Hacker arrested for passing US military data to ISIS

Malaysian authorities have arrested a hacker accused of passing stolen information about U.S. service members to the terror group the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS).


According to the criminal complaint, Kosovo citizen Ardit Ferizi hacked a U.S. firm, then provided the personal information for over a thousand federal employees and service members to former lead ISIS hacker Junaid Hussain, aka Abu Hussain al-Britani. 

“This case is a first of its kind and, with these charges, we seek to hold Ferizi accountable for his theft of this information and his role in ISIL’s targeting of U.S. government employees,” said Assistant Attorney General John Carlin in a statement.

Ferizi, also known by his hacker moniker, “Th3Dir3ctorY,” is believed to be the leader of a Kosovar Internet hacking group known as Kosova Hacker’s Security.

On Aug. 11, using the name the Islamic State Hacking Division, Hussain tweeted, “NEW: U.S. Military AND Government HACKED by the Islamic State Hacking Division!” and a link to the 30-page document allegedly provided by Ferizi.

The document contained names, email addresses and passwords, locations and phone numbers for the U.S. personnel — and came with a call for lone wolf attacks on those individuals.

“We are in your emails and computer systems, watching and recording your every move, we have your names and addresses, we are in your emails and social media accounts, we are extracting confidential data and passing on your personal information to the soldiers of the khilafah, who soon with the permission of Allah will strike at your necks in your own lands!” the document read.

The release was considered part of an avowed cyber crusade against the United States. ISIS in May released a video announcing an “electronic war.”

The Pentagon confirmed that Hussain was killed in a drone strike in late August, shortly after the post.

The British-born ISIS recruiter and hacker was "arguably the most important and highest-profile English-speaking online recruiter and propagandist for the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS),” according to the nonprofit Counter Extremism Project.

"Junaid Hussain's death removes a key ISIL member involved in actively recruiting and inciting sympathizers in the West to carry out lone wolf attacks,” said Air Force Col. Patrick Ryder, spokesman for U.S. Central Command, using a different acronym for ISIS.

The U.S. is now seeking Ferizi’s extradition to stand trial in the Eastern District of Virginia. If convicted, he faces up to 35 years in prison.

“National security is compromised by computer intrusions,” said U.S. Attorney Dana Boente. “We will investigate and prosecute these cyberattacks to fullest extent of the law.”