Anonymous vs. ISIS: Sometimes Downtime Isn’t a Bad Thing, But Don't Get in the Crossfire

At Alertra we often talk about the dangers of downtime and how it can interfere with your business’s reputation, profits, and overall success. It appears, however, that there are times when downtime can actually be a good thing. While we have mentioned the activities of the group of hacktivists known as Anonymous in the past, their most recent efforts, targeting the propaganda of ISIS, is one example of how website downtime isn’t always a bad thing.

Using the Internet for Nefarious Purposes

According to a recent article by the New York Times, ISIS members use online propaganda to recruit new sympathizers to their cause. In light of the heinous acts ISIS has committed, the last thing the free world needs is a group such as this using a tool like the Internet to recruit new members. It appears that members of the group Anonymous have quickly picked up on this and have begun to target online accounts used by ISIS members to distribute such propaganda. Using the assumed names TouchMyTweets, IS Hunting, and The Doctor, among others, these groups targeted and blacklisted online accounts that were suspected of belonging to the extremist group’s members. In addition, the hackers have asked others to join in and report or attack any accounts being used by such members to further their cause.

When War is Taken to the Web

In the era of the Internet, it seems like some wars are being fought on the cyber front. Anonymous has made clear its intentions to attack the jihadist websites that support ISIS and spread its propaganda across the Internet. This came after Charlie Hebo incident, in which the extremist group took revenge upon a satirical magazine in Paris. While website downtime usually has negative connotations, and at Alertra we are almost always looking for ways to avoid downtime and minimize it rather than applaud it, even we must admit that at times downtime isn’t necessarily a bad thing, as we have seen in the unfolding chapter of Anonymous’s war against ISIS.

What Does This Mean for You?

This situation may have absolutely no bearing on your website or your site’s downtime. If, however, your site is on a shared server and you do not yet have website monitoring in place, now may be the time to implement such a tool. You control what goes on the pages of your site, but you can’t control what goes on the pages of the sites sharing your shared hosting server. If Anonymous decides to attack a server that this group is using, and your site happens to share a server with that site, your site may become a casualty of war. If that happens, it is crucial that you know about the downtime the moment that happens. That is where website monitoring service comes into play, letting you know the moment your site’s server goes down so you can put contingency plans into place to minimize any affect the downtime may have on your business.