Anonymous 'hacktivists' declare cyber-war on ISIS

In a span of a few hours, ISIS showed off a supposed bomb that took down a commercial plane, then threatened to attack New York.

They did it by web, worldwide, to foster fear and to recruit.

"Somebody can sit in a bedroom and start attacking," said Sri Sridharan of the Florida Center for Cybersecurity. "That's very different from the traditional wars we have fought in the past."

The war requires a new kind of fighter.

'Anonymous,' with their Guy Fawkes masks, calls themselves "hacktivists," and pledged to take down ISIS' social media.

In the past, they've attacked government servers as a form of protest, but are suddenly in league against ISIS.

"Sometimes enemies come together," said Sridharan.

Anonymous has jammed 6,000 ISIS Twitter accounts by hacking passwords.  Sridharan suspects Anonymous will soon gun for the servers ISIS uses to upload video and magazines.

"They are probably using techniques to penetrate certain systems that everybody might not be aware of."

But there is a potential downfall to all-out cyber war on ISIS: The more you attack, the further underground they go, and the harder it can get to keep an eye on them.

"They might start deploying other means of communicating," offered Sridharan. "Now we don't know how they are going to do that."

One way is the so-called "dark web," which is a collection of sites and tools that are tougher for hackers to find, some of which ISIS is already using.

"They can not completely take down the entire communications link," said Sridharan.

But making it harder for ISIS to upload its ghastly videos and inspire new recruits is step one for a group whose names we'll never know.