IS plans to hit US air bases in Mideast, warn Israelis who hacked into IS web group
Israeli cyberintelligence group Intsights says it breached Telegram group run by jihadists, found list of US bases in Kuwait, Bahrain, Saudi Arabia to be attacked
3 August, 2016
The Islamic State terror group has issued a specific call to leading activists to target air bases used by the US in Kuwait, Bahrain and Saudi Arabia, an Israeli cyberintelligence company that claimed to have hacked the jihadist organization’s Telegram communication group warned on Wednesday.
Intsights, a Herzliya-based intelligence company, hacked into what it said is the Islamic State’s Telegram group on the dark web in which the organization’s operatives disseminate terror attack plans among 500 leading activists, according to a (Hebrew) report on Channel 10.
The Israeli company, which is run by former IDF intelligence officers, told the TV station the Islamic State uploads potential targets to the group, and in recent months some of the targets have been hit by individuals claiming allegiance to the terror organization.
One such target presaged in the Telegram group was the church in Normandy, France, where local priest Father Jacques Hamel, 85, was murdered by jihadists on July 26. The call to carry out the attack in Normandy was issued via the Telegram group a few months ago, said Intsights Alon Arvatz.
The team managed to infiltrate the covert group, and on Monday, said Arvatz, a list of “extremely specific targets” was published, “with a call to attack them.” The list features numerous air fields used by the US Air Force, but with a number of “priority targets” highlighted in Kuwait, Bahrain and Saudi Arabia, he said.
“Telegram is completely encrypted and there’s no fear (among its users) that someone will intercept the messages and understand what you wrote,” Intsight co-founder Arvatz told Channel 10. The group it hacked is accessed by Islamic State members who in turn introduce fellow Islamic State members, he said. “I need to know someone who can vouch for me that I’m cleared for the group, and only then can I join.”
A Channel 10 TV screenshot apparently showing Islamic State’s Telegram internet group (Channel 10 screenshot)
The Intsight team did not detail how it managed to hack into the group. Arvatz said the group would doubtless be closed down now it had been exposed on Israeli television.
If the Israeli company indeed breached the much-vaunted encryption of Telegram’s communication channels, it would be the second known hack of its kind in a week.
Earlier this week, Reuters reported that a group believed to be backed by Iran’s Revolutionary Guards Corps hacked into Telegram accounts in Iran.
Arvatz said that earlier this week a member of the group uploaded a list of American air bases in the Persian Gulf and around the globe that could be potential targets. A map uploaded to the Telegram group pinpoints air force bases in the United States, Canada, United Kingdom and other countries of Western Europe, as well as Israeli air force bases.
Among the high priority targets were air bases in Bahrain and Kuwait being used by the American-led coalition to strike Islamic State targets in Syria and Iraq.