Images, videos and memes of a stylised Anime girl are part of a massive attempt to down the so-called Islamic State (IS) group by using cyberwarfare.
It’s hoped that by loading up the internet with thousands of images and videos of the melon-loving Isis-Chan Anime character information about IS will become buried.
There’s also a push for other users on social to report the rogue accounts to respective site moderators, for the more official suspensions to take place.
In account after account, the profile picture has been replaced by one of the Anime character while others have been duly suspended after the user behind the account was exposed as being linked to IS.
But that’s just a small part of the ongoing attacks directed at IS by online groups. Anonymous – a group of hackers, crackers, hactivists and more – started #OpIsis earlier this year.
It aims to destroy the terrorism group through its own methods – releasing social media and email account details for its members to then take them down. Methods range from spamming social media accounts to setting off denial of service (DOS) attacks on websites.
It’s in this way Anonymous and related groups Ghost Security and CtrlSec (Controlling Section) is turning its efforts towards IS.
Anonymous released more than 9,000 account details in March and followed it up with more than 14,000 additional accounts in April, posting them on the site Pastebin, along with a message directed at IS – also known as ISIS and ISIL.
“ISIS; We will hunt you, Take down your sites, Accounts, Emails, and expose you… From now on, no safe place for you online… You will be treated like a virus, And we are the cure… We Own The Internet… We are Anonymous, We are Legion, We do not forgive, We do not forget, Expect us.”
One Anonymous member circulated a picture of a downed YouTube channel which allegedly contained IS propaganda.
Earlier this month the group seemingly revealed how #OpIsis – Project Collapse was performing.
As of today Ghost Security is claiming further sites taken offline, Twitter accounts suspended and YouTube videos removed, making it harder for those users to quickly post online.
Ghost Security’s mission is to “eliminate the online presence of Islamic extremist groups…in an effort to stymie their recruitment and limit their ability to organise international terrorist efforts”.
But the various groups – loosely connected – are not without rules.
When the Anime character is deployed she has to remain respectful of the religion of Islamic as this cartoon shows.
Rashad Ali, a senior fellow at the Institute For Strategic Dialogue which works on ways to counter extremism told the BBC the online approach from Anonymous and others did have merit.
“The action is both positive and negative,” he said. “Practically speaking, you are getting rid of a whole host of people from the public domain,” he said, adding that such a large takedown can undoubtedly have an impact.
“However, it’s not a solution because what we now need to do is not just take down accounts but actually provide new narratives for people. This is where we are failing. We have not had a strong, thought-out counter-argument to IS’s message.”