzy; (for example speaking about Catholicism), and in this particular case about religion and hacktivism. We cannot differentiate the good and the evil for example: Anonymous & Daesh, this is not so simple because, as I implicitly stated from the beginning of the text, time allows us to change the perceptions of friend or foe, white or black, and even good or evil.
To be very clear and honest, despite the horrible acts carried out by the Daesh in any of its aspects, I do not share in any way the manifest offensive of Anonymous, because it borders ineffably towards intolerance, and generates indirectly an exacerbated polarization against everything that means being part of Islam.
In the end, this shows us that it is feasible to unite a decentralized and flexible campaign against something considered as violent and/or repressive, it also positions a new image of a virtual cyberwar scene that points to a recklessly asymmetric component, where the person is summoned to join a kind of global cyber militia and most of all forgetting if some individual has hacker skills or not. And we, the common people, which side of the board will play? How do we visualize the "other side" of the story? Black and white, Daesh and Anonymous: "Allahu Akbar".
"We are Anonymous, we are legion, we do not forgive, we do not forget, wait for us."