How Anonymous May Inadvertently Harm Counter-Terrorism


As a result of the terror attacks in Paris and the subsequent ‘War on ISIS’ declared by Anonymous, the channels on have been flooded by hundreds, perhaps thousands, of people every day; all in the name of standing up and speaking out against ISIS. Some reaching out to ask the world for help, some looking for ISIS accounts to target and a few others have come in to ask if Anonymous is really doing the right things here. I did not think much of this opinion until someone showed me this article, outlining why counter-terror agents maybe be negatively impacted by Anonymous’ actions.

You may or may not have heard of CtrlSec or GhostSec, but here is why you should. Ghost Security Group (aka, GhostSec) operates with the mission of:

“…eliminating the online presence of Islamic extremist groups such as Islamic State (IS), Al-Qaeda, Al-Nusra, Boko Haram and Al-Shabaab in an effort to stymie their recruitment and limit their ability to organize international terrorist efforts.”

Understanding that there are many means to an end, the Ghost Security Group works closely with many international authorities, such as the FBI. CtrlSec says they are not so much in the business of “hacking” as they are in taking down ISIS accounts — very effectively I might add, with an estimated total of over 100,000 accounts having been shut down by this one group alone. GhostSec, on the other hand, does more of the dirty work, penetrating deep into ISIS chats, forums and web pages, and monitors all activity. From there, the data is recorded and submitted to international authorities. These two “black-hat” organizations work with an understanding of sorts with government officials also fighting ISIS. Rather than go after one another, everyone works together and all society is better off for it.   

Two days ago, Anonymous announced that they have taken down over 5,500 ISIS twitter accounts (as part of the new wave of attacks). Take a moment to consider the collective movement of Operation ISIS (#OpISIS) you may be talking about tens of thousands of accounts deleted. Though this is impressive in its own right, GhostSec surmises that for however “well intended” these actions are, they may cause more harm than good. Here’s why…

Every Facebook page, Twitter account, or web page that is taken down is one less channel intelligence analysts have to monitor. Say, for example, an Anonymous member takes down a Twitter account, but the person whom owned this account was going to announce an attack that night, by shutting down the account we may be losing out on important intelligence. In essence Anonymous is forcing ISIS members underground making them much harder to track and monitor. A spokesperson for GhostSec, known as Digital Shadow, was quoted as saying:

“When it comes to terrorist attacks, one of the big worries is that you could take down forums and cost someone their lives, Anonymous has a habit of shooting in every direction and asking questions later.”

Intelligence analysts have reached out to Anonymous and the hacking community, saying that as a result of Anonymous’ #OpISIS attacks we have begun pushing members off social media offline and they are now using an app called Telegram to communicate internally. This app is more secure and actually enables the transfer of funds from one user to another. Telegram seems to be the next place to target to monitor and track ISIS movements.

To Report Any ISIS-related content on the internet, please visit:

This article “How Anonymous May Harm Counter Terrorism Efforts” is free and open source. You have permission to republish this article with a creative commons license with attribution to the author and AnonHQ


Get Your Anonymous T-Shirt / Sweatshirt / Hoodie / Tanktop, Smartphone or Tablet Cover or Mug In Our Spreadshirt Shop! Click Here



  1. Hey just wanted to say you guys are great and what you stand for is awesome!
    On this subject is there any way for you guys to work with the people trying to take down isis as in who you were talking about in your post and without giving your identity?
    I know you dont agree with stuff our government does but in this case you both are fighting for the same reason and maybe with what you know and what they know put together could come up with a way to defeat them. Or maybe you could show them how to better track isis or to monitor them better. Its just a thought but it would also prove to the people that you guys really arent bad and you would get more people standing with you guys!
    Could work or not im not at all smart when it comes to computers so I dont know.
    Thanks for your time and keep up the good work you do, im 100% for you guys!

  2. sounds like bullshit to me, if ghostcrap are so good, they must be working for isis i don’t believe they could be shutting down so many accounts and checking so many others and sharing info with other organisations and yet miss so many spectacular events. or it a case of “selective targetting” or info sharing? or maybe they just give out the info and the recipients are a bit selective in their response? remember, there are still so many unanswered questions from 9/11 and wasn’t that a magnificent propaganda opportunity for certain organisations? i’m not saying those attacks or any “terrorist” attack is justifiable, as, although the people responsible quite often have very legitimate concerns about their enemies actions, that does not give them any excuse to kill. also if anonymous wants to declare war on isis, why don’t you track down the main sources of funding and were they get their weapons and supplies from? i understand that they do get a considerable amount from the places they invade, but that cannot be anywhere near enough to keep them viable. therefore there has to be some very wealthy individuals, companies or countries supporting them. and can’t ghostcrap and what’s that other one called, controlsecurity? (the shortname implies that), why aren’t they tracking and cutting off the funding? or would that affect the u.s. economy too much by sending the arms manufacturers bankrupt? lets face it, they and all the other companies worldwide make way too many arms for legitimate defence forces and so must be selling or supplying illegally with full support of their governments. so who are the real “terrorists”? the blinded followers? the leaders? or the people funding/supporting them? and all those illegal arms sales and the oversupply of these arms, some of which are very destructive are contributing on a large scale to the global destruction of the environment both in the manufacturing process and the use of. personally the scattergun approach of anonymous works for me, because ghostcrap isn’t doing all that they say they are. that is fucking obvious

  3. I like and applaud your idea of taking on ISIS / ISIL, but, yeah I can see that some intel sources could be lost for the official agencies that do that kind of thing.

