A weekend cyberattack campaign targeting Israeli government websites failed to cause serious disruption, officials said Sunday. The attacks followed warnings in the name of the hacking group Anonymous that it was launching a massive attack.
The wide-ranging cyberattack was scheduled to officially begin at 6 p.m. Israel time. According to the Internet hacker group Anonymous, it would be the largest cyberattack ever against the Jewish state.
Yitzhak Ben Yisrael, of the government’s National Cyber Bureau, said the hackers had mostly failed to shut down key sites.
“So far it is as was expected, there is hardly any real damage,” Ben Yisrael said. “Anonymous doesn’t have the skills to damage the country’s vital infrastructure. And if that was its intention, then it wouldn’t have announced the attack ahead of time. It wants to create noise in the media about issues that are close to its heart.”
Thousands of private Facebook accounts were also hacked as of Sunday.
Israeli hackers, meanwhile, have already returned fire, breaching opisrael.com, the site where members of Anonymous report about their anti-Israel activities, and altered its contents to make them pro-Israel.
Ronni Bahar of the Avnet Security Consulting firm said that the hacking of the site was a moral victory in and of itself: “We are witness mainly to the build-up of tensions and power struggles between Israeli hackers and those affiliated with Anonymous. We can tell of directives given to employees to alter their email passwords. Many organizations have uploaded their sites to cloud servers.”
Alon Mantzur, CEO of 2Bsecure of the Matrix Group, added that Israeli preparedness today is “better than it was a year ago in all areas.”
The cyberattack is liable to prevent access to hacked sites, and infect them with viruses and Trojan horses. The Israel National Cyber Bureau advised large institutions to block overseas access to their websites. According to speculation, the cyberattack will focus on well-known websites and will try to shut down services they provide the public, which the hackers hope will raise awareness of the attack and cause panic.
For a list of the websites targeted for attack a group calling itself “Team Danger Hackers (#OpIsrael)” click here.
The Israel Defense Forces was also preparing its cyber defenses, announcing that the Telecommunications Branch has run a diagnostics check on all of its systems and also simulated various attack scenarios in order to test its preparedness.
On Saturday, the Israel Securities Authority website was downed, but its sister financial reportage site, Maya, remained unaffected. The ISA site was up and running again Sunday morning. Sites affiliated with the Absorption Ministry, the Intelligence and Atomic Energy Ministry and others were also attacked.
Israel’s Bureau of Statistics was down on Sunday morning but it was unclear if it had been hacked. Israeli media reports said the sites of the Defense and Education Ministry as well as banks had come under attack the night before but they were mostly repelled.
Hackers also exploited holes in the cyber protection for dozens of small businesses.
One of the sites already hacked belongs to the Larger than Life organization, which also help Muslim children suffering from cancer. Larger than Life CEO Lior Shmueli said Saturday, “It’s a shame that such a thing is happening to the organization’s website, of all places, which seeks to help every child with cancer receiving treatment in Israel, without discriminating against religion, race, sex or nationality.”
An official of the terrorist Hamas movement praised the current attack. “God bless the minds and the efforts of the soldiers of the electronic battle,” Ihab Al- Ghussian, Gaza’s chief government spokesman, wrote on his official Facebook page.
Due to the attack, the software security company Checkmarx decided to grant free scanning services for site owners who aren’t certain their site is adequately protected. Those interested can click here.
Read more at ISRAEL HAYOM.