The Islamic State (IS) has suffered an apparent insider data breach which could provide Western intelligence agencies with vital information on how to disrupt and dismantle the jihadist movement.
Sky News claimed to have received a USB stick containing information on 22,000 IS recruits, including names, addresses, telephone numbers, places of birth and sponsors into the organization.
The data was apparently collected via detailed questionnaire forms by IS as would-be recruits passed into Syria.
It’s said to have been stolen from the head of IS internal security by a disillusioned former Free Syrian Army convert to the cause, who now claims that the movement has been taken over by former soldiers of Saddam Hussein’s Iraqi Baath party.
As such, this could technically be described as an insider breach – although with the stakes far higher than those facing breached organizations closer to home.
IS recruits from 51 countries including the US, UK and Canada were identified on the list, and while many were known to the West, crucially there are many names on there that weren’t, Sky News claimed.
One of the files is said to be labelled ‘Martyrs’ and apparently contains a list of names of recruits prepared to carry out atrocities on Western targets.
German’s federal police force, the BKA, is also in possession of the documents which have been certified as authentic.
The names may have been collected as far back as 2013, according to the Guardian.
German interior minister, Thomas de Maizière, claimed the documents would help to shine a light on “the underlying structures of this terrorist organisation.”
While the theft of tens of thousands of paper documents by the whistleblower would have been virtually impossible, as has been demonstrated in the past, increasingly powerful thumb drives provide a quick, easy and discrete alternative.