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Israeli websites under heavy attack

The Israeli government said that its websites logged about 44 million hacking attempts following the bombardment of Gaza Strip since Wednesday.

Yuval Steinitz, the country’s Finance Minister, said that an unnamed government website was successfully hacked only once, but it  was back online after 10 minutes.

Government websites in Israel are typically hit hundreds of times in a typical day, the Finance Ministry said.

Websites related to national defense of Israel were hit the hardest although the site of the country’s president also logged 10 million hacking attempts. The Foreign Ministry site was hacked 7 million times while the prime minister’s site experienced about 3 million attempts.

Although sources of the attacks came from around the world, most of them originated from Israel and Palestinian territories.

Minister Steinitz said: “The ministry’s computer division will continue to block the millions of cyber attacks. We are enjoying the fruits of our investment in recent years in developing computerized defense systems.”

He has reportedly instructed the ministry to use back up systems to counter the hacking attempts on government websites.

Both combatants have utilized social media recently to gain support around the world.  The Israeli Defense Force is using almost all social media sites while the Palestinians are embracing Twitter.

Carmela Avner, chief information officer of Israel said: “The war is taking place on three fronts. The first is physical, the second is on the world of social networks and the third is cyber.”

In the United States, U.S. Defense Secretary Leon Panetta expressed his view last month, citing that the next battlefield is cyberspace. He gave examples of attackers hitting the country’s financial systems and banks, while mentioning Iran as the most persistent source of such attacks. Hacking attempts from Iran intensified after the United States upped the ante of economic sanctions following the Islamic state’s show of intention to develop its nuclear program.

Hacking group Anonymous took part in the assault, and posted a video online last Sunday saying: “We will strike any and all websites that we deem to be in Israeli cyberspace in retaliation for the mistreating of people in Gaza and other areas.”

The group claimed to have erased databases of about 700 Israeli sites, both private and public, as well as wiping the contents of the Bank of Jerusalem.

It further fired a warning shot to Israel in another press release by saying: “the government of Israel publicly threatened to sever all Internet and other telecommunications into and out of Gaza they crossed a line in the sand. As the former dictator of Egypt Mubarack [sic] learned the hard way – we are ANONYMOUS and NO ONE shuts down the Internet on our watch.”

source: reuters

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