Malaysian police said that a Kosovan man has been arrested for supposedly hacking into a computer database and supplying information on US security officials to the so-called Islamic State group.
Ardit Ferizi, in his 20s, was detained on 15 September. He is thought to be the leader of a hacker group called Kosova Hacker's Security (KHS). Ferizi will be extradited to the US.
According to a statement from the US Department of Justice, Ferizi, known by the moniker “Th3Dir3ctorY”, hacked in the system of a US company to take the personal details of 1,351 US military and government staff. He faces up to 35 years in prison with charges of computer hacking and identity theft.
"Before today, if security professionals were asked to list types of sensitive data requiring protection, the very fact that someone was a member of the US military would never make the list. It used to be that American servicemen and women needed to be seen in uniform to make them a target. Now terrorists – with the help of their cyber-criminal vendors – can target them from half-way around the world," said Jeff Hill, channel marketing manager at STEALTHbits.
Malaysian police said Ferizi went to Malaysia in August of last year to study computer science in Kuala Lumpur. Between June and August this year, Ferizi is alleged to have passed the data to IS member Junaid Hussain, who posted the details online with a threat to target the officials.
“Early investigation found the suspect communicated with one of the right-hand men of IS terrorist group in Syria to hack a few servers containing information and details of US security personnel and team. The details were then transferred to the operation unit of the IS group for further action,” Malaysian police said.
More than 100 people with suspected connections to IS were arrested this year in Malaysia.