Hackers claiming affiliation with ‘Anonymous’ launch mostly-failed attacks on Israel

(JNS.org) Anti-Israel hacker groups claiming to be associated with the international hacker group “Anonymous” launched attacks against Israeli websites over the weekend, but had little impact.

Israeli Soldiers manning stations in the National Cyber Bureau. Credit: IDF Spokesperson's Unit.

The attacks, called #OpIsrael on Twitter, were mainly denial-of-service attacks, which inundate websites and servers with traffic until it either slows down or crashes.

Cyberattacks against Israeli websites began on April 5 and were supposed to peak on Sunday, and while dozens of attempts to hack major websites were noted, the majority of them failed. Sources in Tehila, the Israeli e-government project, told Israel Hayom that the cyberattack was unable to completely down any of the Israeli government websites, although some, like the Israeli Education Ministry’s website, experienced some short-term accessing issues.

According to the Israeli Finance Ministry’s cyber monitoring unit, the cyberattack peaked at 7 p.m. Sunday (Israel time) when 600 websites registered hacking attempts. The hackers attacked several businesses and non-profit groups in Israel, including the Jerusalem Post and Yad Vashem sites. But by Sunday night nearly all of the sites the group says it targeted were operating normally.

Despite announcing the attacks under the Anonymous flag, it is unclear if the attacks were orchestrated by the loosely affiliated Anonymous hacker group or by hackers claiming to be part of the group. Some reports linked the hackers to groups in several Arab countries. 

Meanwhile, pro-Israel hackers hit back. The main site of the hacking operation, www.opisrael.com, was hit by pro-Israel hackers called Israeli Elite Strike Force (EhIsR). EhIsR hackers defaced the website saying, “#opisrael are nothing!! Now is the time to know the truth about Israel.” Several pro-Israel videos were posted on the hacker website, including the Israel national anthem, Hatikvah, and lists of facts about Israel. EhIsR also disabled dozens of radical Islamist sites in Pakistan, Iran, Syria and other North African countries over the weekend.

“The Zionist hackers like EhIsR are responding not with hate but with reason. It’s a shame that for most of the world such an approach is unlikely to be affective,” wrote a blogger covering the #OpIsrael campaign for the Jerusalem Post.

Posted on April 8, 2013 .