UK hacker for ISIS killed in US drone strike in Syria

2015-08-27 09:19

Washington - A British hacker who US and European officials said became a top cyber expert for ISIS in Syria has been killed in a US drone strike, a US source familiar with the matter said on Wednesday.

It was the second reported killing of a senior ISIS figure in the last eight days after the group's second-in-command was killed in a US air strike in Iraq on August18.

The source indicated that the US Defence Department was likely involved in the drone strike that killed British hacker Junaid Hussain, a former Birmingham, England, resident.

A CSO Online report said the strike took place on Tuesday near Raqqa, Syria. Hussain, aged 21, moved to Syria sometime in the last two years.

US and European government sources told Reuters earlier this year that they believed Hussain was the leader of CyberCaliphate, a hacking group which in January attacked a Twitter account belonging to the Pentagon, though the sources said they did not know if he was personally involved.

While the American sources said they were confident he was killed in the strike, some people disputed that view. Two Twitter accounts that US intelligence experts say are connected to ISIS reported that his wife had said he was still alive.

Seamus Hughes, a former US government counterterrorism expert now affiliated with George Washington University, said that while the reports came from Twitter accounts known to be connected to ISIS, it was not possible to determine whether they were accurate.

"It could be a concerted attempt to deceive," Hughes said.

Cyber security experts have said they believe that Hussain and other hackers working for ISIS lack the skills needed to launch serious attacks such as ones that could shut down computer networks or damage critical infrastructure.

"He wasn't a serious threat. He was most likely a nuisance hacker," said Adam Meyers, vice president of cybersecurity firm CrowdStrike. "It was his involvement in recruitment, communications and other ancillary support that would have made him a target."

In 2012 he was jailed for six months for stealing former British Prime Minister Tony Blair's address book from an account maintained by a Blair adviser.

Hussain recently had become a subject of considerable US interest. However, the sources denied a British news report that he was No 3 on a drone target list, saying other ISIS commanders were regarded as far more dangerous.

Read more on:    uk  |  syria  |  security

Join the conversation!

24.com encourages commentary submitted via MyNews24. Contributions of 200 words or more will be considered for publication.

We reserve editorial discretion to decide what will be published.
Read our comments policy for guidelines on contributions.

24.com publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

Comment on this story
0 comments
Comments have been closed for this article.

Inside News24

 
/News

Book flights

Compare, Book, Fly

Traffic Alerts
There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.
 
English
Afrikaans
isiZulu

Hello 

Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.


Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire 24.com network.

Settings

Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.




Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.