In the wake of Thursday night's shooting death of five police officers during a Black Lives Matter protest, pro-ISIS hackers posted thousands of what it says are Dallas Police Department records on their Telegram social media channel.
These records, listed in Excel spreadsheets, include the names, addresses and races of thousands of people it claims were arrested by Dallas police officers. Also posted were 12,619 alleged records showing the names, ranks, and salaries of what it claims are Dallas police officers. The Dallas Police Department has approximately 3,500 officers, so many the list could be bogus, or many of the people named may no longer be employed by the department.
In addition, the list does not include the names of fallen officers Michael Krol, Patrick Zamarippa, Lorne Ahrens, and Brent Thompson, casting further doubt on its legitimacy. Two people named Michael Smith, the fifth officer killed, do appear, but it is not known whether either entry is the same Michael Smith.
The United Cyber Caliphate, which posted the material, is known for hijacking web sites and posting kill lists of individuals in the U.S. and elsewhere for lone jihadists to hunt down; however, analysts do not believe it has direct ISIS ties. French authorities believe the group may have ties to Russia's hacking apparatus.
Many of its kill lists amount to taking credit for work done by other hackers. It distributed a kill list of more than 4,000 people last month showing their names, addresses and emails. Over half of these people were American, and an Excel spreadsheet with the same names could easily be found online, according to Vocativ. An FBI source concurred, saying that the pro-ISIS hackers lack sophistication.
In many cases, the United Cyber Caliphate's information is outdated.
Nonetheless, intelligence and law-enforcement officials take the lists seriously.
A garbled message, United Cyber Caliphate appears to hope to take advantage of racial tension as a catalyst for further violence. "In a Country warble of Freedom in the Media Are all the 'Black' Criminals ? Or it's just #America is the Terrorist? Speaking of racism Look at the Race chart from #Dallas Police Station and see the ratio of the 'White VS 'Black& Latino.'"
Dallas native and former FBI Assistant Director Oliver "Buck" Revell told the Investigative Project on Terrorism this list needs to be taken seriously in the light of last night's events.
"Potentially there are people looking for a trigger, and even though this may be erroneous this makes for a dangerous circumstance and something to be aware of," Revell said. "People are looking for something to do, and there were plenty of indications of that last night. This needs rigorous attention."
Revell is concerned that extremists even of a non-jihadist nature could use the information to cause harm.
"This should not be ignored, and we need to take as much action as we can," Revell said.