Israeli sites downed in cyber blitz

Hackers downed a number of Israeli sites on Wednesday, including those administered by the Sheba Medical Center, the Assouta medical facility and the Israeli daily Ha’aretz.

According to Ha’aretz, the Mossad positively identified multiple attempts to break into Sheba’s network and extract unspecified patient information. 

The website – which was down for several hours – posted a message saying authorities were “attempting to identify the source of the attack in order to block threatening activity.”

Pro-Palestinian hackers (Anonymous Palestine) claimed responsibility for the attack against the Ha’aretz Hebrew site, which was knocked offline in a coordinated distributed denial-of-service (DDoS) attack.

The hackers pledged to continue targeting Israeli websites, and later managed to down another newspaper (Hayom) along with the Israel Festival homepage. 

The latest round of attacks was launched just a week after Israeli hackers crashed the website administered by the Central Bank of the United Arab Emirates as the financial institution hosted European Central Bank chief Mario Draghi. 

That operation was reportedly conducted by a group calling itself “IDF Team,” which also claimed responsibility for knocking the Arab Bank offline. Meanwhile, a second Israeli hacker group known as “Nuclear” posted details of 4,800 credit cards extracted from various accounts held in Saudi Arabia last Wednesday.

The Saudi credit card data was leaked online a day after Israeli hackers downed the websites of both the Saudi Stock Exchange (Tadawul) and the Abu Dhabi Securities Exchange (ADX) – an operation conducted in retaliation for the hacking of two prominent Israeli sites: the Tel Aviv Stock Exchange (TASE) and El Al (Israel Airlines). 

It should be noted that various forms of cyber warfare have been waged by civilians in the Middle East for a number of years – and can be traced back to the early days of IRC (Internet Relay Chat) when rival parties battled each other with channel takeovers, scripts, automated bots and flooding attacks.