Open main menu

Junaid Hussain c. 1994 – 25 August 2015) was a British Pakistani black hat hacker and propagandist under the nom de guerre of Abu Hussain al-Britani who supported the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL).[1] Hussain, who was raised in Birmingham in a family originally from Pakistan, was jailed in 2012 for hacking Tony Blair's accounts and posting his personal information online.[2][3][4][5][6][7][8] Hussain left the UK around 2013 for Syria.

Hacking and propagandizingEdit

Hussain was known as TriCk from the disbanded hacking group TeaMp0isoN.[2][9] He was a key figure in a group of Islamist computer hackers who call themselves the Cyber Caliphate. The Islamist hackers have been involved in defacing French websites during the 2015 Île-de-France attacks and the Twitter feeds of the U.S. Central Command, Newsweek and the International Business Times.[1] The group is believed to be behind the use of a spearphishing attack that exposed identities of rebel media groups.[10]

In March 2015, Hussain released a list of U.S. military personnel requesting that ISIL followers execute people on the list. While Hussain claimed to have breached US Department of Defense servers, the FBI assessed that the list was cobbled together from news articles, social media posts, and public records.[11]

Hussain was in online contact with one of the gunmen behind the Curtis Culwell Center attack of May 2015. Before the incident, an attacker posted online statements on Twitter, in which he requested others to follow Hussain's account. After the shooting occurred, Hussain wrote: "Allahu Akbar!!!! 2 of our brothers just opened fire."[11][original research?]

Attempts on life and deathEdit

An attempted lethal drone strike on Hussain instead killed three civilians and injured five about ten days before his death.[12]

The Sunday Times reported that US officials intended to assassinate Hussain, listing him as the third highest ISIL target on the Pentagon's "kill list" behind Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi and Mohammed Emwazi due to his role in inspiring international lone wolf terrorism.[13][14][15]

US government sources reported Hussain was killed with two of his bodyguards in a drone strike on a car in a Raqqa petrol station on 24 August 2015.[a] Hussain, 21 at the time of his reported death, was married to Sally Jones, 45, a fellow Briton who had joined ISIS, who denied his death through IS-linked Twitter accounts.[16][17]

Hussain and his wife regularly used their young son as a human shield to prevent drone attacks. On the occasion when he was killed he had ventured out without the child.[18] Jones later confirmed he was killed. Hussain was reportedly killed in a drone strike that was targeted as a result of his clicking on a compromised Internet link.[19]

See alsoEdit

NotesEdit

  1. ^ Because of the international dateline, the date in Iraq time is different to the date in U.S. time. The Pentagon's report noted the drone strike occurred on 24 August while The New York Times reported the strike occurred on 25 August.

ReferencesEdit

  1. ^ a b Russell Myers (13 January 2015). "British hacker suspected of cyber attack on US Central Command Twitter account". mirror.
  2. ^ a b RFSID. "Cyber Caliphate: ISIS Plays Offense on the Web". Recorded Future.
  3. ^ "DailyTech - Anonymous vs. the ISIS Cyber Caliphate -- War in the Middle East Goes Digital". dailytech.com.
  4. ^ Thomas Halleck (14 January 2015). "Junaid Hussain: CyberCaliphate Leader And ISIS Member Was Behind CENTCOM Hack, Report Says". International Business Times.
  5. ^ Emma Graham-Harrison. "Could Isis's 'cyber caliphate' unleash a deadly attack on key targets?". the Guardian.
  6. ^ Jamie Dettmer. "Digital jihad: ISIS, Al Qaeda seek a cyber caliphate to launch attacks on US". Fox News.
  7. ^ "ISIS is ramping up efforts to mount a massive cyber attack". Security Affairs.
  8. ^ Sam Biddle. "Investigators Think This UK ISIS Defector Is Behind the CENTCOM Hack". Weird Internet. Gawker Media. Archived from the original on 2016-02-04.
  9. ^ Tim Lister, CNN (7 May 2015). "Cheerleaders and freelancers: new actors in terrorism - CNN.com". CNN.
  10. ^ CBSNews. "ISIS hacker behind U.S. military "hit list" believed killed in Syria". News Agency.
  11. ^ a b Holly Yan, CNN (May 5, 2015). "Who are the gunmen behind the Texas shooting?". CNN.
  12. ^ Ackerman, Spencer; Ross, Alice (January 29, 2016). "Airstrike targeting British hacker working for Isis killed three civilians instead, US admits". The Guardian. Guardian News & Media Limited. Retrieved January 29, 2016.
  13. ^ Gadher, Dipesh (August 2, 2015). "British hacker is No 3 on Pentagon 'kill list'". The Sunday Times. Times Newspapers Limited. Retrieved September 1, 2015.
  14. ^ "Junaid Hussain: How a Boy From Birmingham Became ISIS's Leading Hacker". Newsweek. August 27, 2015. Retrieved September 1, 2015.
  15. ^ Safi, Michael (August 12, 2015). "Isis 'hacking division' releases details of 1,400 Americans and urges attacks". The Guardian. Guardian News & Media Limited. Retrieved September 1, 2015.
  16. ^ Meredith, Charlotte (August 28, 2015). "The Islamic State's Top Hacker Was Killed in a US Drone Strike". VICE. Retrieved August 29, 2015.
  17. ^ "Sally Jones". Counter Extremism Project. Retrieved 27 June 2019.
  18. ^ Cockburn, Harry (12 October 2017). "Sally Jones: Who was the 'White Widow'? What we know about the Isis member reportedly killed in a US drone strike". The Independent. Retrieved 22 July 2018.
  19. ^ Cartledge, James (September 16, 2015). "Isis terrorist Junaid Hussain killed in drone attack after boffins 'crack group's code'". Birmingham Live. Reach plc. Retrieved 27 June 2019.

External linksEdit