When officials are talking about threats and ISIS, the tendency is to ratchet up everything as high as possible. This is also true of hacking, where officials warn ISIS is trying to hack “critical systems” across the world.
Security experts, however, say the threat is dramatically overblown, and that ISIS hackers are “not much better than tech-savvy teenagers who deface websites for thrills.” That is indeed what most ISIS hacking has boiled down to so far.
It also doesn’t appear to be any kind of priority for ISIS, with those monitoring the group’s online forums saying the notion is scarcely mentioned, and that indeed, hacking attacks are virtually never mentioned in ISIS public statements.
The reality is unlikely to slow the hype, however, as hacking attacks are ill-understood to begin with, and officials are often using hacking as an excuse to single out a politically convenient enemy. Between that and official hopes for more power in cyberspace, the ISIS story is just too good for them to drop, even if the threat isn’t real.