Pro-ISIS hacking group leaks 'kill list' of US government officials

Pro-ISIS hacking group leaks 'kill list' of US government officials
© Getty Images

A newly formed hacking group supporting the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS) claims to have infiltrated the State Department and released a “kill list” of U.S. government officials.

On Sunday, the so-called United Cyber Caliphate (UCC) — formed roughly two weeks ago — posted its hacking claims and data dump to its account on the messaging platform Telegram.

ADVERTISEMENT

“USA You are our primary goal,” the post said, according to a screenshot provided by the Middle East Media Research Institute (MEMRI). “Your system failed to Tackling [sic] our attacks. Now we will Crush you again.”

A State Department official told The Hill it was aware of the claims, but that security concerns inhibited the agency from saying whether it was actually infiltrated.

The hackers would not have had to crack into State to get at the workers' data. Many of the personal details released online — including names, places of work, ZIP codes and phone numbers — could have been collected from publicly available databases.

Still, MEMRI cautions that the data dump should be taken seriously, regardless of its origins.

The UCC announcement coincided with President Obama’s visit to Hanover, Germany, on Monday for a meeting with world leaders to discuss his administration’s attempts to step up its efforts to disrupt ISIS online.

To this point, the U.S. has struggled to counteract ISIS online. The terrorist group successfully uses online messaging platforms and social media networks to spread propaganda, radicalize foreigners and conduct low-scale digital disruptions through cyberattacks.

To combat these efforts, the Pentagon has launched its first full-scale cyber offensive to imitate prominent ISIS commanders online and mislead militants, as well as to interrupt and redirect electronic transfers of money used to fund the group’s extremist agenda.

The military has also taken out a number of high-profile ISIS hackers with drone strikes in recent months.

— Updated 5:26 p.m.