The hacking collective Anonymous has warned it will launch more attacks on Israeli government websites after apparently disabling more than 500, in a wave of cyber offensives which it says are in retaliation for Israel’s bombardment of Gaza.
It also claims to have leaked personal details of 70,000 users of the Israeli government jobseeker website zerem.co.il.
Pro-Palestinian protesters in France wearing the iconic Guy Fawkes mask, which has become symbolic of Anonymous
The hacking onslaught began at the weekend, with Anonymous claiming to have broken through complex cyber security for sites including some connected to Israeli Defence Force and Mossad, the Israeli secret service. Its attacks are being focused on websites using the gov.il and .il domains, the collective says.
A spokesman for Anonymous told The Huffington Post UK in broken English via Twitter: “I'm doing this for the Palestinian. The Israeli government must pay by the WHAT is he doing with the people Palestinian. [sic]”
'Tango Down': A tweet from an Anonymous hacker claiming to have taken down an Israeli government website
Anonymous had previously announced that it is planning eight days of strikes on the websites, but the spokesman added that they “did not know” when the attacks would end and “more attacks” could come on Tuesday. Tweets from one of its accounts said Israel had experienced just "a small fraction" of its anger.
Some, including the main government website gov.il, the legal website court.gov.il and the defense websites israeldefense.com and israeldefense.co.il appeared to still be down at the time of writing.
The Anonymous spokesman acknowledged that many of the websites had since been restored. A spokesman for Israeli prime minister Benjamin Netenyahu said he was unaware of the attacks.
The Twitter account @anonymousglobo listed sites as they were disabled, along with the phrase “tango down”.
The attack is also a reaction to the death in the West Bank of Tayyeb Shehadah, a 22-year-old who was wearing the iconic Guy Fawkes mask, which has become symbolic of Anonymous, when he was killed, reportedly by an Israeli soldier.
The attack is a reflection of the growing momentum of the digital aspect to the Gaza conflict, with the IDF also prolific in using the internet and social media to promote its perspective.