Every computer and mobile phone logs onto the internet using an IP address, which is a type of identification number.
The hacking collective showed Mirror Online details of the IP addresses used by a trio of separate digital jihadis to access Twitter accounts, which were then used to carry out online recruitment and propaganda campaigns.
At first glance, the IP addresses seem to be based in Saudi Arabia, but upon further inspection using specialist tools they appeared to link back to the DWP.
So, has the DWP been engaging in a little jihad after hours? The hackers believed so, saying:
Don’t you think that’s strange?
We traced these accounts back to London, the home of the British intelligence services.
It is indeed strange. However, this appears to be more cock-up than conspiracy. The DWP claims they actually sold a swathe of IP addresses to Saudi Arabia in an unannounced deal that completed in October of this year. That is, the UK government sold IP addresses to an extremist group who used them to disseminate hate speech and potentially promote terrorism.
Despite the astronomic proportions of this cock-up, a Cabinet spokesman remarked:
The government owns millions of unused IP addresses which we are selling to get a good return for hardworking taxpayers.
We have sold a number of these addresses to telecoms companies both in the UK and internationally to allow their customers to connect to the internet.
We think carefully about which companies we sell addresses to, but how their customers use this internet connection is beyond our control.