This hacker is fighting ISIS by spamming its Twitter accounts with porn

It started years ago, when at age 16 he bought his first computer, took it home and disassembled it. When he put the machine back together and it refused to run, a local big-box store tech guru taught the teen who would eventually take the alias “Wauchula Ghost” how to hack.

Now he’s exercising those demons on the Islamic State.

For the past two months, and with increased fervor after an ISIS supporter attacked an Orlando gay night club over the weekend, Wauchula Ghost, a member of the hacking clan “Anonymous,” has compromised hundreds Twitter accounts of Islamic State supporters and flooded them with pornography.

“Daesh doesn’t like porn,” Ghost said in a phone interview, referring to the Islamic State in its Arabic transliteration. He declined to give his real name. “They don’t like women in general. We just started using it to poke fun at them and diminish their presence online.”

ISIS has used the Internet to spread its message and find recruits. FBI Director James Comey said Monday he was “highly confident” shooter Omar Mateen, 29, was radicalized “at least in some part through the Internet.”

[Orlando gunman who pledged loyalty to ISIS was ‘homegrown’ extremist radicalized online, Obama says]

Instead of messages supporting the self-described caliphate or encouraging violence, some 160 accounts hacked by the Ghost have tweeted photos of nude women. Some users’ avatars now read “I [heart] porn.”

The content is a jab at the group’s interpretation of Muslim religious customs that require piety and chastity. By tweeting sexual content rather than traditional battle cries against the West, the Ghost said he wants to undermine the voices of ISIS recruiters and chase them off popular social networks.

“The government really hasn’t been doing enough especially on social media,” he said. “You see the beheading images everywhere. Kids get online and shouldn’t see these images.”

But should they see porn?

[Porn has been declared a ‘public health crisis’ in Utah. Here’s why.]

That’s a harder question, one that toes the line between “hactivism” — activism by hacking — and plain, old internet trolling.

Shouting down web-based terrorist recruiting cells, that’s a good thing, said Ryan Calo, professor of law at the University of Washington and co-director of the Tech Policy Lab.

Porn on Twitter, maybe not such a good thing, he said. It could be offensive to religious Muslims (or Christians or Jews), the overwhelming majority of whom are not terrorists and want nothing to do with sexually explicit images.

“A hactivist is really someone trying to advance a civil agenda by using their technological tools,” Calo said. “To me, it’s about targeting appropriately and making sure you’re targeting the real enemy rather than Muslim people or the vulnerable.”

“If sending this message could end up in the wrong hands, children or nonconsenting adults, that could be a problem,” said Sandy Davidson, a professor of communication law at the University of Missouri. “And images present their own problems because once an image is seared in your mind, then you can’t unsee it.”

Under U.S. law, social media platforms are responsible for policing content users post. Though the government could ask sites like Twitter or Facebook to remove certain material, they cannot be held liable for content posted on their sites and can remove content for any reason whatsoever.

So while the government might have to file paperwork and jump through legal hoops to shut down an extremist’s Twitter account, Twitter itself can do so whenever it wants. Since 2015, Twitter has suspended more than 125,000 accounts for threatening or promoting terrorist acts primarily related to ISIS, actions lawmakers have applauded.

“We condemn the use of Twitter to promote terrorism and the Twitter Rules make it clear that this type of behavior, or any violent threat, is not permitted on our service,” the company said in a statement.

As the Ghost was mining for accounts Sunday night, he added them to a public list titled, “Jacked accounts.” Twitter then suspended them until the list was empty by midday.

He says he plans to continue hijacking ISIS accounts in the future, almost as a kind of Twitter crime fighter, harassing bad guys outside the confines of the law.

“I think we’re there to serve a purpose, at least I know I am,” he said. “My goal waking up in the morning and see messages from Daesh, telling me they’re going to kill me or cut my head off. The madder they get, the happier I get.”

Source:https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/the-switch/wp/2016/06/14/this-hacker-is-fighting-isis-by-spamming-its-twitter-accounts-with-porn/

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