Hacker donates $11k of stolen Bitcoins to Kurdish fighters battling ISIS

© Goran Tomasevic
A vigilante hacktivist has done a good deed for the Kurdish fighters in the autonomous northern Syrian region of Rojava, in the midst of a battle with ISIS: the hacker donated $11,000 in stolen Bitcoins to help sustain the population.

The hacker, going by the name Phineas Phisher, among a number of pseudonyms, believes the Kurdish population’s attempts at creating an independent state to be “one of the most inspiring revolutionary projects in the world.”

"They're in an incredibly difficult situation, with ISIS on one side and US ally Turkey embargoing and attacking them on the other," he told ArsTechnica. "Yet, in a part of the world the West likes to look down on as a backwards s**thole, they're building a society that takes ‘Western’ values like democracy and feminism to lengths that put the West to shame. All while fighting ISIS and winning, unlike the US trained and supplied Iraqi army."

So, he took to the group’s online crowdfunding campaign to help the cause, and bagged them a cool 25 bitcoins. His donation showed up on the open Bitcoin account of the Rojava Plan under the pseudonym @GammaGroupPR. The current rate of exchange puts the sum somewhere around $11,000.

He later went on Reddit and opened up in a post that “[t]he money did come from robbing a bank,” but wouldn’t exactly say which one… probably because “there’s hopefully a few orders of magnitude on the way,” as he told ArsTechnica on Wednesday.

“Bank robbing is more viable than ever, it’s just done differently these days,” Phisher said on Reddit, where many people supported his actions. He also published a ‘DIY Guide to Hacking’ with some tips and tricks.

The tech news source also contacted the Kurdish group receiving Phisher’s stolen Bitcoins.

“We are currently extremely busy and it is sometimes hard to get online, this being a warzone and all,” the group’s Deniz Tari told ArsTechnica in an email. “And for what we will do with the money, you can also check our campaign page where we have a rough description of where the money is going.”

The campaign page says the money will go toward “feeding the revolution.”

Reddit users are split on Phisher’s actions. Although most support the idea, some took issue with the ordeal bank workers might have to go through for letting it all happen, or the time the defrauded customers are going to have to spend getting their money back.

“Leaking documents, expropriating money from banks, and working to secure the computers of ordinary people is ethical hacking. However, most people that call themselves ‘ethical hackers’ just work to secure those who pay their high consulting fees, who are often those most deserving to be hacked,” Phisher wrote.