Beauty queen hacktivist fighting ISIS: ‘We won’t stop’
After watching pilot Muath al-Kasaesbeh’s gruesome death in an ISIS video Lara Abdallat decided to do something about the group’s growing online presence
A former Jordanian beauty queen, who joined the horde of activist hackers - known as “hacktivists” - active in the ongoing cyber warfare against the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) militant group, says she is fearless in her determination to fight terrorism online.
“The image of Islam in the West for all the non-Muslims is damaged by those creatures [ISIS members]. I call them creatures, I do not call them human,” Lara Abdallat told Al Arabiya News.
After watching the video of the gruesome death of fellow Jordanian and pilot Muath al-Kasaesbeh, released by ISIS in January, Abdallat – who in 2010 was crowned Miss Jordan - decided to do something about the group’s growing online presence.
She joined GhostSec, a group of online activists affiliated with major hacktivist movement Anonymous, seven months ago.
“Our group is determined to fight terrorism whether it is ISIS, [Nigerian hardline group] Boko Haram or whoever is trying to fight humanity because souls are born free, who are they to take them?”
Abdallat spends “many hours” a day tracking ISIS’ bloody plots.
In the seven months has been with GhostSec, the group claimed it had taken down two major web forums that managed ISIS’s communications.
“We can confirm we’ve had a devastating effect on their organization through the massive disruption of the communications and technical infrastructure,” Abdallat said.
“We have shut down over 100 Islamic State websites, and suspended 55,000 Twitter accounts that were used for transmission of propaganda, threat intelligence and recruitment.”
Asked how come she does not mind unveiling her identity as an anti-ISIS hacktivist, Abdallat said: “First of all, we track their [ISIS] cyber-attacks and planning. So, if they are planning anything against me, I will find it easily, and they are not. They are just a big mouth.”
The Internet plays a formidable role in the ISIS’s recruiting policy as the group continues to spread its propaganda despite the clamp down on militant-affiliated websites and accounts.
She said people who are joining ISIS are “the desperate people of the world.”
“They are easy to be brainwashed, and some of them got really lucky to escape after they found the truth when they joined ISIS,” she added.
The deadly attack on French satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo in January also played a role in Abdallat’s decision to join GhostSec as she realized the threats posed by ISIS’s ability to reach and connect with people online.
“We felt that enough was not being done to combat the immense threat that is ISIS, and that we could put our skills together for the greater good of humanity,” Abdallat said.
“We are from many backgrounds, but our goal is a common one: The elimination of ISIS and the fall of the caliphate,” she said adding that the group has many women onboard.
“There are several female cyber-activists fighting ISIS, and I’m honored to be representing them.
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