Hackers claiming to be affiliated with the Islamic State group are threatening a series of cyberattacks in the United States and Europe, according to a video released Monday. The hackers also claimed the ability to monitor electronic devices and communications of Americans and Europeans.
“The electronic war has not yet begun,” according to the video.
The video showed a digitized, hooded and faceless figure, akin to the symbol of the hacker collective Anonymous, reading out a prepared speech in Arabic with English subtitles. A group calling itself the “Islamic State’s Defenders in the Internet,” reportedly released the video, although there is no evidence that it is connected to leaders of the group also known as ISIS or ISIL in Iraq and Syria.
Unlike most of the video releases from ISIS, this one did not come from one of the group’s many media houses scattered around Iraq and Syria. In addition, unlike genuine ISIS video releases, the hackers used the acronym ISIS when referring to the Islamic State, making it likely that the video was produced by some of the group’s supporters and not actual members.
“We observe all the movements that you are doing from your devices,” the video warned, directing the threat specifically at the United States and Europe. “Soon you will see how we control your electronic world.”
The video appears to be response to the increasing attention the U.S. has paid to cybersecurity in the months since hackers claiming to be affiliated with ISIS breached American websites. Last month, President Barack Obama signed an executive order creating an office directed at responding to cyber threats.
The order “declares a national emergency with respect to the unusual and extraordinary threat to the national security, foreign policy, and economy of the United States posed by the increasing prevalence and severity of malicious cyber-enabled activities,” according to a White House press statement.
Over the past six months, a group of hackers who go by the name "Cyber Caliphate" have already claimed responsibility for several breaches of cybersecurity. Their past targets include the U.S. military's Central Command, Taylor Swift’s Twitter account, International Business Times and the Twitter account of IBT sister publication Newsweek.