A hacking group dubbed VandaSec is staking claim that it has traced ISIS Twitter accounts to Britain's Department of Work and Pensions (DWP).
VandaSec, composed of four teenagers, claims that it has traced back at least three social media accounts linked to the terror group to the DWP. The IP addresses traced are tied to the DWP per the hacking group, which spilled the beans to Mirror Online.
The hackers unearthed the details and passed it to the publication. While the IP addresses appeared to be in Saudi Arabia initially, they were traced back to the DWP office in London.
"The hacking collective showed Mirror Online details of the IP addresses used by a trio of separate digital jihadis to access Twitter accounts, which have been used to spread extremist propaganda," says the publication.
The publication also quoted a hacker wondering about the irony of the situation that they traced the social media account to London which is home to the intelligent services of the country.
For the unfamiliar, an IP address is assigned to a device on a particular network and can be utilized to trace the device. However these are not fixed anymore and considering IPv4 addresses ran out in July, their value increased considerably. As a result, a market where one could purchase secondhand IP addresses cropped up.
So before one jumps the gun, the DWP is likely not involved in such activities, and it's simply a case of the IP addresses changing hands and unwittingly landing in the hands of ISIS.
The British government has been selling off unused IP addresses, and some have likely made their way to buyers from Saudi Arabia. Several million IP addresses that were unused by the British government and were assigned decades ago in the 1980s and 1990s have been sold by the authorities. How these addresses are currently used are beyond the government's control after selling them.
The government admitted to selling the IP addresses as highlighted by VandaSec in a tweet.
The Cabinet Office has now admitted to selling the IP addresses on to Saudi...
— Vanda (@VandaSec) December 15, 2015
Why did the government sell the unused IP addresses? To get return for its taxpayers. The money the government makes from the sale is not known.
The British government has sold several addresses to telecom companies abroad, as well as in the United Kingdom to enable their subscribers to gain Internet access.
"We think carefully about which companies we sell addresses to, but how their customers use this internet connection is beyond our control," said a Cabinet spokesperson.