Not only did anti-Israel hackers fail to paralyze vital Israeli websites on Monday, but foiling cyber threats apparently has become a lucrative business here.
Arab anti-Israel activists circulated cyber threats over the past week, claiming that they would incapacitate major Israeli websites on Monday, April 7.
An Arab branch of the hacker group “Anonymous” – known as #OpIsrael – said a major cyber-attack would occur on the first anniversary of the launch of the group’s cyber warfare against the Jewish state.
“On April 7, 2014, we call upon our brothers and sisters to hack, deface, hijack, database leak, admin takeover, and DNS terminate the Israeli Cyberspace by any means necessary,” #OpIsrael warned in a YouTube video posted last week.
“We urge our brothers and sisters to break, to destroy and take over websites and leak data – to eliminate Israel’s cyberspace. We will not stop until Palestine is freed,” the group stated.
Empty Cyber Threats?
In light of the cyber threats, Israeli authorities advised the public to take extreme caution when using the Internet, especially with regard to emails, social media forums and financial transactions.
Although #OpIsrael claimed to have succeeded in shutting down Israeli media, government and advocacy sites, few seemed to have been hit. Those that were affected nonetheless experienced minor slowdowns and managed to recover quickly, security experts said.
Neither was there any meaningful damage in last year’s attack, scheduled on the eve of Israel’s annual Holocaust Memorial Day, which fell on April 7. Each year, the date for Yom Hashoah is set according to the Hebrew calendar; this year, the event – which is observed on the 27th day of the Hebrew month of Nisan – takes place on April 28.
Several attempts at cyber warfare against Israel have taken place over the past year; for example, in March, on the 10th anniversary of the targeted killing of Hamas founder Sheikh Yassin, supporters of the terrorist organization hacked into a Defense Ministry site, sending text messages with death threats to government officials and journalists, including the United with Israel staff writer.
It was not the first time that UWI was hacked; in November, the site was shut down for several hours, apparently in response to the advocacy organization’s “Stop Iran” campaign, urging the US administration not to make a deal that would allow the Islamic Republic to produce nuclear weapons.
Meanwhile, Israel is known internationally as a high-tech giant, and hackers here have been hitting back.
“Roni Behar, chair of cyber-attacks at Avnet Cyber and Information Security, said Sunday that Israeli hackers are returning fire, breaking into Muslim extremist sites,” Israel National News reported.
“In particular, it can be noted as a morale boosting achievement that there was a breach of the operations site run by Anonymous, www.opisrael.com, with the contents there being changed to pro-Israel contents,” Behar stated in the INN story.
“Israel’s cyber-security industry has grown from a few dozen companies to more than 200 in just the past three years amid a flood of hacks targeted at the country,” according to a story published in January in Bloomberg.com’s “globaltech” section.
Cyber threats, the article notes, are “on the rise globally, Eugene Kaspersky, who runs Russia’s largest maker of antivirus software, said in an interview in Tel Aviv. Kaspersky Lab counted about 300,000 unique malicious attacks in 2013, up from 200,000 a year earlier. The effect is amplified in Israel because it’s in ‘a hot zone,’ Kaspersky said.”
Furthermore, Bloomberg reports, Victor Hernandez Gomez, Deloitte’s senior manager for cyber-security business development in Spain, stated:
“It is important for us to be in Israel because there are many, many start-ups in cyber security. Israel has a wide range of skilled people.”
“Israel’s experience in successfully foiling thousands of cyber-attacks each day could translate into a very lucrative business, both inside and outside its borders,” the article concludes.
Date: Apr. 7, 2014