ISIS Cyber-Attacks on the Rise, Will Future Attacks Cause More Damage?

“One hint is in the name that they’ve given themselves, which is not the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria, or ISIS – that was two name changes ago – but simply The Islamic State, everywhere, globally,” said Tony Schiena, CEO of MOSAIC and expert In ISIS and counter terrorism.

Schiena describes how in Islamic law, there is no such thing as a Caliph or Highlander, which would mean there is only one. He says The Islamic State now has affiliates, followers and “draftees” from almost every continent.

“Point is, they are global, and at any given time, may be engaging in multiple direct, tactical, and kinetic operations in several dispersed geographic areas simultaneously. … It simply fits into their scope as an organization. They need to project that they are a global organization, without a strong, centralized C2 system. They want to project a global image, with widespread and meaningful global reach. Multiple, simultaneous, and disparate hacks do very well to affect this image.”

It seems to be clear that ISIS – or The Islamic State – has the intention of making their presence felt throughout the world. Hacktivism, in general, has always rallied around a cause with the intent to cause disruption towards their target. ISIS brings an interesting concept hacktivism because they pose such a great physical threat to their enemies.

It could be just a matter of time before we start seeing more damaging cyber-attacks.

“As a non-state with a substantial financial war chest at about $500 million, ISIS can easily upgrade their cyber-terrorism capability through outsourcing to similarly minded hackers,” said Albert Goldson, Executive Director of Indo-Brazilian Associates, LLC. “Additionally, because ISIS doesn’t have the support, protection or liaison of a sovereign state, there is no diplomatic leverage to curtail their cyber-attacks. For this reason there should be a high-level of concern”

One expert points to the threat of US critical infrastructure as a possible future target from ISIS.

“The hacking of Sony Pictures, Target, Home Depot and others spotlight vulnerabilities of the cyber systems of some of our most successful and capable companies,” said Timothy C. Summers, Ph.D., CEO of Summers & Company, LLC. “Much of the American critical infrastructure is managed by companies just like these.”

Summers said that cyber threats have escalated, and have focused on our critical infrastructure and SCADA systems.

“Recent reports from the Department of Homeland Security, and other governmental agencies indicate that we are vulnerable on all fronts. So, is ISIS a real threat to our critical infrastructure? The answer is unequivocally, yes.”

Schiena agrees that more is to come from ISIS.

“ISIS is well funded and has a deep bench of devotees of virtually every profession and discipline, including cyber operations. We can expect to see much more, with increased results and demonstrating sheer brass tacks in their scope and impact.”

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