Israeli Start-Up Hacks ISIS Chats and Finds Newest Target Kill Lists

“The getting of treasures by a lying tongue is a vapour driven to and fro; they [that seek them] seek death.” Proverbs 21:6 (The Israel Bible™)

An emerging Israeli startup firm in the cyber-security sector managed to infiltrate an encrypted Islamic State group and to 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, VP Intelligence and Co-Founder, told Tazpit Press Service (TPS) in an interview. “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 the Islamic State terror group to communicate internationally. The Telegram application has been used by the top 500 Islamic State operatives to share plans and locations for potential terrorist attacks mandated by the IS leadership.

Gal Ben David, CTO, Guy Nizan, CEO and Alon Arvatz VP Intelligence. (Photo: Ofir Abe/IntSights)
Gal Ben David, CTO, Guy Nizan, CEO and Alon Arvatz VP Intelligence. (Photo: Ofir Abe/IntSights)

“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 Islamic State 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. “This proves beyond any doubt that there is a direct link between cyber activity and actual terror attacks.”

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The newest target list was published on the Telegram group on Monday 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 United States Air Force all over the world,” Arvatz told TPS.

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 Bahraini airports. The full list includes targets in Latin America, Europe, and even Israel.