Anonymous claims to have disrupted more than 100,000 Israeli web sites and caused over $US3bn in damages with a new campaign, called OpIsrael, launched over the weekend. Israeli officials say the effort was largely unsuccessful in breaching the nation's online defences.
In a typically understated piece of pre-op PR last Thursday, an Anonymous press release revealed the attack would take place on Sunday – which happens to be Holocaust Remembrance Day – in retaliation for recent Israeli air strikes in Gaza and treatment of Palestinians in the region.
Anonymous' release added the following:
To the government of Israel: You have NOT stopped your endless human right violations. You have NOT stopped illegal settlements. You have NOT respected the ceasefire. You have shown that you do NOT respect international law. This is why that on April 7, elite cyber-squadrons from around the world have decided to unite in solidarity with the Palestinian people against Israel as one entity to disrupt and erase Israel from cyberspace.
A tweet from the OpIsrael account on Sunday claimed that 100,000 web sites, 40,000 Facebook pages, 5,000 Twitter accounts and 30,000 Israeli bank accounts were hacked, causing $3bn worth of damages.
At the time of writing, the web sites of the Prime Minister's Office, the Central Bureau of Statistics, Mossad and the President of Israel, among others, were unavailable.
The Hacker News has a list of pastebin pages revealing all the sites apparently targeted. Some were defaced with anti-Israel slogans while hundreds of others suffered sustained DDoS attack, it claimed.
Private firms were also affected, with the Twitter account of AVG_Israel compromised by attackers in an embarrassing turn of events for the security vendor.
In response, Israeli officials have been typically defiant, playing down the extent and damage caused by the attacks.
Yitzhak Ben Yisrael, of the National Cyber Bureau, told The Indy that there is “hardly any real damage”, claiming that “Anonymous doesn't have the skills to damage the country's vital infrastructure”.
In addition, a Finance Ministry statement sent to New York Times claimed that although government sites were under DDoS attack they haven’t been greatly affected.
However, website for Israel's Finance Ministry and Foreign Affairs Ministry sites remain down at the time of writing.
As such, the current OpIsrael blitz seems to be more successful than the last time Anonymous tried something like this, back in November 2012.
Things haven’t been going all the way of Anonymous, though, with reports emerging that Jordanian security forces have arrested some of the suspected hackers.
The opisrael.com site also appears to have been hacked and defaced by pro-Israel hacktivist EhIsR. ®