Digital Conflict

By Kevin Coleman

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Kevin Coleman

Cyberattacks increase in Middle East

Israel saw two organizations that are components of its critical infrastructure struck Jan. 16 by cyberattacks. Websites belonging to Israel’s stock exchange and its national airline, El Al, went down around mid-morning, a result of another cyberattack by pro-Palestinian hackers. The hacker group that calls itself Nightmare has taken responsibility for the cyberattacks. There are reports that the group was so bold as to inform Ynet, Israel's largest and most popular news and content website, as to its plans in advance of the cyberattack.

At the same time, a hacker known as Hannibal is said to have published on Facebook the account details of some 20,000 Arab users. He also claimed to possess information that can be used to breach the bank accounts of some 10 million people in Iran and Saudi Arabia. He threatened to cause billions of dollars in damage with this information.

All of this playing out in a very public setting and taking place as Hamas has reportedly urged its supporters to boost the “electronic war against occupation” (that is, to escalate cyberattacks against Israeli targets). Cyber hostilities in the Middle East are on the rise. As they continue on this path, a kinetic exchange becomes more and more likely.

The Bloomberg News Service has reported that Sami Abu Zuhri, a senior spokesman for the Palestinian political party Hamas, has stated that “penetrating Israeli websites means opening a new field of resistance and the beginning of an electronic war against Israeli occupation.”

Posted by Kevin Coleman on Jan 19, 2012 at 9:26 PM

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