Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Gaza: Will Mossad Hunt Down Anonymous?

It takes a brave hacker to declare war on the state of Israel. As Israel’s neighbors can attest, declaring war on the Jewish state doesn’t tend to produce favorable outcomes.

Hacker inside
Hacker inside (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

So it was interesting to see the hacker group Anonymous declare “war” on Israel, which probably has as much legal significance as America declaring war on “terror”. Vowing to retaliate against Israeli strikes against Gaza, Anonymous claimed to have attacked hundreds of Israeli government and private Web sites, though Israeli officials say the damage has been minor. They also published names of donors to Israel. Israeli newspapers, busy covering the conflict with Hamas, have barely mentioned the attacks.

The interesting question is how Israel will respond. Jerusalem is unlikely to call in the Shayetet 13 naval commandos to raid hacker hideouts, or disrupt hacker supply lines by sending drones to strike truck convoys carrying Red Bull energy drinks. But the nation that disrupted Iran‘s nuclear program with the Stuxnet virus clearly has some cyberwarfare capabilities of its own, plus a thriving cybersecurity industry. an aggressive national intelligence service in the Mossad, and a general willingness to respond ruthlessly when it feels its national interests are threatened.

Even if Israel does respond, they may find that it’s much easier to hunt Hamas missile launchers than a loosely organized group of hackers. But where the U.S. treats hacking as a law enforcement issue, if Anonymous crosses a red line (there are lots of those in the Middle East), then Israel may treat this as a national security issue. And the rules and the methods of that game are a lot tougher.

Anonymous escalates its 'cyberwar' against Israel

The hacking collective's latest campaign against Israel escalates, with defacements of Microsoft Israel Web sites and the publication of alleged donors to a pro-Israel group.

Medical workers in Gaza attend to people wounded by an Israeli air strike on Sunday, Nov. 18, 2012.
Medical workers in Gaza attend to people wounded by an Israeli air strike Sunday.
(Credit: CBS News)
Anonymous' hacking campaign against Israel to protest its attacks on Gaza escalated today with the release of a list of thousands of individuals who supposedly donated to a pro-Israel organization.
The collective posted a Pastebin document that it said featured names -- and in some cases home addresses and e-mail addresses -- of donors for the Unity Coalition for Israel, which claims to represent "the largest network of pro-Israel groups in the world." The document appears to be quite old: one of the military e-mail addresses belonged to Douglas Feith, the U.S. undersecretary for defense under Bush, who left that job in 2005.

A second document, allegedly also extracted from the coalition, appears to be an e-mail announcement list. It includes e-mail addresses from officials in the White House, Senate, and the State Department's Bureau of Diplomatic Security, as well as many news organizations.
The Unity Coalition for Israel did not immediately respond to a request for comment from CNET.
Anonymous' latest attempts to take Israeli Web sites offline or deface them, called OpIsrael, started last week and resulted in temporary outages or spotty connections to the Bank of Jerusalem, Israel's Ministry of Foreign Affairs, and many other Web sites. A list shows more than 600 Web sites have been attacked.
One Anonymous Twitter account reported this morning that Israeli Bing, MSN, Skype, Live and other sites were "defaced by Pakistani hackers." A Microsoft spokesman told CNN that: "Microsoft is aware of the site defacements and working to get all sites fully functional We have seen no evidence to suggest the compromise of customer information but will take action to help protect customers as necessary."
A statement from Anonymous says "when the government of Israel publicly threatened to sever all Internet and other telecommunications into and out of Gaza, they crossed a line in the sand." CBS News reported today that Israel's attacks on the homes of Hamas activists "have led to a sharp spike in civilian casualties, killing 24 civilians in just under two days and doubling the number of civilians killed in the conflict," according to a Gaza health official.
Finance Minister Yuval Steinitz downplayed the denial-of-service attacks in an interview with Reuters yesterday, saying only one unnamed site was actually hit by a successful intrusion. "The ministry's computer division will continue to block the millions of cyber attacks," Steinitz said. "We are enjoying the fruits of our investment in recent years in developing computerized defense systems."

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