Israel Prepares for Cyberattack Aimed to ‘Punish Zionist Entity’ for ‘Crimes Against Humanity’


By Ruthie Blum

Ahead of what has become an annual cyberattack against Israel by pro-Palestinian hackers, video clips have been circulating in various languages warning about Thursday’s imminent disruption of networks identified as being associated with the Jewish state, the Hebrew news site Walla reported on Sunday.
According to the report, on April 7 – the day designated by the hacker collective calling itself “Anonymous” for a yearly demonstration of support for the “Palestinian cause” – there will be an online assault on Israeli targets. Though such attacks have not caused significant damage in previous years, Walla said, this is not reason for Israelis to remain apathetic or complacent.

In the videos, which have been circulating for more than a month in English, Arabic, French and German, the group’s members are threatening Israel with the cyberattack “to punish the Zionist entity for continuing its murderous assaults and crimes against humanity that it commits against the Palestinian people.” The clips also call on the world to join the planned cyberattack, “and to unite in solidarity with the Palestinians against Israel.”

“Based on experience from previous years, these cyberattacks take many forms, such as Distributed Denial of Service (DDoS), website defacement and, of course, phishing attacks,” said Eyal Benisti, CEO of IronScales and an expert in cyber and phishing attacks. “Over the past few months, we have witnessed a significant increase in Ransomware attacks, whose aim is to encrypt files and information on the victim’s computer and then demand ransom in exchange for their release. We anticipate an additional increase of these kinds of attacks on [April 7].”

The operations center of the Israeli cyber-security company Radware, which is tracking the upcoming attack, identified new tools distributed online ahead of the day in question, according to Walla, as well as tutorial videos on how to use them. Shira Sagiv, Radware’s Director of Security Product Marketing told Walla: “These include new tools that were developed especially for the attack on Israel, and improved and upgraded old ones, to create an element of surprise.”

Walla listed a number of tips on how to defend against cyberattacks in general and the one scheduled for Thursday in particular.

According to Amir Carmi, chief technology officer at the Israel branch of the security company ESET, it’s not that complicated to protect your computer against attack, as long as you follow the following five simple rules of thumb for safe surfing:

1. Do not click on suspicious links in your email, SMS, What’sApp or social media inboxes. These might look innocent, and can even appear as though they are from friends or contacts. Your guiding principle should be not to click on any such link, unless you know for certain that it is safe.

2. Never open attachments received via email or social media. The exception to this rule is an attachment you receive from someone you trust, and which you know for certain is meant for you. If you receive an unexpected attachment, it is better to ask the sender what it is before opening it.

3. Update your operational system and other programs on your computer regularly. Microsoft updates, Adobe and Java are the most important of these.

4. Do not download programs with which you are unfamiliar and whose source is unknown to you. Particularly suspicious are expensive programs offered for free. Such programs often turn out to be “costly” in other ways. There are many excellent and trustworthy free programs, but try to find user reviews or articles in respectable tech columns before installing any on your computer.

5. Use protection. Anti-viruses or more comprehensive security packages are an additional layer of protection for your computer against malware and other forms of cyberattacks. Make sure your anti-virus has not expired and is up to date.

Anyone interested in free active protection can use the services of Secoz, Walla said, which operates in the field of information security and cyber-defense, and which decided this year to take an active role to help companies fend off damage from the imminent attack.