The popular hacking group Anonymous made headlines over the weekend for allegedly divulging information about ISIS worldwide terror day planned on Sunday, Nov. 22. Paris-style terror attacks were alerted for eight locations worldwide which included WWE in Atlanta and Five Finger Death Punch show in Milan. The group however denied the reports.
Via @YourAnonNews account on Twitter, the group denied the reports. A tweet posted on Nov. 22 reads: “We did not spread any rumors about possible future ISIS attacks, and frankly, we do not know where the rumors come from.”
The International Business Times first reported that Anonymous obtained information that a series of attacks will occur at events in Paris, the U.S., Indonesia, Italy and Lebanon. The report said it received the information from the Twitter page OpParisIntel which posted a pastebin link detailing the supposed terrorist attacks.
As quoted by the International Business Times, the posted information contained the following statement: “The goal is to make sure the whole world, or at least the people going to these events, know that there have been threats and that there is possibility of an attack to happen. Another goal is to make sure Daesh (ISIS) knows that the world knows and cancels the attacks, which will disorientate them for a while.” An Anonymous spokesman who had spoken with the network said it gave proof of the attacks to the MI5 intelligence in the U.K., the Australian government, the CIA and the FBI.
FBI released a statement saying it found no credible threats relating to any events in the city but nevertheless tasked the Atlanta Police Department to actively monitor the situation. Five Finger Death Punch in Milan meanwhile postponed their show because of the reported threat. “We did our best in a very short amount of time to work with the local promoter and authorities to ensure that security would be adequate. Unfortunately, we did not receive confirmation in time to satisfy our requirements and to ensure that our fans would be safe at the event,” the group said on their Facebook Page.
Morning News USA attempted to trace if there is an official Anonymous social media account where news such as the supposed information of the worldwide terror attack planned on Sunday could be verified. There exist none.
We found no official Anonymous social media account. The account @YourAnonNews however is the most followed with 1.58 million followers. There is an account under the handle @AnynomousOfcl but it is only being followed by 8,000 people. Given the popularity of the group this number appeared suspicious. There had also been a lot of ‘leaked’ information from the group on Pastebin. One of which is a link saying that it had taken down multiple ISIS Twitter accounts.
When ‘Anonymous accounts on Twitter’ is typed in, it pulled up accounts which share news about the group. These accounts have amassed hundreds of thousands of followers. @GroupAnon is being followed by more than 200,000; @AnonyOps has more than 400,000 followers. The account @TeamDestroyISIS has 12,000 followers. @AnonymousPress has more than 300,000 followers. There are affiliated account called Anonymous Paris, Anonymous Atlanta and Anonymous ISIS video.
On YouTube there exists an account named Anonymous Official and it seems fully dedicated to their war against the ISIS. “We must all work together and use social media to eliminate the accounts belonging to terrorists. More than 20,000 Twitter Accounts belonging to ISIS were just taken down by Anonymous… This is only the beginning. ISIS, we will hunt you, Take down your sites, Accounts, Emails, and expose you…From now on, no safe place for you online…You will be treated like a virus, and we are the cure,” the group said on the YouTube site.
On Facebook there exists an Anonymous page followed by 40,000 people and another page followed by 80,000 people. There is also an ‘Anonymous Official’ Google Plus account and a website that apparently sells merchandise from the group.