Pakistan Cyber Army (PCA) is an organization of Pakistani hackers, which claims to represent ethical hacking and has targeted hundreds of Indian websites. Its Facebook wall is used by its followers to share hacking-related content and tutorials. The PCA joined Facebook on December 21, 2009 using the handle PakistanCyberArmyPCA and is liked by nearly 14,000 people as of April 6, 2014. An April 20, 2013 post revealed its location as Karachi.
The PCA describes itself as a “board of professional ethical hackers and server system security professionals.” It seems that before joining Facebook, it defaced some Indian websites in response to hackers like Indian Cyber Warriors and HMG. It outlined its mission by explaining why it defaced the Indian websites: “Indian Cyber Warriors, HMG have been playing around with Pakistani communities and websites for a long time now and on top of that they are thinking that Pakistanis can’t do anything?” It added: “These defacements were not dedicated for the fame of our group name PCA. Pakistan Cyber Army, this group’s name, was created 5 minutes before we defaced these websites. This means we don’t have any intention to spread our names…”
A review of its Facebook wall for the period between 2009 and 2012 indicates that the PCA itself did not post anything significant before 2013, but its followers made numerous posts on the page. These posts indicate hacking of Indian websites by hackers using pseudonyms like: ZHC XtReMiSt, ỮŁŦƗмΔŦ€ ĦΔĆкєя, Pakleets, TeaMp0isoN, BanneD, Innocent_Hacker, Zero, XtReMist and Shadow008, the last appearing to be a lead hacker associated with PCA. A post dated April 17, 2011 wondered if it was a platform to defame Pakistan: “Is it a conspiracy to defame Pakistan? First, it was Al-Qaeda, then the Taliban and now the PCA.” A post dated August 21, 2011 asked a similar question: “we lost Bangladesh; we lost Kargil; we are losing Kashmir; what is the meaning of ‘Pakistan army’?”
On April 24, 2011, A User Posted A Video Tutorial Of How To Hack, But It Was Removed By YouTube; On August 26, 2011, A Hacker With The Facebook Handle malikusman91 Posted A Video Tutorial On How To Hack Facebook Accounts
For the first twelve months after joining Facebook, the group did not publish much. A review of its Facebook posts up to December 2010 indicates that it hacked Indian websites like syscontech.in, which belongs to a software company. On October 24, 2010, it posted a message: “Do you support or not support Pakistan and India cyber war?” The post was liked 157 times and shared 167 times. On the same day, it also posted a statement saying that hacking is not for negative purposes or for the purpose of stealing someone’s data.
It is only in 2011 that the PCA Facebook wall began to see frequent activity, and there seems to be some posts on its page from Indian hackers. A review of its posts from January to December 2011 reveals the following: It received generic requests to hack websites deemed guilty of defaming the Prophet Muhammad and also the website of the Indian cricket team; on February 4, some rival hackers going by the names Coding Devil and Iron Will posted on its wall the names of websites they had hacked; on February 10, a Dubai-based user with the handle S.AliZohaib asked how he could join the PCA; on February 12, a Pakistani national – pak.serzamin.9 – posted on PCA’s wall an image of Pakistani scientist Dr. Aafia Siddiqui, who is imprisoned in the U.S. for trying to kill U.S. soldiers in Afghanistan, juxtaposed against an image of Raymond Davis, a CIA operative jailed in Lahore for killing two Pakistanis, who was later released; some Indian hackers using handles such as shijin.shijil and Istillrules taunted the PCA with comments such as “Hail mother India” and “you guys hacked by ICA [Indian Cyber Army]”, etc.
A number of posts on its wall also celebrated it for making Pakistan proud while others requested it to teach them hacking and help trace the IP address of Facebook users. On April 24, 2011, a user posted a video tutorial of how to hack, but the video has been removed by YouTube. On August 26, 2011, a hacker with Facebook handle malikusman91 posted a video tutorial on how to hack Facebook accounts, but the video was again removed by YouTube. On May 5, 2011 it received a request to hack cufi.org, the website of Christians United for Israel. A June 2 post on its wall indicated that Al-Qaeda magazine online was defaced by the British intelligence. A June 8 post indicated that a hacker associated with PCA hacked the website of Hakforum Canada. A June 14 post indicated the hacking of the website of Spain’s national police. On May 28, it was requested to hack premium accounts on Hotfile and Rapidshare, data hosting sites. On June 19, a Sharjah-based Pakistani youth using the handle syedzain.haiderabidi.3 asked where he could get a diploma in cyber terrorism.
The PCA-allied hackers seem to have hacked some prominent websites based in India and Israel. The website of Bharat Sanchar Nigam Limited (BSNL), the Indian telecom operator, was hacked and the data of 10,000 customers was stolen, according to a July 26, 2011 post; the website of Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) of India was hacked as per a post dated July 28, 2011; Israel-based websites such as truthofmessiah.com, britahmmessianic.org, biblicaldesigns.com and ihebra.com were hacked, according to a post dated July 29, 2011. On October 5, 2011, a hacker posted that “operation Israel” to hack Israeli websites was about to begin. The PCA’s Indian rival hackers also hacked a number of Pakistani sites. The website of Central Punjab University was hacked by UCP as per a post dated July 26, 2011. As per a September 25, 2011 post, Indians hacked a number of Pakistani websites such as tckpk.com, kptourism.com, nwfptourism.com.pk, capsrokind.com.pk, jkinstruments.pk and gandharapakistan.com. To mark 26/11, the day of the Mumbai terror attacks on November 26, 2008, Indians cyber activists hacked a number of Pakistani websites, according to a post dated November 30, 2011.
