Israel, SECRY – Israel Cyber Attacks – While the backdrop of the ongoing Israel-Gaza conflict, hacktivist groups have taken to the digital sphere, targeting Israeli websites and causing disruptions, even defacing prominent platforms like the Jerusalem Post. This isn’t a new trend; politically motivated hackers, often referred to as ‘hacktivists,’ frequently seize opportunities during global conflicts, leveraging these situations to advance their agendas or gain widespread attention.
Online Battlefield: Hacktivist Actions and Repercussions
According to Recorded Future, a cyber intelligence firm, numerous hacktivist groups, both established and newly formed, have reported claiming dozens of victims each day. While the extent of the damage remains relatively limited, this wave of hacktivism illustrates how a faction of supporters is increasingly using digital tools to bring their battle to the online realm.
Among the incidents reported so far, AnonGhost, a group supporting Hamas, claimed responsibility for disrupting an Israeli emergency alert application. Similarly, AnonymousSudan, as declared on Telegram, asserted that they were actively targeting Israel’s critical infrastructure, although concrete evidence supporting their claims was sparse.
DDoS Attacks and Freedom of the Press
Security analysts have documented over 100 Israeli websites affected by either defacement or temporary disruption due to distributed denial of service (DDoS) attacks. These attacks work by overwhelming websites with a rush of inauthentic traffic. Avi Mayer, the Editor-in-chief of the Jerusalem Post, expressed his concerns, stating, “The attackers have managed to knock us offline for extended periods over the past few days.” He characterized this as a direct assault on freedom of the press.
Cybersecurity Response and Cyberespionage in the Shadows
Israel’s Computer Emergency Response Team (IL-CERT) has yet to respond to these cyberattacks. However, it is essential to acknowledge that verifying the accuracy of hacktivists’ claims can be complex, reminiscent of the aftermath of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, where pro-Ukraine volunteer hackers took credit for multiple attacks on Russian websites and online services.
Cybersecurity analysts anticipate significant cyberespionage activities unfolding behind the scenes. A recent Microsoft report has highlighted intensified cyber spying efforts by a Gaza-based hacker group known as Storm-1133, targeting Israeli companies involved in telecommunications, defense, and energy. The report suggests that this group is working in alignment with Hamas’s interests.
Omri Segev Moyal, the CEO of Israeli cybersecurity firm Profero, disclosed that his company had detected hacking activity linked to an Iranian spy group called Muddy Water, as well as intrusion attempts potentially tied to Molerats, a group believed to be acting on behalf of Hamas. Notably, Molerats’ activities ceased following the escalation of hostilities.
As the digital battleground continues to evolve, it underscores the growing role of hacktivists in shaping online narratives during conflicts, offering both challenges and opportunities for cybersecurity experts and global stakeholders.