Malaysian authorities have arrested an alleged hacker on charges of having gained unauthorized access to a database of U.S. security officials and passed along their personal information to members of the Islamic State.
According to CNN, Ardit Ferizi, a Kosovo man, first entered Malaysia of last year to study computer science in Kuala Lumpur.
A criminal complaint alleges that one year later between July and August of this year, Ferizi hacked into a computer database belonging to a U.S. company and stole the personally identifiable information of more than 1,000 service people and federal employees.
He then allegedly passed along this stolen information to Islamic State member Junaid Hussain, also known as Abu Hussain al-Britani.
“Early investigation found the suspect communicated with one of the right-hand man of IS terrorist group in Syria to hack a few servers containing information and details of US security personnel and team,” Malaysian police said, as reported by BBC News. “The details were then transferred to the operation unit of the IS group for further action.”
In August, Hussain posted on Twitter a link to a document that included the names, email addresses, and telephone numbers of the security officials whose information Ferizi compromised. That document included the following message:
“We are in your emails and computer systems, watching and recording your every move. We have your names and addressees … we are extracting confidential data and passing on your personal information to the soldiers of the khilafah [the political system that implements Islamic policies] who soon with the permissions of Allah will strike at your necks in your own lands.”
It is unclear whether any U.S. service people or officials were directly harmed as a result of this hack.
Ferizi, who is one of approximately 100 individuals to have been arrested by Malaysia on charges of being linked to the Islamic State, faces up to 35 years in prison if convicted.
He is not the only individual to have hacked in support of the Islamic State. Supporters and/or members of ISIS are known to have also targeted American news outlets, the French television station TV5MONDE, U.S. Central Command’s social media accounts, French municipality websites, and the webpages of several American businesses.