Cyber Team Affiliated With Iran-Backed Factions In Iraq Hacks U.S.-Based Iraqi-American YouTuber

July 23, 2020

On July 22, 2020, Sabreen News, a Telegram channel affiliated with Iran-backed factions in Iraq, published a statement on behalf of Ma'sida [i.e. lions] Cyber Team, in which it claimed responsibility for the hacking of the social media accounts of Anas Ebraheem, an Iraqi-American social media influencer.[1]

In the statement, the cyber team, which appears to be an affiliate of Iraqi Shi'ite factions that seek to oust U.S. forces from Iraq, explained that the cyber-attack targeted Ebraheem's YouTube channels, accusing the North Carolina-based video creator of "insulting" Iraq's national symbols.

"Ma'sida Cyber Team claims responsibility for suspending and hacking the YouTube channels of Anas Ebraheem, an American who descends from Iraqi origins," read the statement. It then added that the cyber-attack is a response to Ebraheem insulting "the jihadis of the Hashad Al-Sha'bi [Popular Mobilization Units, or PMU], resistance factions, national symbols, [and] victory leaders," referring to Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps Qods Force Commander Qassim Soleimani and PMU Deputy Commander Abu Mahdi Al-Muhandis, both killed in a U.S. airstrike in January 2020.

"In addition to his promotion of normalization with the extortionist entity [Israel], his family (mama Sua'd[2]) has insulted the family of the martyr [Iraqi cleric Mohammad] Al-Sadr," explained the statement.

The statement said that the cyber-attack mainly targeted Ebraheem's three podcast channels on Youtube, titled Zaggura[3], Inside America,[4] and Podcast.

The statement concluded with the team vowing to serve as "the arm of the Iraqi people, that will strike the international powers of arrogance and the false messiah."[5]


Ma'sida's Statement (Source: Sabreen News, July 22, 2020)

On July 23, Ebraheem confirmed that two of his channels were hacked, and not three as was claimed in the statement. He tweeted that the cyber attackers had "abused" YouTube's copyright claim system in attempt to "silence" him, adding that all his accounts are registered with the U.S. Copyright Office. He said that the hacking team had published a video on YouTube documenting their attack.[6] The video was removed by YouTube, however. Ebraheem's channels appear to still be suspended.

It is worth noting that Ebraheem, who migrated with his family to the U.S. several years ago after working with U.S. agencies in Iraq, is very popular among Iraqi youth, who find his podcasts on American culture entertaining and educational. His parents and siblings often participate in his podcasts.


Ebraheem's tweets (Source: Twitter, July 23, 2020)

 

[1] Telegram, SabreenS1, July 22, 2020.

[2] Ebraheem's mother, who has participated in his podcasts.

[3] Youtube.com/channel/UCni0I0_7kWlwBFLiLQd7FQw, last accessed on July 23, 2020.

[4] Youtube.com/channel/UCv-VTkoSzcPcbE2cDkatw1A, last accessed on July 23, 2020.

[5] Evil figure in Islamic eschatology.

[6] Twitter.com, Anasebraheem, July 23, 2020.

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