Pro-ISIS group's kill list features names of Nashville residents - WSMV Channel 4

Pro-ISIS group's kill list features names of Nashville residents

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United Cyber Caliphate is a pro-ISIS hacking group. (WSMV) United Cyber Caliphate is a pro-ISIS hacking group. (WSMV)
NASHVILLE, TN (WSMV) -

The Channel 4 I-Team has confirmed that FBI agents have been notifying certain people in the Nashville area, warning them that their names are on a kill list circulated by a pro-ISIS group.

The list is being peddled by the United Cyber Caliphate. Investigators are still trying to understand why the information of seemingly random civilians ended up on a hit list.

She’s never criticized ISIS publicly, never been to the Middle East and never served in a war. But none of that kept one Nashville woman from being visited by the FBI.

“I could never imagine why the FBI was at my door. I never in a million years could dream it was something like this,” said the woman, who asked not to be identified.

The woman said that according to the FBI, her name, address and email address had appeared on an encrypted kill list circulated by the United Cyber Caliphate.

“It has not left my mind since he told me,” the woman said.

Earlier this year, the group released lists targeting thousands of Americans across the country. The list of names came out on an app that very few could decipher, but the FBI could.

“I asked him how many names in Nashville. He told me 50,” the woman said.

The FBI would not confirm that number, but acknowledged they have been notifying people in Nashville for almost a month.

“When we find information like this, we’re always doing our best to contact the public, let them know, even if we don’t understand why necessarily that information was out there or compromised,” said FBI assistant special agent-in charge Matthew Espenshade.

The United Cyber Caliphate is known as a hacking group. It’s unclear why the names were chosen, but the information about the people is easily found online.

“So it’s a matter of not necessarily hacking but really searching,” Espenshade said.

He went on to say that some of the information may have come from open source material, such as business sites and social media profiles.

Espenshade said as of now, no one on the list has been attacked.

Experts on terrorism said the kill list is a scare tactic.

“When you are randomly targeting civilians, you are sowing fear into the populace and that can be more effective than targeting known military or political targets,” said Dr. Susan Turner-Haynes, a professor at Lipscomb University.

Turner-Haynes said in general, the likelihood of being involved in a terror attack is very low.

The FBI said they still have a moral duty to notify people. The victim said she appreciates that practice.

“If your name is on a kill list, you want to know so you can do what it takes to protect yourself if need be, even if it’s just to be more aware of your surroundings,” the woman said.

To keep online information secure, experts recommend keeping your social media accounts private, changing your passwords often, and never answering unsolicited emails or phone calls asking for your personal information.

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