In the digital age, war isn’t contained to the ground.
On monday Global cyber hacker group Anonymous declared a cyber war against Israel. According to Gawker.com, the group took down the website of the Israeli government on Monday with a DDOS attack. This attack is effective as it overwhelms targeted servers with requests and causes the server to crash. Anonymous seems to have empathy for the plight of the Palestinians in Gaza which have been under Israeli bombardment since 8 July.
A number of tweets and retweets that illustrate the terror of civilians in Gaza have been posted on Twitter in the name of the group. A number of news sources reported that t least 1 800 Palestinians and more than 60 Israelis have died in the conflict though it is likely that the number will change once hostilities cease.
UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Navi Pillay on Thursday said that Israel should be held accountable for its actions in Gaza. Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has said that he is determined to obliterate the tunnels that Hamas uses to smuggle material into Gaza, but he is coming under pressure from several quarters to call a halt to the fighting. The US State Department was “appalled” by an attack on a school where some estimate that 3 000 civilians were hiding from the conflict.
However this is not the first time. Back in 2012 the Israeli government said it has been hit with more than 44 million cyberattacks since it began aerial strikes on Gaza. Anonymous, claimed responsibility for taking down some sites and leaking passwords because of what it calls Israel’s “barbaric, brutal and despicable treatment” of Palestinians.
“The war is being fought on three fronts,” Carmela Avner, Israel’s chief information officer, said in a 2012 press release. “The first is physical, the second is the world of social networks and the third is cyberattacks.
“The attackers are attempting to harm the accessibility of Israel’s government websites on an ongoing basis. When events like the current operation occur, this sector heats up and we see increased activity. Therefore, at this time, defending the governmental computer systems is of invaluable importance.”
There is some dispute about the effectiveness of the cyberattacks. Israel claimed the attacks were largely unsuccessful. “We are reaping the fruits on the investment in recent years in the development of computerized defense systems, but we have a lot of work in store for us,” Israel’s finance minister, Yuval Steinitz, said in a written statement. Reuters quotes him as saying only one website was down for 10 minutes.
Israel and the military wing of Hamas have already been criticized for using ready-to-share images on social media to spread spin about the conflict, which has claimed the lives of about 100 Palestinians and three Israelis since the back-and-forth violence began.