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Islamic State hacks Japanese tourism website

The Islamic State (IS) terrorist group has reportedly hijacked a Japanese tourism website.

The Nishinomiya Tourism Association revealed that its homepage had been hacked to display the black white logo of the extremist organisation, alongside the words, “Hacked by Islamic State (ISIS). We are everywhere.”

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The website defacement comes less than two months after Islamic State claimed to have beheaded two Japanese hostages, Kenji Goto and Haruna Yukawa. During the video portraying Mr Goto’s death, his murderer issued a grim warning to Japan and its citizens.

“Abe [the Japanese Prime Minister], because of your reckless decision to take part in an unwinnable war, this knife will not only slaughter Kenji, but will also carry on and cause carnage wherever your people are found.”

Websites belonging to a Tokyo camera shop and a community futsal team, amongst others, have also been targeted by IS hacks recently.

A spokeswoman for the Nishinomiya Tourism Association told AFP that the site has been restored and that an investigation into the hack was ongoing.

"We have reported the incident to police who are reviewing what happened," she said.

Cybercrimes are now a valuable weapon amongst terrorist groups, many of which have embraced digital technology in order to spread their message and recruit new followers.

Aside from Islamic State, the Syrian Electronic Army are a well-known group of computer hackers that launch cyber attacks on its opponents – primarily anyone who criticises Syrian President Bashar al-Assad.

Islamic State, which has previously released footage showing the murders of US and British citizens, began targeting Japan after the country’s Prime Minister Shinzo Abe gave $200 million in aid to refugees escaping IS-occupied areas in the Middle East.

Read more: President Obama embarrassed by Islamic State hack

Following the pledge, one of the IS militants proclaimed in an execution video that Japan should prepare for a “nightmare.”

Barclay has been writing about technology for a decade, starting out as a freelancer with IT Pro Portal covering everything from London’s start-up scene to comparisons of the best cloud storage services.  After that, he spent some time as the managing editor of an online outlet focusing on cloud computing, furthering his interest in virtualization, Big Data, and the Internet of Things.