Israel Combats Cyber Attacks During Gaza Offensive

PHOTO: Activists of the organization "Anonymous" hold masks in front of their faces during a demonstration in Berlin.
Share
Copy

The Israeli government said today that since the beginning of its military operation in Gaza, cyber attackers have launched more than 44 million attempts to disrupt the operation of various Israeli government websites, but were only successful in knocking out one site for a short period.

"One hacking attempt was successful and took down a site for a few minutes," Carmela Avner, the Chief Information Officer at the Finance Ministry, told ABC News. Avner said the website in question belongs to a "small unit of one of the ministries," but declined to comment further.

Israeli Finance Minister Dr. Yuval Steinitz ordered the government CIO unit to operate in emergency mode but said he remains confident in its abilities.

"We are reaping the fruits on the investment in recent years in the development of computerized defense systems, but we have a lot of work in store for us," he told reporters during a visit to the Government Computing Center in Jerusalem.

The Prime Minister's office, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the President's residence were among the government websites targeted. Israeli government websites are a common target of cyber attacks, Avner said, but the sheer volume this time around indicated a clear escalation during the Gaza operation.

The dramatic spike comes after the loose hacking collective Anonymous announced online that it would be targeting Israeli websites "in retaliation for the mistreating of people in Gaza and other areas."

Anonymous, the same group that reportedly took out the CIA's public website for a few hours in February, claimed it had attacked approximately 10,000 Israeli websites, both government and private.

Avner said most of the attacks on the government websites were designed to overload the site servers with excessive data. One method of doing that, known as a Distributed Denial of Service (DDos) attack, is a fairly rudimentary tactic historically favored by Anonymous.

Tweeting under the hashtag "OpIsrael" after the name it had given to its campaign, Anonymous claimed to have disrupted service on dozens of private Israeli websites, including the website for the Bank of Jerusalem and the local servers for news outlet MSN and search engine Bing. Both MSN and Bing's Israeli home pages appeared to have experienced trouble earlier Monday but were functioning properly as of this report. The Bank of Jerusalem's website's homepage was functioning but its English section was inaccessible.

Anonymous also tweeted a link to what it presented as the personal contact information of more than 3,000 "donors to Israel," including members of the U.S. Congress. Much of the data appeared to be a compilation of publicly available contact information.

As the real-world military operation gained steam last week, Anonymous posted what it dubbed as a "Gaza Care Package," containing information in Arabic and English about how to circumvent Israeli online surveillance by shielding IP addresses and how to set up alternative Wi-Fi access in the event of an internet shutdown.

Anonymous made the care package apparently in response to what it called Israeli threats to cut off electricity and internet access in Gaza. That threat was not reported elsewhere and there have been no reports of internet or power outages in Gaza so far.

Page
  • 1
  • |
  • 2
Join the Discussion
You are using an outdated version of Internet Explorer. Please click here to upgrade your browser in order to comment.
blog comments powered by Disqus
 
You Might Also Like...
See It, Share It
PHOTO: In this stock image, a lumberjack is pictured.
Joze Pojbic/Getty Images
PHOTO: Left, an undated file photo provided by the Spokane County Sheriff shows Bombing Kevin William Harpham; right, in this undated photo provided by the Johnson County Sheriff, Frazier Glenn Cross, Jr., appears in a booking photo.
Spokane County Sheriff/AP Photo| Johnson County Sheriff via Getty Images
PHOTO: The tires of a Studebaker, missing since 1971, are visible in Brule Creek near Elk Point, S.D. in this undated file photo.
South Dakota Attorney General?s Office/AP Photo