by Syarif Hidayat
Supported by world-wide mass cyber attacks especially that are being done by “Hackers’ collective Anonymous” against Israel, Palestinians have won the “social media war” against the Zionist occupation forces. Hackers declare a world-wide mass ‘cyber war’ on Israel after IDF threatens to cut off internet in Gaza.
The hacking collective’s latest campaign against Israel escalates, with defacements of Microsoft Israel Web sites and the publication of alleged donors to a pro-Israel group. Anonymous’ hacking campaign against Israel to protest its attacks on Gaza escalated recently with the release of a list of thousands of individuals who supposedly donated to a pro-Israel organization.
The collective posted a Pastebin document that it said featured names — and in some cases home addresses and e-mail addresses — of donors for the Unity Coalition for Israel, which claims to represent “the largest network of pro-Israel groups in the world.” The document appears to be quite old: one of the military e-mail addresses belonged to Douglas Feith, the U.S. undersecretary for defense under Bush, who left that job in 2005.
A second document, allegedly also extracted from the coalition, appears to be an e-mail announcement list. It includes e-mail addresses from officials in the White House, Senate, and the State Department’s Bureau of Diplomatic Security, as well as many news organizations.
The Unity Coalition for Israel did not immediately respond to a request for comment from CNET. Anonymous’ latest attempts to take Israeli Web sites offline or deface them, called OpIsrael, started last week and resulted in temporary outages or spotty connections to the Bank of Jerusalem, Israel’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs, and many other Web sites. A list shows more than 600 Web sites have been attacked.
Israel crosses the line in the sand
One Anonymous Twitter account reported that Israeli Bing, MSN, Skype, Live and other sites were “defaced by Pakistani hackers.” A Microsoft spokesman told CNN that: “Microsoft is aware of the site defacements and working to get all sites fully functional We have seen no evidence to suggest the compromise of customer information but will take action to help protect customers as necessary.”
A statement from Anonymous says “when the government of Israel publicly threatened to sever all Internet and other telecommunications into and out of Gaza, they crossed a line in the sand.”
Finance Minister Yuval Steinitz downplayed the denial-of-service attacks in an interview with Reuters, saying only one unnamed site was actually hit by a successful intrusion. “The ministry’s computer division will continue to block the millions of cyber attacks,” Steinitz said. “We are enjoying the fruits of our investment in recent years in developing computerized defense systems.”
Hackers declare ‘cyber war’ on Israel
Damien Gayle in his article titled: “Hackers declare ‘cyber war’ on Israel after IDF threatens to cut off internet in Gaza” published in Daily Mail, writes that Hackers’ collective Anonymous claims it has declared ‘cyber war’ against Israel in retaliation for threats to block Palestinians’ internet access. As the Israel Defence Forces began airstrikes against targets in the territory, the hacktivist group tried to cripple Israeli sites and government networks.
The move came as Israel admitted the war is being fought on ‘three fronts’ – including physical, social networks and cyber attacks – and triggered calls for a ‘cyberdome’ protective shield to mirror the ‘Iron dome’ missile defence system.
Israel’s finance minister Yuval Steinitz admitted that the group – along with other protesters – bombarded Israeli sites with more than 60 million hacking attempts. However, he said most of the attacks failed and that the only site that was successfully brought down was up again within minutes.
Anonymous though posted a list of more than 650 Israeli websites it says it has taken down or defaced in retaliation for what it called ‘the barbaric, brutal and despicable treatment of the Palestinian people’.
In arelease published online the group said Israel ‘crossed a line in the sand’ when it ‘publicly threatened to sever all Internet and other telecommunications into and out of Gaza’.
‘As the former dictator of Egypt Mubarack learned the hard way – we are ANONYMOUS and NO ONE shuts down the Internet on our watch,’ the statement added. A subsequent YouTube video added: “We call on the Anonymous Collective to hack, deface, docks, hijack, database leak, admin takeover, four oh four and DNS terminate the Israeli Cyberspace by any means necessary”.
‘To the Israeli Government, Anonymous has grown tired of your bullying, and now you will see the result of your actions. ‘Cyber war has been declared on Israel cyber space and you will see exactly what we are capable of.
The latest war ‘is being fought on three fronts’
Following the statement, Carmela Avner, Israel’s chief information officer, admitted that the latest war ‘is being fought on three fronts’. ‘The first is physical, the second is the world of social networks and the third is cyberattacks,’ she added. The cyber onslaught began after Israel launched warplanes began bombarding Gaza in retaliation for rocket fire from the strip.
