Major Failures, Minor Successes for Anti-Israel Hackers
#OpIsrael failed to ‘erase Israel from the Internet,’ but it did cause a nuisance; Israeli counter-hackers claim to have hit back at Hezbollah, Islamic Jihad sites
If anti-Israel hackers hoped, as they boldly proclaimed, “to erase Israel from the Internet” during Sunday’s #OpIsrael hacking attacks, they failed miserably, said Nir Goldshlager, Israel’s most famous “white hat” hacker and CEO of Break Security. Instead of toppling and defacing government, bank, and insurance sites, as they promised to do, the hacking groups, ostensibly associated with Anonymous, were able to attack only minor web sites that were not well protected.
It was not for lack of trying, though. Although the statistics aren’t in yet, Israel was clearly in the crosshairs of hackers on Sunday. Several Facebook pages, Twitter feeds, and web sites churned out updated lists of sites the hackers claimed to have taken down or defaced, and posts on social media sites made unsubstantiated claims like “Anonymous causes Israel to lose $5 billion” in stock market losses (false) and “Tel Aviv loses all Internet connection” (ditto).
The main tactic used by hackers to attack large government and financial sites was the denial of service (DDoS) attack, in which tens of thousands of connection requests are sent to a server at one time, in the hope of overwhelming the server’s system and causing it to slow down to a crawl, or to shut down altogether. Dr. Tal Pavel, director of the MiddleEasterNet site, which gathers intelligence on Internet usage and events in the Arab world, uncovered several sites where users could participate in DDoS attacks against Israeli sites by clicking on buttons. Each click generated thousands of connection requests.
In addition, Pavel reported a relatively sophisticated attack against the Bank of Israel, in which hackers compromised an Israeli site and inserted an agent that, when clicked on, launched DDOS attacks against the BOI site.