That was the reply, from hackers within #OpIsrael, to our question about why, yet again, an international coalition of hacktivists including Anonymous, AnonGhost, Anonymous Arabe, and others, was uniting to attack Israel during Passover. The hackers were careful to differentiate this from any cyber-jihad; it’s strictly a pro-Palestinian action designed to make Israel uncomfortable as long as Palestinians are not given full access to their rights, as the hacktivists define them.
The annual surge of Anonymous’ #OpIsrael occurred as predicted on April 7 (and, thanks to international date lines, also on April 6 and some of April 8). The Tangodowns (websites knocked offline via DDoS attack), the defaces (websites obscured by digital “posters” put up by attackers), the leaks (you know what those are) were trumpeted to the four corners of Facebook, Twitter, and presumably Snapchat and Tinder.
While the Anonymous hive and its allies scored some definite hits, the grand total damage done was nowhere what it was in 2013, when an estimated $3 billion in damage was done to the Israeli internet. Now, note that total includes every possible claim for repairing, at full rates, every possible kind of damage including tangodowns of sites whose administrators never even noticed they were offline, but hey, it’s war. Everybody stretches the numbers a little. Still, there is little doubt this year’s attack did not rise to the level of the 2013 attack. Anonymous did not, for instance, leak any Mossad databases, passwords, or emails this time. Participant groups were fewer as well.
You can see the activity between Asia, Southern Europe, and the Middle East, with a large node in Saudi Arabia as well. The activity in the United States was probably reflective of the use of US-based proxy servers, to hide the hackers’ IP addresses, although the US is always a high-hacking locale. Russia was uncharacteristically quiet. Probably making popcorn.
That’s 700 compared to 100,000. But more to the point, this year the coalition of Anonymous, AnonGhost, Anonymous Arabe, and others leaked:
- 2143 Paypal password/username combos; this pastebin document has been removed
- 150,000 username/password combos from several popular websites; this document is still extant
- 7000 email/password combinations; this document still exists on Pastebin
- 6000 modem logins including IP addresses; this document still exists
Hackread analyzed the leaks and found them to be legitimate, although one security blog disagrees. In many instances, hacker crews will claim to leak enormous numbers of password/username combos, but the information turns out to have been cobbled together from previously-reported leaks. These were all fresh. The blood drawn, such as it was, was real. A participant in OpIsrael explained that there was no central organization or assignment of targets: the crews all choose the sites they’d attack independently.
There were not so many defaces or DDoS attacks: Israel, always one of the best cyber-defended countries, has brought its A game, and the tangodowns of government websites were so brief that The Cryptosphere did not confirm a single tangodown. Here is the full list claimed by AnonGhost. DDoS attacks concentrated on government and big industry, whom Palestinian supporters wish to shame for doing business on land they say was stolen. Defacements, which are harder to pull off, mostly targeted civilian websites.
They were not unopposed.
The Israeli Elite Force have gone up against OpIsrael before, and are currently active in #OpIsraelRetaliate, doxing foes, leaking emails, taking down a Syrian website, like Syria needs more problems right now. The above tweet reports (and is confirmed by Haaretz) that IIE has leaked the entire database of Palestinian residents, a document the Israeli government surely has to hand at any given moment. That document is still on Pastebin.
After all the shots were fired, all the tangoes downed, we talked to a representative of IzzahHackers, a non-geospecific Muslim crew who describe themselves in their Twitter bio as “Hacktivists for justice, against oppression and hatred worldwide.” This is their second consecutive involvement with OpIsrael.
IzzahHackers told us, “We cannot speak for other teams, but we have supported hacktivism in defense of Palestine against the oppressor Israel for few years now. We have been learning more techniques all the time, and have sent messages to the occupiers,, to their own businesses and homes to get the message that occupation and forced expulsion with massacres such as at Deir Yassin is not the answer.”
“We have leaked thousands of details of Israeli government and tango down many who assist them in their occupation of Palestinian people including military companies. The military industry is one of Israel’s biggest industries. They profit from the deaths of others. The occupation must stop, the Palestinian people must have the right to return for ops against Israel to stop.”
And the hackers have a message for the people of Israel (as if they hadn’t been sending one already).
To the people of Israel: you have the power to stop oppressive policies of the government. There are good people in all societies including in Israel, so do what is in your means to stop the oppression.
Another participant concluded, on a somewhat stronger note:
support peace and work for it.
free the Palestinian prisoners
stop stealing the Palestinian land.
((( End the Israeli occupation )))
Your move, Israel.