    Can’t you guys rather find these accounts, track them and pass the info on to those that can physically get their hands on the perpetrators?

    PS: Please don’t hack me or mess up my computer, I’m a 64 year old man who is not tech savy enough to protect myself.

    Good luck.

  4. I think Anonymous might need to spy and time it right when to shut them down. So far ya’ll been kicking ass and I been running beside you guys rooting, Then I read this also. I think gathering and waiting for them to post an a attack on something then confirming it with images and copying text is a great idea, Then shutting them down would be a better tactic. Might be a slower process but could save a lot more lives.

    -Keep It Up- Fuck Terrorism and Kickass.

  5. I don’t take bait on all of that.

    It’s been a common practice for the Government of the United States to manipulate governments that had given safe haven to identified threats. This was done in order to cause the target to re-group that those investigating might take a head count of the restructuring or mobilizing factors. Kind of like kicking over an Ant hill just learn how they operate (if you will).

    When Bin Laden was nestled in Yemen, the Shop paid the Yemenis Govt. to push him out in order to get a head count of his organization.

    I personally applauded when I heard that Anonymous was (or had) taken it upon themselves to piecemeal out ISIS electronically. They do not appear to have the hidden agendas that the greedy handed Federal government does end game.

    With or without Anonymous those Agencies will monitor the Ant hill rebuilding once it’s kicked over.
    At least with the Legion we have a better chance of knowing the TRUTHS of what has been done.
    Carpa Diem Anonymous. Good hunting.

  6. Perhaps we should rethink our strategy, but Anonymous should not stop fighting ISIS. There has to be something else we can do with out damaging the efforts of other counter-terrorist ops. Taking down social media accounts is hardly the only thing Anonymous is capable of.

    • Yes maybe we can write letters to the Congress on our ideas of how to handle this calamity. I think there maybe some not all middle east leaders that may be interested in a pot growing treaty.

  7. Hi Anonymous,

    I want to appreciate your action and wish that I too may be able to help you.
    I wanted to share a thought that occurred to me after reading this article.
    So, Alan Turing cracked the Enigma, yet the army did not go on an all out attack-
    “Hardest time to lie to somebody is when they’re expecting to be lied to”

    I understand we cannot take the risk of losing so many lives, but an intelligent action is required and I trust anonymous.

  8. Ok so don’t shut down their social media. There was a way to ruin people with a computer before social media. Hell, before the internet. Old school hackers got into systems before we became so connected. Like someone suggested, hit’em where it hurts… $$$ Get personal with as many as possible and share their personal information i.e.. Use their money to order a billion pink teddie bears & billions of Miley Cyrus cds. Give’em a virus or worm that pops up hardcore porn to thrash metal. Go full on Ferris Bueller on them, Peewee Herman. Use their own money to purchase and deliver millions of dildos, nipple clamps and buttplugs. Make them look ridiculous. Like they’re a joke while simultaneousy wasting their time/distracting them. I don’t know. Maybe someone can use something from all the nonsense I’ve written. Knock yourself out.

  9. Excuse me, but who exactly runs ? Is it run by anonymous or is it a 3rd party blog that is somehow a fan of anonymous or what? Because this article just made me question the identity of the writers who are for some reason criticizing their own actions without providing any explanation (assuming it is an anonymous run site).

    • Anonymous is great. An intelligence community of their own. But governments has the money/resources/budget to do things Anonymous can not.

  10. First and foremost… ISIS ate not stupid enough to use social media to plan attacks. If this were the case the Paris attacks would have been stopped. The social media accounts can be used to pick up’shrapnel’ and satellite and keys cask it luminescence information. The proper thing to do by Anonymous is to gather as much information from these accounts and forward into intelligence agencies where they can put to use their tools to do some predictive analysis. Infiltrate their accounts and systems… break their codes, get as much hero tagged info from their photos etc… let’s face it these terrorists have no rights and so we should afford them none.

  11. Why does forcing them from social network sites and limiting their communication hinder counter- terrorism agencies?

    Surely less is more? If they can only communicate using this Telegram app then the Government can focus all their attention on that instead of watering their resources down and ‘missing’ vital intelligence.

    They think it’s a bad idea because they want excuses to miss intel, they need terrorist attacks to happen for society to break down. In turn people will give up there liberty to feel safe and thus complete the master plan for a New World Order.

  12. Hi Anonymous, what can I do to help out?
    I only have a tiny brain and I can only draw a picture in Paint, so not very tech-savvy at all, but if my computer can be of any help… then feel free to ‘use me’! 🙂

  13. Ciao Anonymous.
    Per me, chiudere account serve a poco. Forse non è la cosa migliore. E’ più efficace un lavoro di intercettazione, senza farsi scoprire, e consegnare tutte le comunicazioni alle autorità.


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here