Hacking group threatens 'crusade' against Israel
Donald Macintyre writes political sketches for The Independent, having been Jerusalem correspondent since 2004, covering Israel and the Occupied Territories, as well as travelling for the paper to Iraq, Turkey, Jordan, Libya and Egypt.
Saturday 11 February 2012
A video released in the name of the computer hacking group “Anonymous” yesterday promised a “crusade” against Israel’s “reign of terror”, the latest threat to prolong what has already become an outbreak of cyber-warfare between the country’s supporters and opponents.
The clip warned the Israeli government that the group planned to conduct a three part campaign, the first step–and the only one disclosed—in which will consist of “systematically removing you from the internet.”
A robotic American-accented voiceover on the video said Israel’s “Zionist bigotry” has displaced or killed “a great many”. “Through the use of media deception and political bribery, you have amassed the sympathies of many. You claim to be democratic, yet in reality this is far from the truth. In fact, your only goal is to better the lives of a select few, while carelessly trampling the liberties of the masses.”
Accusing Israel, in a reference to Iran, of having “taken steps to ensure a nuclear holocaust”, the voiceover added that it will not be allowed “to attack a sovereign country based upon a campaign of lies.”
The threatening internet post follows the recent hacking of the personal details of thousands of Israeli credit cardholders by an apparently pro-Palestinian hacking group. “Group-XP” claimed that it had the details for around 400,000 Israelis but checks undertaken by the credit card issuers and the Bank of Israel established that only the details of between 14,000 and 15,000 active cards had been compromised. According to the Israeli daily Haaretz, the information security firm Maglan Internet Defense Technologies estimated that 31,000 credit card numbers had been exposed, many of them belonging to foreign nationals.
Hackers also briefly shut down the computer networks of the Tel Aviv Stock Exchange and the national airline El Al last month. Israeli attackers claimed that, in counter-attacks, they had unearthed the details of around 4,800 Saudi credit cardholders.
The “Anonymous” group’s most recent success was the hacking of emails sent to and from members of the office of Syria’s President Bashar al-Assad. But not all of its threats – including threats against Israel – have been carried out. For example, it promised to attack the Knesset website but no damage was caused. According to a recent independent study, Israel is one of the world’s best protected countries against cyber-attacks.
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