Israel’s cyber world attacked by group Anonymous

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The hackers associated with the activist group Anonymous reportedly launched an assault on Israeli websites on Sunday and targeted the premier’s office, the Defense Ministry, the Education Ministry and the Central Bureau of Statistics, among others, but all appeared to be running normally.

“As of midday, the sites of the government of Israel are available to the public, as they have been all weekend,” the Finance Ministry said in a statement.

It said the Education Ministry site had been temporarily out of action “because of a technical fault which has been fixed,” but no further explanation was provided.

Later on Sunday, the Foreign Ministry website also witnessed an act that “paralyzed” the site for a few moments before returning to normal, the Finance Ministry said, warning of possible slowdowns or temporary cuts on official sites.

Speaking to army radio, Professor Yitzhak ben Israel, head of the National Council for Research and Development, said the scope of the damage to Israeli sites was “more or less non-existent.”

“That’s because of our preparedness in advance,” said Ben Israel, who founded the National Cyber Bureau which operates out of the office of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said it was highly unlikely that Anonymous was seeking to do real damage to the country’s key infrastructure. He said the group is incapable of destroying the nation’s organization.

Israel’s prominent sites were previously attacked in 2012 by the same activist group, however, Netanyahu said although the attack this time was more intense, Israel is more prepared than the previous year.

Guy Mizrahi, co-founder of Israeli data protection consultancy Cyberia, confirmed that Israeli websites had been under a “significant attack” for the past few days.

“Yesterday there was quite a storm, quite a few government sites were hacked and messages were left on some of them, and data was stolen from others,” he told public radio.

“It doesn’t mean that Israel is being thrown off the Internet or that the traffic lights will stop working tomorrow, but it is certainly a significant attack.”

Last November, as Israel and Hamas militants in Gaza faced off in an eight-day confrontation, the Jewish state said it had been targeted by an “unprecedented” mass cyber-warfare campaign.

At the time, Anonymous claimed it had downed or erased the databases of nearly 700 Israeli sites in protest over the assault and over what it said was Israeli threats to cut “all Internet and other telecommunications into and out of Gaza.”

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