A January 14, 2012 Post Stated: “The Zionists And Other Haters Have A Campaign Running Across The Internet Against Muslims”; A May 1, 2012 Post: “The Entire Mainstream Zionist Media Has Initiated A Massive Maligning Campaign Against Pakistan”
A review of the posts on PCA’s wall from January 2012 through December 2013 also reveals a similar pattern, with Pakistani Facebook users requesting it to teach them hacking, reporting about hacking of Pakistani websites by Indian hackers and seeking assistance, or publishing reports about India-based websites hacked by those associated with PCA. However, from January 2012 onwards, some posts of an ideological and political nature begin to appear on PCA’s wall, posted by others.
A January 6, 2012 post quoted a hadith in support of Malik Mumtaz Qadri, an elite Pakistani security guard who killed liberal Punjab governor Salman Taseer for advocating reforms in Pakistan’s controversial blasphemy laws, stating that the prophet of Islam himself had ordered the killing of a blasphemer. A January 14, 2012 post stated: “The Zionists and other haters have a campaign running across the internet against Muslims.” A May 1, 2012 post touched on this theme: “The entire mainstream Zionist media has initiated a massive maligning campaign against Pakistan and now Pakistan is being demonized based upon mammoth lies and propaganda to cover American loss in Afghanistan.” It also published a list of websites to be hacked, but the list has been removed. A November 20, 2012 post listed the following Israeli websites defaced by it: hql.co.il, joomla-israel.co.il, joomla-israel.net, israel-construction.com, israel-electric-gates.com, etc.
On March 4, a video was posted showing an Indian mob beating a Muslim youth. A March 13 post contained a poem in Urdu celebrating martyrdom: “They remain always alive, the martyrs do not die; what to speak of an enemy, they do not fear death, the martyrs do not die…” A March 28 post described the Pakistan army as the “Army of Allah”; another post the same day described the Syrian population as 90 percent Muslims, 10 percent Alawis, meaning that the Shi’ite Alawis are not Muslims. On November 7, 2012, someone posted a challenge for Islamic hackers to develop software that could remove all content from YouTube deemed to be blasphemous of the Prophet Muhammad. An April 20, 2013 post read: “We request all our fans. Please provide us anti-Islamic, anti-Pakistan Facebook pages, websites, and blog links.”
On February 12, 2012 it received a request on its wall from someone in Bangladesh to help him hack Indian websites. A Facebook user requested PCA followers to join the Bangladesh Cyber Army (bdcyberarmy) – a Facebook page that no longer exists. However, it appears Pakistani websites were hacked by some Bangladeshi hackers. The PCA rarely posted something on its wall before 2013, as most posts are by its followers. However, on September 29, 2012, it posted a big feat, stating proudly that the PCA team hacked the radar site of Indian airlines. A December 30, 2013 post by PCA also celebrated the hacking of the Bangladeshi prime minister’s website. Earlier, a number of posts dated November 24, 2012 noted that Google’s Pakistan search engine – google.com.pk – was hacked, possibly by Turkish hackers; or maybe there was some technical issue with Google that Pakistani hackers didn’t understand.
On Anti-Islamic Websites: “One Must Keep In Mind That For The Most Part, These People Are Interested In Nothing More Than To Arouse Feelings Of Hatred And Fury Against Muslims”
In January 2013 the PCA began posting regularly on its wall. On February 15, it noted that the website of Pakistan’s leading television channel GEO News was hacked for ignoring the plight of Kashmiri Muslims. On March 29, 2013, the PCA expressed sadness that Pakistani leaders did nothing for the Pakistani hacker Usman Ahzaz who was extradited to the United States from Britain. On April 6, it claimed to have hacked over a thousand Indian websites as revenge for an attack by Indian hackers on the website of the Election Commission of Pakistan. Over the course of the year, it revealed the names of a number of Indian websites it had hacked.
On April 20, 2013, the PCA posted a long note on its Facebook wall, titled “Dealing with anti-Islamic websites and Facebook pages.” The note, telling Muslims that trying to get these websites off the internet was a waste of time and energy, explained the purpose of anti-Islamic websites: “Our first reaction is to get angry and get all fired up with a zeal to do something about it when we find these offensive sites. It is indeed a good sign of strong faith if we get angry when our faith is under attack, and may Allah always keep our faith in Islam strong. One must keep in mind that for the most part, these people are interested in nothing more than to arouse feelings of hatred and fury against Muslims.” Over the course of 2013, its posts paid tributes to Pakistani soldiers, greeted Pakistanis on important days such as Pakistan’s Independence Day, ridiculed the Indian military, expressed support to Kashmiris, opposed U.S. drone strikes on the Taliban, and celebrated the messages of Muhammad Ali Jinnah, the founder of Pakistan.
In 2014, the PCA has fewer posts, having shared nothing during the months of January and February. During March and up to April 5, the date of this review, its posts included a link to a report about the deaths of 193 children in Pakistan’s interior Sindh province due to hunger and news reports about the hacking of several NATO websites, a post telling Pakistani women to register police cases if their images are misused on the internet by someone, and a post dated March 20, 2014 sharply critical of liberal Pakistani satirist Nadeem Paracha, noting: “This anarchist pig face has crossed all limits of civil arguments. I know how much this heroin addict loves being hated.”
Source: Facebook.com/PakistanCyberArmyPCA, accessed April 6, 2014. The original English of some of the posts has been lightly edited for standardization and clarity.