Rumblings are circulating about a planned cyberattack on Israeli and US targets scheduled for September 11th, called OpIsrael Reborn. While the spooky videos and rhetoric seem grandiose and theatrical, it’s uncertain how much of a threat the publicized attack actually poses.
From the Jerusalem Post:
An English-language video posted to YouTube on Monday calls on Muslim hackers around the world to participate in a movement to bring down American and Israeli websites on September 11, marking the anniversary of the 9/11 terrorist attacks in New York City.
“Hi, Israel do you remember us?” the modified voice-over in the video asks, referring to previous hacking operations, as a kaffiya-clad Joker laughs at the audience.
“We are the same people who f****d you on April 7. And now we are back. To punish you again,” the voice declares, in reference to an April attempt, by the group Anonymous, to “erase Israel from the internet” on International Holocaust Memorial Day.
In their most recent operation, the group of technical militants announce the launch of a new operation,”#OpIsrael #Reborn.” They then ask “all hacker Muslims to join their September 11 operation.
“There is no Israel in this map,” the voice says in reference to ongoing Israeli-Palestinian political conflict, and a potential clue as to the intentions behind the operation. “No one recognizes you. Because it is Palestine.”
The voice then poses a question to viewers. “Who are the terrorists?” it asks, while showing images of violent terrorist attacks.
It then calls on Americans and Israelis to expect an attack of some kind on September 11. “America, Israel. We will show you,” it reiterates.
The name is a throwback to a prior #OpIsrael campaign, which has run a few rounds in the past during times of conflict between Israel and Palestine, most recently in retaliation for Israel’s strikes on Gaza earlier this year. Those cyberattacks were largely unsuccessful and hackers’ claims later determined to have been greatly exaggerated.
The #OpIsraelReborn campaign was actually posted several weeks ago, and some hackers have already been touting their early conquests, which include such critical targets as an Israeli pool company named Aquapool, what appears to be an interior design company, and a baby items outlet, among others.
These aren’t the sort of targets that most hackers would typically seek out if they were looking to make an impact rather than simply seek attention – in fact, many of the mainstream Anonymous hacktivists have often criticized attacks on small businesses, as such actions hurt innocent citizens rather than governments or otherwise influential institutions.
Aside from a handful of international hackers and some claiming association to Anonymous Tunisia and others floating around in the #OpIsraelReborn and #OpIsrael #Reborn hashtag feeds, the campaign doesn’t seem to have broken out into the more mainstream hacker feeds much yet.
While most of its targets have primarily been smaller businesses, websites and blogs, AnonGhost, the hacking group who appear to be leading this campaign, has had some other successes. One higher profile attack last month was the defacement of the website of the Embassy of India in Israel, in which a message was left that read, “Mauritania Attacker Was here ^_^ Pakistan Zindabad Big Love From Mauritania.” The Mauritania Attacker, who says he founded AnonGhost, also claimed in a recent interview to have access to the “entire database of users on twitter.” The social media company however said it “investigated the situation and can confirm that no Twitter accounts were compromised,” according to The Guardian.
The success of the group’s other projects, #OpIsrael, #OpUSA and #OpPetrol has been questioned by most experts, as Softpedia’s Eduard Kovacs pointed out.
The videos and selected target date for OpIsrael Reborn are most certainly dramatic in nature. But beyond smaller targets, it’s unclear just how much of a threat there is from this particular campaign beyond preparing for nuisance hacks. I’ll reserve judgment and practice some healthy skepticism for now, as we watch how the campaign unfolds over the next week.DONATE
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