By Debbie Gregory.
Authorities have arrested a Malaysia-based hacker who they accuse of stealing personal information of U.S. military members and giving it to ISIS.
Operating under the pseudonym “Th3Dir3ctorY,” Ardit Ferizi led a group of ethnic Albanian hackers from Kosovo. Malaysian and U.S. authorities say that Ferizi is believed to be leader of Kosova Hacker’s Security. He has been arrested in Kuala Lumpur for computer hacking and allegedly providing the information to the Islamic State group.
Malaysian national police chief Khalid Abu Bakar says the 20 year old man was arrested September 15th. The initial investigations revealed that Ferizi was in contact with a senior Islamic State group leader in Syria.
The data, which includes home addresses and photos, was allegedly passed on to Junaid Hussein, a British hacker who was active on social media recruiting Westerners to join ISIS, authorities said. Hussein was killed in an airstrike in August.
John Carlin, the U.S. Assistant Attorney General said that the case against Ferizi, which combines cybercrime and terror charges, is the first of its kind.
“This arrest demonstrates our resolve to confront and disrupt ISIL’s efforts to target Americans, in whatever form and wherever they occur,” Carlin said in a statement. ISIL is another name for the Islamic extremist group ISIS.
Ferizi entered Malaysia in August, 2014, supposedly to further his computer science studies at a college in Kuala Lumpur. He is under remand on a provisional arrest warrant while authorities in the United States apply for his extradition.
Although Ferizi did little to portray an ideological adherence to jihad, his hacking background and connections made him an ideal pioneer in the jihadi-hacker arena.