The international hacker group Anonymous warned that Israel would be under a constant and determined cyber-attack on Monday, but by midday, Israeli cyber-security experts said the assault had been “unsophisticated” and largely unsuccessful.
Anonymous and allied hacker groups launched the fresh wave of cyber-attacks in response to Israel’s counter-terrorism strikes on the Gaza Strip.
The hackers primarily used two methods of trying to bring down or penetrate Israeli government and business websites. In the first, the hackers employed a distributed denial of service (DDoS) method that aims to overload servers and crash the websites they host. This type of attack was used to target the websites for Israel’s Postal Service and the Ministry of Education, though both websites were only temporarily offline.
The second type of attack involved attempting to penetrate network security and obtain login and/or financial details of website users and administrators. At the start of the day, Anonymous published a list of phone numbers and passwords purportedly belonging to Israeli government officials. But experts said the information had been stolen over a year ago, and much of it was no longer valid.
Israeli hackers and IT professionals were not merely fending off the attacks (they do that on a regular basis, thwarting up to 100,000 cyber-attacks per day), but were actively hitting back at Anonymous.
Roni Behar of Avnet Cyber and Information Security told Israel National News that Israeli hackers had managed to break into and alter content on numerous websites belonging to anti-Israel and Muslim extremist groups. One group of Israeli hackers even managed to penetrate the Anonymous website set up for the anti-Israel campaign.
In the meantime, Israeli Internet surfers have been advised to use caution and avoid opening suspicious emails or clicking untrusted links on social networks like Facebook. Users should also keep a close eye on credit card reports for suspicious charges.