Among attacks staged on Israeli networks, according to The Daily Dot, Anonymous has claimed to have deleted the database of the Bank of Jerusalem and Ministry of Foreign Affairs; they downed Israel’s MSN and defaced Windows.co.il; they have leaked personal data of 5,000 officials and the usernames and passwords to a real estate search site; and took the websites for the IDF, Mastercard and Bing offline.
The group also released what it called theAnonymous Gaza Care Packagecontaining instructions in Arabic and English on steps to take if the Israelis shut down internet connections to the strip, as well as information on avoiding online surveillance and basic first aid.
Others have joined into what has effectively become a free-for-all attack on Israel. One group, which called itself the Pakistani Cyber Army, claimed responsibility for having hijacked roughly two dozen Israeli-registered sites, including one belonging to Coca-Cola.
One of its members, who identified himself only as a Pakistani Muslim, told The Associated Press that more was on the way. ‘We won’t stop until they stop killing innocent kids and people,’ he said. Much of the online onslaught has come in the form of denial-of-service (DoS) attacks, a technique that works by overloading a website with traffic, crashing its servers and making it unavailable to users.
Tel Aviv-based security company Radware said the attacks against Israel first began surging across the web soon after Israel started eight day war against Gaza, describing some as well coordinated DoS attacks.
Although such attacks can effectively knock their targets off the web, they’re usually temporary and rarely do lasting damage. Ronen Kenig, a Radware analyst, said the flow of rogue traffic wasn’t as powerful as attacks that hit the U.S. banking sector two months ago.
‘In terms of the amount of traffic, it’s not massive,’ he said, explaining that the attackers were yet to draw on networks of infected computers – known as botnets – to mount their attacks. Botnets are amassed by hackers and can grow to include thousands of compromised computers, giving them much more firepower than a few dozen online activists acting in tandem.
Israel needs ‘cyberdome’
Erel Margalit, chairman of Jerusalem Venture Partners, a leading Israeli venture capital firm, has invested significantly in Israel’s cybersecurity system but said more must be done. ‘Israel has the Iron Dome system (to intercept incoming rockets), but it needs a cyberdome,’ he said, noting the government just approved collaboration on the first-ever private cybersecurity incubator to further invest in the industry.
‘The start-up nation is also a cybernation, it needs to be defended, and Israel is known to be quite advanced in this field,’ he said. Israel is often called the start-up nation because of its technology companies.
Kenig said his company had seen evidence the attackers were ramping up their efforts. Technolytics Institute, a private U.S. consultancy, said Israel is prepared to confront incoming threats, rating Israel as fourth behind Russia, China, and the U.S. for cyberintelligence capabilities – not just defensive, but offensive, as well.
Kevin Coleman, senior fellow at Technolytics, said while Israel has invested significantly in the industry, Anonymous has become a new, threatening ‘virtual state’ of sorts.
‘When you think about conflict in general, you think about borders, but the internet doesn’t have borders,’ he said. ‘So how do you retaliate against a loose coalition? How do you negotiate a cease-fire with Anonymous? ‘We’re at the tip of the iceberg in figuring out how to deal with virtual states and creating a new paradigm. ‘We need to do it quickly, though. This is the warfare of the future.’
“Anonymous” threatens to begin “reign of terror” against Israel
The hacker group “Anonymous” has released a video threatening to begin a ‘reign of terror’ against Israel, in the latest round of cyber warfare between pro-Palestinian and pro-Israeli hackers. The video, which was posted on YouTube, blamed Israel for committing ‘crimes against humanity,’ and criticizing it for its treatment of Palestinians.
“Through the use of media deception and political bribery, you have amassed the sympathies of many. You claim to be democratic, yet in reality this is far from the truth. In fact, your only goal is to better the lives of a select few while carelessly trampling the liberties of the masses,” says the clip’s computer-generated narrator over ominous background music.
The video also makes reference to the possibility of an Israeli strike on Iran, claiming that Israel has “taken steps to ensure a nuclear holocaust,” and that it will not be allowed “to attack a sovereign country based upon a campaign of lies.”Moreover, the video threatens to start a crusade against Israel that will take the form of three steps, only revealing that the first of these steps will attempt to systematically remove Israel from the internet.
It must be noted that, to date, not all of the group’s threats have been carried out. Anonymous has previously threatened to attack the Knesset website, although the site did not suffer any damage. Furthermore, due to the decentralized nature of the group, previous hacking threats on sites such as Facebook were later discovered to be the result of misunderstandings between members of the group.
