HERZLIYA — An emerging Israeli startup firm in the cyber-security sector managed to infiltrate an encrypted ISIS group and retrieve the terror organization’s latest list of international attack targets.
IntSights is a cyber-intelligence startup company founded by three Israeli entrepreneurs in their 20s. The founders are veterans of top IDF intelligence and cyber-warfare units and their clients already include large international establishments such as banks, industry giants and telecommunications companies.
“IntSights is a small company which provides intelligence and incident mitigation in real time by gathering and analyzing data from the darknet, an encrypted and secretive section of the Internet often used by criminal elements,” Alon Arvatz, IntSights’ co-founder and vice president of intelligence told TPS.
“Using the technology we developed, we intercepted the most recent target-list sent by the Islamic State to its operatives around the world.”
IntSights analysts used their expertise to infiltrate a Telegram Messenger chat used by ISIS to communicate internationally.
The Telegram application has been used by the top 500 ISIS operatives to share plans and locations for potential terrorist attacks mandated by ISIS leadership.
“The Telegram app is completely encrypted, which means no fear of someone monitoring your correspondence and understanding what it means,” Arvatz explained.
“That’s why IS moved from traditional social media to Telegram over the last year.”
According to IntSights, the application is used by the ISIS cyber warfare wing, the so-called United Cyber Caliphate, to publish targets in the form of a call to action with the knowledge that someone around the world would answer the call and carry out an attack.
“The church in France that was recently the location of a deadly attack appeared on a target list published several months ago and someone recently decided to answer the call and attacked that very church,” said Arvatz, referring to the July 26 attack in Rouen, France.
“This proves beyond any doubt that there is a direct link between cyber activity and actual terror attacks.”
The newest target list was published on the Telegram group on August 1, and was intercepted by IntSights.
“The long list includes exact coordinates for each and every target, all of which are airports and air bases that are used or could be used by the US Air Force all over the world,” Arvatz said.
The list was followed by a file with a world map on which all the airports and bases were marked with pinpoint precision, as well as aerial footage of the higher priority targets.
Entries in the list that were marked as “preferred targets,” include the Ahmed Al Jaber Air Base in Kuwait and two airports in Bahrain.
The full list includes targets in Latin America, Europe and even Israel.