Anonymous hacks Israel, Israeli Elite strike back

As planned, the hactivist group Anonymous launched an attack on Israeli websites overnight intended to “erase Israel from the Internet.” But most disruptions appear to have been brief and damage minimal, according to the Times of Israel.

Yitzhak Ben Yisrael, of the government’s National Cyber Bureau, said in an Israel Hayom report that 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,” he said.

Sites reported to have been down during this attack, Israel’s Education Ministry  and Central Bureau of Statistics, appeared to be back online Sunday morning. In protest of Israeli policies in Gaza and the West Bank, the hackers had targeted numerous government websites in a trial run last month.

Not to be outdone, an Israeli hacker group calling itself the Israeli Elite Strike Force struck back disabling dozens of sites in Pakistan, Iran, Syria, and several north African countries, according to the Times of Israel.

Israeli Elite tweet

Israeli Elite screenshot of Turkish site
Screenshot of a Turkish site hacked by Israeli Elite Strike Force. Photo credit: Times of Israel

The Israeli Elite group acquired the domain name opisrael.com, the name associated with the #OpIsrael hackers, and set up a pro-Israel site. The site features educational facts about Israel and the Jewish people, and even plays the Israel National Anthem.

Anonymous has been warning of the Isreal cyberattack for over a month. Hackers under the name of #OpNorthKorea also launched an attack on official Twitter and Flickr accounts of the North Korean government on Thursday.

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