Cyberattacks against Israel increase after Hamas offensive

Ryan Gallagher and Jordan Robertson

Today 16:53

Hacker groups, including some linked to Russia, are attacking Israeli government and media websites, allying themselves with the Palestinian militant group Hamas which launched a series of deadly attacks against the country over the weekend.

Killnet, a group that says it is made up of volunteer patriotic Russian hackers, announced Sunday that it would attack all Israeli government systems with distributed denial-of-service, or DDoS, attacks, which send multiple requests to websites to overwhelm their capacity and shut them out. of service. The group blamed Israel for the bloodshed and accused the country of supporting Ukraine and NATO.. Killnet later claimed that on Sunday it caused an Israeli government website and that of the Shin Bet security agency to crash for a time.

The group’s claim could not immediately be corroborated. According to check-host.netwhich monitors websites, both sites were down for a time on Sunday.

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Meanwhile, Anonymous Sudan—a hacking group that cybersecurity experts suspect is a Russian front group— declared his support for the “Palestinian resistance” and took responsibility for the attacks on the website of the Jerusalem Post, disconnecting it briefly on Monday morning. The newspaper wrote in a statement posted on X, formerly known as Twitter, that it had been “the target of multiple cyberattacks.” His site has already been restored.

“It is clear that other Russian hacktivists are also choosing sides and actively supporting Hamas in its war against Israel,” said Mattias Wåhlén, a threat intelligence expert at cybersecurity company Truesec AB. “Their actions seem more like opportunistic attacks. The conflict generates headlines that attract groups like Killnet, which are trying to monetize DDoS attacks. “It continues to send the message that Russia is on the side of Hamas and against Israel.”

Dozens of other self-described hacktivist gangs claimed they were launching attacks against Israeli infrastructure, targeting websites related to power plants and missile warning systems. Many of the attacks could not be independently verified.

Cybersecurity firm Group IB said a hacking group calling itself AnonGhost had compromised a mobile phone application used to issue missile warnings to Israelis in periods of conflict. Hackers took advantage of a vulnerability in the app to insert fake notifications, with phrases like “death to Israel” and “the nuclear bomb is coming,” along with a swastika, according to Group IB and screenshots posted by the hackers.

According to Group IB, the app appears to have been removed from Google’s Play Store, where it had been downloaded 1 million times. The developers did not respond to a request for comment.

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AnonGhost reported in a statement posted on Telegram that it “will never remain silent” against Israel.

Israel is often the target of cyberattacks, and Iranian hackers have persistently been blamed for some of these attacks. However, it was still unclear whether Iranian pirate forces were involved in the current conflict.

Pro-Israel groups have launched their own cyberattacks, targeting Palestinian organizations. A group calling itself the Indian Cyber ​​Force said it had attacked the websites of the Palestinian National Bank and Hamas on Sunday, both of which remained inaccessible on Monday. The bank could not be reached for comment.

Gil Messing, chief of staff at Israeli cybersecurity firm Check Point Software Technologies Ltd., said the cyberattacks had had little impact so far. “The last few days were not very notable in cyber terms. Some groups carried out DDoS attacks on some news websites and government websites, but none of this was serious or prolonged.Messing explained. “So overall, so far this front is not significant. Of course, this can change.”

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Rob Joyce, director of cybersecurity at the National Security Agency, said there has not yet been a major cyber component to the conflict. The agency has only observed small denial of service attacks and minor web defacementsalong with the expectation that external parties will join in to amplify messages on behalf of Hamas.

“There may be major developments, more hacktivism, more people taking up cyber weapons to defend their cause,” he said at a security conference in Sea Island, Georgia. “It won’t be sophisticated in the early days. “Sometimes you don’t have to be sophisticated to have an impact.”

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