Pro-Islamic State (IS) jihadis have recently increased their efforts to remain anonymous online, especially in light of the coalition attack against the IS, including by circulating various tutorials pertaining to online anonymity and security in recent weeks. The tutorials aim at diminishing jihadis’ digital footprints in order for them to remain hidden from the “Crusader alliance.” Among the recommendations are ways to get rid of metadata, which the enemy can use to reveal a jihadi’s identity and location. These safety precautions, as one jihadi noted, are aimed not only at protecting the IS’s mujahideen but that of its contingency of online supporters as well, who face the danger of being arrested or even killed.
Jihadis Discuss “Ways Of Hiding From The Crusader Alliance”
On September 25, 2014, IS supporters circulated an instruction sheet that included various recommendations on maintaining online anonymity. The sheet, which was called “Ways of Hiding from the Crusader Alliance,” was written by Abu Khadija Al-Muhajir, aka Iraqe Hacker. Al-Muhajir wrote: “After the declaration of the abhorrent Crusader alliance against the Islamic State and its supporters, it became mandatory upon us to be careful of them since the targeted weren’t only the mujahideen, but their supporters as well. And targeting the mujahideen will be [done] by bombing their locations. As for us, the supporters, we don’t rule out that our homes will be targeted [as well] after our locations are determined, [and that will be done] either by bombardment or by arrest.”
Al-Muhajir provided various methods to hide someone’s identity while online. For example, he suggested changing the IP and MAC addresses (known as IP and MAC spoofing, respectively). He also suggested modifying the DNS, either manually or via a program. Below are a number of images from Al-Muhajir’s instructions:
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