Israel waging war on two fronts

Originally published: November 19, 2012
Updated: December 29, 2014 at 11:08 am

Israeli government websites under mass hacking attack from Anonymous as it continues its real world operations in Gaza.

It was a busy weekend for the Palestinian militant group Hamas, the Israeli Defense Forces, and a growing army of cyber hackers determined to answer every Israeli barrage of the Gaza strip with a digital volley of their own.

Over the weekend Israeli Finance Minister Yuval Steinitz said that the attacks had opened a “second front” in the Gaza fighting, claiming that the government had “deflected 44 million cyber attacks on government websites.”

Internet hacktivist group Anonymous has declared cyber war on Israel.

Israeli government officials are operating in emergency mode to counter attempts to undermine government sites.

Typically, there are a few hundred hacking attempts a day on Israeli sites, according to Israeli sources.

Attempts on defense-related sites have been the highest, while 10 million attempts have been made on the site of Israel’s president, 7 million on the Foreign Ministry and 3 million on the site of the prime minister.

A ministry official said while the attacks have come from around the world, most have been from Israel and the Palestinian territories.

Both sides in the Gaza conflict, but particularly Israel, are embracing the social media as one of their tools of warfare. The Israeli Defense Force has established a presence on nearly every platform available while Palestinian militants are active on Twitter.

“The war is taking place on three fronts. The first is physical, the second is on the world of social networks and the third is cyber,” said Carmela Avner, Israel’s chief information officer.

Anonymous leaks personal information of 5,000 Israeli officials

Internet hacktivist group Anonymous has declared cyber war on Israel, posting personal data of five thousand Israeli officials online.

The group used their site to address a message to the Israeli government before linking to the page with names, ID numbers and personal emails of 5,000 officials.

The message said: “It has come to our attention that the Israeli government has ignored repeated warnings about the abuse of human rights, shutting down the internet in Israel and mistreating its own citizens and those of its neighboring countries.”

Israeli officials insist that the government remained nonplussed by the horde of hackers, and claimed that only one of the targeted websites went down for “six or seven minutes.”

“This is an unprecedented attack, and our success has been greater than we anticipated,” Steinitz said. With many more than that one site downed or breached by Anonymous’ just a day after his comments, Steinitz may now be wondering just how much more “unprecedented” the hackers’ attacks will become.

Last month, U.S. Defense Secretary Leon Panetta said cyberspace is the battlefield of the future, with attackers already going after banks and other financial systems. Many U.S. banks have been under sustained attack by suspected Iranian hackers thought to be responding to economic sanctions aimed at forcing Tehran to negotiate over its nuclear program.

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