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Operation Glowing Symphony–Stopping Terrorism Recruitment and Propaganda

ISIS/United States: Recently declassified reports have been released outlining how the United States managed to carry out cyber-attacks, combatting the propaganda campaigns being used by ISIS in 2016. The documents were released under the Freedom of Information Act request. The first attack to combat these radicalization and recruitment tactics by the Islamic State was carried out by Joint Task Force Ares (JTF-Ares). The first operation consisted of disrupting the spread of propaganda by hacking or hijacking social media accounts and taking down websites that were being used by the terrorist organization. The operation was approved by former President Barack Obama to be a 30-day campaign but was later extended to 120 days. The operation is considered by many to be a major milestone in combating terrorism and demonstrates the efficiency of the US offensive cyber capability.

Analyst Notes

This operation shows that the United States carried out offensive cyber-attacks against a foreign terrorist organization. Although it is known by many that this is being done by the United States government, there are limited examples of what the operations are and how they are being carried out. It was felt by some that this information was not extremely sensitive at this time and could be released to the public. This release could also serve as a warning that terrorists use social media for recruitment and Americans should be aware to identify messages that may promote violence in the online sources that their children are exposed to.
The original report from Security Affairs can be read here: