Teenage hackers have laid claim to uncovering an astonishing link between prominent ISIS Twitter accounts and the UK government.
They claim that a number of ISIS-linked social media accounts are being run from within the Department of Works and Pensions.
The group of four teenage hackers call themselves VandaSec and have uncovered dramatic evidence that indicates that no less than three ISIS-linked social media accounts can be traced directly back to email addresses within the Department of Works and Pensions’ London Offices.
Whenever a computer or internet connected device logs onto the internet it is given a unique IP address – essentially a type of identification number that confirms a number of details about that specific device, including its location.
The group of hackers have shown details to the press of IP addresses used by a group of three digital jihadis to access their pro-ISIS Twitter accounts. The Twitter accounts were then used to actively carry out online ISIS propaganda and terrorist recruitement.
Initially, the IP addresses appear to be based in Saudi Arabia but when the hackers delved deeper, using specialist tools, they appeared to link back to the UK government.
“Don’t you think that’s strange? We traced these accounts back to London, the home of the British intelligence services.”
VandaSec have sparkled wild rumours with their claims that someone within the Department of Works and Pensions is potentially running a group of pro-jihadi Twitter accounts. They do suggest, however, that another potential reason is that the intelligence services knowingly created these accounts as a so-called “honeypot” trap, to lure wannabe jihadis.
When members of the British press traced the IP addresses that VandaSec had obtained, it became clear that they actually pointed to a series of unpublicised transactions between Britain and Saudi Arabia.
It was discovered that the British government sold on a large number of IP addresses to two Saudi Arabian firms.
Once the sale had gone through, in October 2015, the IP addresses were used by extremists to set up ISIS Twitter accounts and spread their vile messages of hate.
An expert from a firm called PCA Predict, discovered a hidden record of the sale of IP addresses, and found that a significant number were transferred to Saudi Arabia.
He has said that it was likely that the IP addresses could still be traced back to the DWP because records of the addresses had not yet been fully updated.
The Cabinet Office has now admitted to selling the IP addresses on to Saudi Telecom and the Saudi-based Mobile Telecommunications Company earlier this year as part of a wider drive to get rid of a large number of the DWP’s IP addresses.
It said the British government can have no control over how these addresses are used after the sale and that it was out of their control to prevent the IP addresses being used to manage ISIS Twitter accounts.
A Cabinet Office spokesperson said:
“The government owns millions of unused IP addresses which we are selling to get a good return for hardworking taxpayers.
We have sold a number of these addresses to telecoms companies both in the UK and internationally to allow their customers to connect to the internet.
We think carefully about which companies we sell addresses to, but how their customers use this internet connection is beyond our control.”
The government did not reveal how much money was made from selling the IP addresses to the pair of Saudi firms, because it regards this information as commercially sensitive.