Israel's escalating battle with pro-Palestinian hackers is about to get much more serious as prominent international "hacktivist" group Anonymous enters the fray on the side of Israel's enemies.
In a video posted to YouTube on Thursday, Anonymous accused Israel of "crimes against humanity" and vowed to launch a "crusade" against the Jewish state.
"Your Zionist bigotry has displaced and killed a great many," the group claimed in the video. "As the world weeps, you laugh while planning your next attack."
Turning to Israel's ongoing debate over whether or not a preemptive strike on Iran's nuclear facilities in necessary, Anonymous vowed, "We will not allow you to attack a sovereign country based upon a campaign of lies."
The video concludes that Israel "is unworthy to exist in your current form, and will therefore face the wrath of Anonymous."
The threatened cyber "crusade" will come in three phases, as outlined by Anonymous:
- "Step one will be initiated after the release of this video and will be comprised of systematically removing you from the internet;
- "Step two will be later disclosed and is already in initiation; and
- "Step three, well, think of this one as a present from Anonymous to you - we will not stop until the police state becomes a free state. We are Anonymous, we are legion, we do not forgive, we do not forget."
Reports on other Internet security sites suggested that Anonymous had already infected hundreds and perhaps thousands of Israeli servers with a virus programmed to go active on February 14, Valentine's Day.
Our own website at Israel Today was knocked offline earlier this week as a result of a denial-of-service attack on our domain, though the perpetrator of that attack, which affected hundreds of Israeli websites, remains unidentified.
Israel is widely regarded as one of the most advanced countries in terms of Internet and network security, and various teams of capable Israeli hackers have been successfully countering the many Arab hacker attacks in recent months. But the full entry of Anonymous into the battle against Israel marks a significant escalation, and will present Israel with by far its most serious cyber security test to date.