JERUSALEM (JWN and agencies)—The outlaw hacker group variously calling itself “Anonymous Palestine” and just plain “Anonymous” threatened to conduct an Internet “reign of terror” against Israel for its “crimes against humanity and the Palestinians.
The latest threat, posted on YouTube early Friday, followed the group’s first attack last month, in the initial round of what is apparently becoming full-fledged cyber warfare against Israel.
In its first attack, “Anonymous Palestine” struck a number of key Israel websites, paralyzing them for hours. The sites belonged to two major hospitals—Sheba Medical Center at Tel Hashomer and Assouta Medical Center in Tel Aviv—plus the Haaretz newspaper’s Hebrew website.
The attacks were in the form of a distributed denial-of-service (DDoS), which saturated the websites’ servers with download demands such that they could not respond to legitimate Internet traffic.
Previous cyber attacks by another group of hackers shut down the websites of the Tel Aviv Stock Exchange and El Al Airlines for several hours.
The YouTube video blamed Israel for committing “crimes against humanity” and mistreating the Palestinians.
“Through the use of media deception and political bribery, you have amassed the sympathies of many,” the group’s video accused Israel. “You claim to be democratic, yet in reality this is far from the truth. In fact, your only goal is to better the lives of a select few while carelessly trampling the liberties of the masses.”
The narration is delivered through a computer-modified voice program, apparently to conceal the identity of the speaker.
In an apparent reference to a possible strike against Iran’s nuclear weapons program, the video claims that Israel has “taken steps to ensure a nuclear holocaust” and declares that it will not be allowed “to attack a sovereign country based upon a campaign of lies.”
The group states that it will begin a three-stage campaign against Israel, the first of which will be “to remove Israel from the Internet.”
“Step one will be initiated after the release of this video and will be comprised of systematically removing you from the Internet. Step two will be later disclosed and is already in initiation; and, as for step three, well, think of this one as a present from Anonymous to you: We will not stop until the police state becomes a free state. We are Anonymous, we are legion, we do not forgive, we do not forget. Israeli government, expect us.”
In the video Anonymous accuses Israel of bettering “the lives of a select few, while carelessly trampling the liberties of the masses.” It also charges Israel with the crime of Zionism.
“Your Zionist bigotry has displaced and killed a great many. As the world weeps you laugh while planning your next attack…You label all who refuse to comply with your superstitious demands as anti-Semitic.”
This latest threat by pro-Palestinian cyber warriors follows the recent release of a study by the McAfee computer security company and the Security and Defense Agenda Think Tank that ranked Israel as one of the world’s most secure countries in cyber defenses.
According to Tel Aviv University Prof. Yitzhak Ben-Yisrael, a senior security adviser to Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu, Israel is bombarded with about 1,000 hacking attempts every minute. Fortunately, it is able to block most of them.
However, he warned that “a cyber-war can inflict the same type of damage as a conventional war,” bringing down power and water supplies “without firing a single bullet.”