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Cyberattack crashes websites of several Israeli universities

The “Anonymous Sudan” hacker group says the attack was executed “because of what they did in Palestine.”

Computer coding. Credit: Pixabay,
Computer coding. Credit: Pixabay,

A coordinated cyberattack took down the websites of major Israeli universities on Tuesday.

A hacker group calling itself “Anonymous Sudan” claimed responsibility for the attack on its Telegram account, stating that the “Israel education sector has been dropped because of what they did in Palestine.”

Institutions impacted by the attack include Tel Aviv University, the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, Ben-Gurion University of the Negev in Beersheva, the Weizmann Institute of Science in Rehovot, the Open University of Israel and Reichman University in Herzliya.

The Hebrew University of Jerusalem. Courtesy.

“These are service-disrupting attacks—those that only bring down websites and do not steal information—and can be recovered from relatively easily. However, it can be assumed that these groups are trying to produce more significant attacks, including ransom attacks and data theft,” Check Point, an Israeli cyber-security firm, said in a statement.

On its Telegram account, the hacker group has claimed previous cyberattacks on Israeli government ministries and hospitals, and attacks on Denmark and Australia “because of the burning of the Quran again.”

The hacker group also warned that on April 7, it “will attack Israel with big power,” saying that would be the main attack day. Following Tuesday’s attack on the educational sector, the group thanked “all the Arabs who support us.”

The attacks are part of the #OPIsrael campaign that takes place every spring around April 7. The date was chosen in 2013, when the first #OpIsrael took place. Initially, the attackers wanted to attack ahead of Israel’s Holocaust Remembrance Day, which that year fell on April 8. Attacks in subsequent years stuck to the April 7 date.

Hackers from Sudan and Bangladesh attempted cyberattacks in recent days but failed to cause significant damage.

Israel’s cyber-defense authorities repelled more than 1,000 attempted attacks in 2022.

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