Anonymous says it has launched attacks on Israeli websites in response to attacks and threats by the IDF to cut Gaza's telecom links. Reports say the attacks brought down some Israeli sites temporarily, and defaced others with pro-Palestinian messages.
According to The Huffington Post, early on Thursday morning, Anonymous said it had launched "OpIsrael" campaign. The group explained that by issuing threats to cut Gaza telecommunications links, Israel had "crossed a line in the sand." The hacktivist group, said: "We are ANONYMOUS and NO ONE shuts down the Internet on our watch."
A statement by the group, said: "To the people of Gaza and the 'Occupied Territories,' know that Anonymous stands with you in this fight. We will do everything in our power to hinder the evil forces of the IDF arrayed against you. We will use all our resources to make certain you stay connected to the Internet and remain able to transmit your experiences to the world."
Anonymous later posted a message saying it had taken down Israeli's "top security and surveillance website," a claim Forbes described as "hyperbolic."
According to Forbes, the statement included a photo of what the group claimed were burning buildings in Gaza with a message that said: "We Anonymous will not sit back and watch a cowardly Zionist State demolish innocent people’s lives.”
Forbes reports that another message attributed to Pakistani Anonymous hackers, said, “The people of Pakistan are always supporting the brave people of Gaza, we love you!”
The Huffington Post reports Anonymous made a call to its followers on Twitter to bring down websites that belong to the Israeli government and its military.
Anonymous tweets against IDF
The hactivist group warned Israel not to cut off Gaza telecommunications and web links and urged it to end its attack on Gaza. The group said that if the attacks do not end, Israel would feel its "full and unbridled wrath."
The Huffington Post reports that the group launched "denial of service" attacks, overwhelming targeted websites with traffic, causing them to crash. According to Forbes, sites Anonymous attacked included a privacy firm called Israeli Security Academy and a blog that Anonymous said belongs to the Israeli Defense Forces.
The BBC reports that Anonymous posted a list of 87 sites that it claimed it had attacked. According to the BBC, some of the sites listed had their homepages defaced with messages that supported Hamas and the Palestinians.
The Huffington Post comments, however, that while Anonymous has been "heavy on rhetoric" it appears its "OpIsreal" has not been effective. According to Forbes, most of the websites Anonymous claims it has attacked are still online.
The New York Times also reports that in spite of Anonymous' boast that it has taken down 40 Israeli websites, Radware, a computer security company, said only a few cases were successful. Among the few successful attacks were a blog page belonging to the I.D.F. the group took down and a private Israeli surveillance and security company whose homepage was replaced with an image of Gaza in flames and a message: “Stop bombing Gaza! Millions of Israelis & Palestinians are lying awake, exposed and terrified.”
Forbes reports that Anonymous Twitter accounts provided links to an "Anonymous Gaza Care Package" which provide tools for staying online if Israel cuts Gaza's Internet access. Forbes reports that another hacker group, Telecomix, provided instructions in English and Arabic for using dial-up connections. The group first suggested the procedure it recommended during the Egyptian Arab spring protests when Egyptians were cut off from Internet access.
The BBC reports that Anonymous cyber attacks come as the Israeli army continues to post updates on "Operation Pillars of Defense" to Twitter and award regular visitors to their Twitter page with "achievements" and "badges." When the visitor has accumulated a minimum number of points, he/she is awarded with a "virtual military rank," the BBC reports.
Digital Journal reports the IDF and Hamas have engaged in a "Twitter war," posting updates of the escalating violence.
Forbes reports the IDF, in a recent social media update, said it has attacked 250 terrorist sites in response to 274 rockets launched from Gaza.
In response, Anonymous thanked the IDF for inadvertently using its social media postings to provoking the hackers to action. Anonymous said: “We may need to thank [the IDF twitter account]. You bonded a lot of Anons together again. Gaining Momentum.”
The New York Times reports that a message posted to Pastebin, that appears a subtle softening of its previous hardline pro-Palestinian posture, Anonymous said:
"Anonymous does not support violence by the I.D.F. or by Palestinian Resistance/Hamas. Our concern is for the children of Israel and Palestinian Territories and the rights of the people in Gaza to maintain open lines of communication with the outside world."