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FBI Warns of Possible Cyberattacks in Retaliation for U.S. Strikes on ISIS

In bulletin to law enforcement and businesses, agency cites recent social media threats and urges recipients to take precautions.

The FBI is warning that extremist hacker groups may mount cyberattacks in response to the U.S. air campaign against ISIS and other jihadist groups in Iraq and Syria. In a bulletin to law enforcement and U.S. businesses exclusively obtained by NBC News, the agency said it has no information on specific cyberthreats against U.S. targets. But it cited “recent nonspecific and probably aspirational threats made on social media platform to carry out cyber as well as physical attacks in response to the U.S. military presence in the Middle East.”

The bulletin, sent Wednesday, listed four separate threats against the U.S. on social media by "hackers and hacktivists" over the last five months and noted that a British hacker known as Abu Hussain Al Britani, previously convicted of hacking the email account of former Prime Minister Tony Blair, had recently been identified in the British news media as being a Syria-based fighter for ISIS. It said cyberattacks could range from website defacement – likely containing “messages expressing support for ISIS and/or … imagery such as the black ISIS flag or graphic imagery, e.g. pictures or videos of ISIS executions” – to denial of service and database attacks.

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