In recent weeks ISIS hackers have published the names of soldiers and other Americans, including personal details such as home addresses. ISIS has urged it followers to target these nearly 3,600 individuals, announcing, "We want them #Dead."
However American officials played down the seriousness of the threat, the accuracy of the information published, and the cyber abilities of the terrorist hackers.
"Every so often, some group… puts out names to scare people," said Senator Charles Schumer (D, NY) with a measure of apathy. "So far, praise God, there's been no follow-up on any of this.” Despite that, the FBI spent several days contacting Americans on the list.
The list includes many government employees, as well as "average residents" from various parts of New York City. It was issued by United Cyber Caliphate – a group of ISIS-supporting hackers recently formed by the merger of several smaller cyber teams. One report states that ISIS's previous cyber warfare team, known as the Cyber Caliphate Army, was believed to consist at times of as few as one person – and that he was killed in a drone attack in 2015.
The Cyber Caliphate Army's biggest achievement, two years ago, was the takeover of the U.S. military's Central Command, known as CENTCOM.
The new United Cyber Caliphate also announced that it had stolen data on U.S. State Dept. employees, including their names and phone numbers. The announcement was made in a statement labeled "Wanted to be killed," though the list was withdrawn after a short time. Last month, a pro-ISIS group hacked into the New Jersey Transit Police website and posted the personal information of officers there.
The security firm Flashpoint says it believes the new United Cyber Caliphate army is more of a propaganda stunt than a genuine threat. It doubts the hacker terrorists will have the capabilities to match the attacks and defenses of the U.S. Cyber Command any time soon.