Although the great cyber attack against Israel is scheduled to begin today, April 7, intensive activity by hackers on both the offense and defense was seen yesterday.
Yesterday afternoon, a blog by Anonymous hackers group listed the targets of the attack and warned against publishing or using credit card numbers. A special message was also sent to MK Avigdor Liberman (Likud-Beitenu) and Minister of Finance Yair Lapid.
"The Israeli government has ignored repeated warnings about abusing human rights, shutting down the Internet in Israel and abusing its citizens," states the message. "A cyber war has been declared in the virtual space in Israel, and you can see exactly what we can do. So far, 600 sites and servers have been hacked, and we're planning to attack many banks, schools, business, and government websites, such as the Bank of Israel, Bank Leumi, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Arabs for Israel, the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, and Tel Aviv University. If you use credit cards on Israeli website, we advise you to check your account printouts in the near future."
Although Anonymous claims to have crashed two government websites and the site of the Israel Tax Authority, the sites are operating normally, and the claim is apparently not true. Bar Ilan University's website is down, but it is not known whether this is due to a breakdown or to hackers. The sites of the Ministry of Education and the Israel Land Administration were down overnight.
So far, there has been no material damage to Israelis' Internet access, and most of the information about the cyber attack comes from Anonymous activists. Anonymous later announced an update that the attack would begin on April 7 at 10 pm Jakarta time (6 pm Israel time). The Israel Securities Authority website was down yesterday, but raised to the cloud. The Securities Authorities Maya reporting site was apparently unaffected.
Israeli information security experts have received information that several Israeli have been hacked and that hundreds of email addresses and their passwords have been published.
Pro Israeli hackers strike back
Pro Israeli hackers have also been very active. Hackers group Anon Ghost, which collates threats about attacks against Israel, was hacked and taken over with pro-Israeli message, including images of the Israeli flag. A list of 20 facts about Israel, including the emergence of the Jewish People before the rise of Islam, the number of times Jerusalem is mentioned in the Bible, and a YouTube video clip of an interview on "Al Jazeera" seven years ago, which is critical of the Arab world, were among the things published.
Avnet Information Security cyber war manager Roni Bachar said, "At this stage, we're mainly seeing the creation of tension and power struggles between Israeli hackers and hackers from various groups which joined Anonymous. Anonymous's people are updating the list of sites they intend to attack, including IP addresses and denial of service attacks, and they continue to distribute online hacking tools, search phrases, and technical information. For their part, Israeli hackers are not idle, and have hacked radical Islamic websites. Especially noteworthy as an achievement for morale is the hacking of Anonymous's own website for the cyber attack, OpIsrael, and the replacement of its content with pro-Israeli material."
Bachar added, "Monitoring some of the activity on government websites shows considerable activity, but at this stage, there are no attacks which are liable to cause the real damage promised."
Published by Globes [online], Israel business news - www.globes-online.com - on April 7, 2013
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