Over the past month, pro-Palestinian and pro-Israeli hackers have been battling in cyberspace. Starting on January 3, the hackers group, “Group-XP”, claimed it had obtained personal information of about 400,000 Israelis, but checks carried out by the credit card issuers and the Bank of Israel determined that the details of between 14,000 and 15,000 active cards had been exposed. According to Maglan Internet Defense Technologies, a total of 31,000 credit card numbers had been exposed in all, some of them belonging to foreign nationals.
Latest Arab-Israeli Conflict Is Growing Cyberwar
It is a conflict that is growing bigger by the day as Israeli and Arab hackers attack national websites across the Middle East and release thousands of items of personal data. The hacking appears to be the work of civilians rather than governments, and there has been little economic damage, but all sides are threatening widen the scope of their attacks in the coming days.
Pro-Palestinian hackers attacked the website of Israel’s anti-drug authority. They redirected visitors to a page showing masked gunmen next to the phrases “Death to Israel” and “Gaza hackers were here,” according to the Jerusalem Post. The site has since been restored. Denial-of-service attacks were also launched against the websites of the Arab Bank of Palestine and the Central Bank of the United Arab Emirates. An Israeli group calling itself “IDF Team” claimed responsibility.
”We are operating in the name of the IDF [Israeli Defense Forces],” they wrote after attacking the websites of the Saudi Arabia and Abu Dhabi stock exchanges. “If you don’t stop attacking us, we will paralyze your economy.” (Saudi authorities later denied the hackers had managed to take down their site.)
These episodes are the latest in a back-and-forth that has been going on for two weeks. It started when a hacker called “0xOmar,” claiming to be from Saudi Arabia, published online hundreds of thousands of credit cards numbers belonging to Israelis. Israeli authorities said that due to repetition, the actual number was around 15,000 or so but banks scrambled to shut down the accounts.
“Israel attacks and kills innocent Palestinian people, they (commit) genocide, they even break legal international rules,” 0xOmar told the Israeli news site YNet. “I want to harm Israel financially and socially.” He banded together with a group calling itself “Nightmare” to hamper the sites of the Israeli national airline El Al and the Tel Aviv stock exchange.
Hackers from Israel, a country known for its technological prowess, joined in the retaliation calling themselves names like “Hannibal,” “Anonymous972″ (Israeli’s country code), and “Team IDF.” “We are doing this out of a sense of concern and caring,” members of Team IDF told newspaper Yedioth Ahronoth. They claimed to have thousands of Saudi credit card numbers as well as the holders’ details.
“We don’t believe in hurting innocent civilians. There is no reason to publicize the data at this stage,” they said. “If there isn’t any choice, we’ll have to do that as well. We are only trying to prevent further attacks in the future on the State of Israel.” All sides have put out bravado-filled statement promising more in the coming days. So far, no major damage has been reported and the attacks appear to have been only carried out by civilians.
“Individual initiatives by Israeli hackers to attack Saudi hackers, or hackers from anywhere else for that matter, are ineffective and shouldn’t be done in Israel’s name,” said Israel’s Minister of Intelligence Dan Meridor. But the attacks show no signs of abating. “We won’t stop hacking into them until they stop hacking into us,” an Israeli hacker told Yedioth Ahronoth. “This is spreading like fire in a field of thorns. Every self-respecting Israeli hacker is joining us now and is helping with our war effort.”
Hamas wins Social Media War
Ezzedeen Al Qassam Brigades waged a war of words in the internet as a response to the Israeli attacks and to expose the Israeli violations against the Palestinian civilians by using the new media tools, the Brigades has gained media attention for its use of social media during the latest conflict with Gaza.
Up-to-date tweets have given the public a constant stream of news from the Middle East, and statistics about who has been affected by the conflict.
The Brigades has also used their accounts in the new media sites to issue warning of the Israeli attacks on Gaza Strip and to inform the press about Al Qassam Brigades operation against the Israeli military bases.
Al Qassam Brigades used facebook in 2007, since then, the war for gaining the hearts of public opinion has begun between the Brigades and Israel, Israel tried to incite the facebook administration against Al Qassam accounts, so the facebook responds to the Israeli pressure and closed several pages, but the Brigades still continue fighting back by opening another pages.
The most important war of words was in the last Israeli war on Gaza in 2012 on twitter, Israel tried to use twitter and YouTube to publicize the killing of Palestinian civilians, but they fail due to the strong content coming out of Gaza during the war.
The Brigades established its first twitter account in 2008 and established another one in 2009, several huge press agencies followed us on twitter, in addition to reporters, journalists and supporters.
The Establishers of the accounts on twitters use three Languages Arabic, English and Hebrew. In the last month, the Brigades established an account for Abu Obeida, Ezzedeen Al Qassam Brigades spokesperson, the also has gained more and more Sympathy. (HSH)