Expert says to take terror hit list with grain of salt

A Waikato University professor says Kiwis should be concerned about terrorism, but a terrorist hit list published online is likely made up of publicly-available information.

Waikato University professor Alexander Gillespie says a supposed list of list of terror suspects released which includes a Kiwi does not seem credible. Source: Breakfast

The personal details of more than 1400 people were released online earlier this week by an organisation calling itself the 'IS Hacking Division' and the list included one person from Auckland.

It is the second dump of personal information by the group, after a list of US military staff was released in March this year. None of the people of the list have since been attacked.

The organisation claimed the data was hacked from military and government departments, but serious doubts were cast over those claims and it was believed the information came from publicly-available sources like Facebook.

Professor Alexander Gillepsie of Waikato University this morning told Breakfast Kiwis were right to be cautious about terrorism, but this release needed to be kept "in proportion".

"People will be worried, but it's very, very unlikely," he said.

"Often it's just a teenager trying to scare people through the Internet, which is anonymous."

Professor Gillespie said the most up-to-date source of terror warnings was the foreign affairs department and that terrorists were much more likely to target large, high-profile public events than single individuals.

This tactic was designed to inspire fear in people, he said, by targeting them as individuals.

"It brings a new level of terror to people."

Police are investigating the list and the relevance to the New Zealander and the person's family yesterday said they were at a loss to understand why he had appeared on it.