In a speech on Wednesday, the Australian government revealed that it’s been engaged in a targeted cyberwar against ISIS.
“Just as the Coalition forces were preparing to attack the terrorists’ position, our offensive cyber operators were at their keyboards in Australia — firing highly targeted bits and bytes into cyberspace,” said Australian Signals Directorate (ASD) Director-General Mike Burgess, who runs the agency’s cyberwar efforts, during a speech.
As part of the offensive, Burgess said, ASD operatives posed online as ISIS leaders to obstruct recruiting efforts and disabled ISIS communication systems. In a puzzling digression, he also pushed back against cliches about hackers.
“There’s always a geek — invariably a guy — wearing black and working in low-lighting, instantly hacking into systems at will,” Burgess said. “Usually, they are cavalier — with no regard for the law — punching the ‘enter’ key to blow up buildings or do impossible things with electrical surges. The real hackers in ASD couldn’t be further from this stereotype.”