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November 19, 2012

Millions of Hacking Attempts Target Israeli Websites as Israel Responds to Hamas Rocket Attacks

By Ed Silverstein, TMCnet Contributor

Israel has been a target for millions of hacking attempts since the most recent military conflict broke out last week between Hamas and the State of Israel.

News reports estimate that over 44 million hacking attempts were made against Israeli government websites. It is believed that at least one was successful, but the affected site was restored after 10 minutes.

The targets include mostly defense-related websites followed by 10 million hacking attempts on the website of Israel President Shimon Peres, seven million on Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman’s website and three million on Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s website.

Image via Shutterstock

The military conflict was widely blamed on Hamas sending rockets into Israel, but as Israel has escalated its military response, there have been many requests from foreign governments for Israel to show some restraint. There have been deaths and injuries on both sides, with Israel benefiting from a defense system that shot down the Hamas rockets. It is called the “Iron Dome” missile shield.

Meanwhile, cyber-attacks are being blocked as well. "The ministry's computer division will continue to block the millions of cyber-attacks," Finance Minister Yuval Steinitz was quoted by The Guardian. "We are enjoying the fruits of our investment in recent years in developing computerized defense systems."

One well-known informal hacking group, Anonymous, posted an online announcement on Sunday that they, “will strike any and all websites that we deem to be in Israeli cyberspace in retaliation for the mistreating of people in Gaza and other areas."

Also, Anonymous claimed over the weekend that it had “taken down or erased the databases of nearly 700 Israeli private and public websites, including that of the Bank of Jerusalem finance house,” The Guardian said.

Most of the hacking attacks originated in Israel and the “Palestinian territories.”

Since the conflict started last week, Israel has been using varied social media to issue statements. Palestinian militants are often using tweets on Twitter (News - Alert).

This is not the first time that Israel has been the target of cyber attackers. Last January, a hacker, who is believed to reside in Saudi Arabia, published the confidential details from credit cards belonging to thousands of Israelis online, according to TMCnet.

Earlier this year, the Hamas terrorist group called the January hacking “a new form of resistance,” according to a report. “Use all means available in the virtual space to confront Israeli crimes,” a Hamas spokesman said.

Want to learn more about the latest in communications and technology? Then be sure to attend ITEXPO Miami 2013, Jan 29- Feb. 1 in Miami, Florida.  Stay in touch with everything happening at ITEXPO (News - Alert). Follow us on Twitter.

Edited by Brooke Neuman
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