Monday 21 July 2014

Cyber Warfare Underpinning Recent Gaza Strip Conflict

If there's one easy thing for people to understand about cybersecurity and cyber warfare, it's that there is a usually a strong presence of cyber attacks when there are threats of or actions of more traditional warfare.  While cyber warfare produces tangible technological, organizational, and economic damages, it can also be used as a form a psychological warfare.

A recent example comes out of escalated tensions in the Gaza Strip, where Hamas has used technology in service of their objective aims and Israelis have responded defensively.  Bloomberg reports that cyber attacks related to escalated tensions in the Gaza Strip have risen tenfold in the last few weeks.

Bloomberg reported about a recent attack involving a popular international pizza company:
During the time hackers controlled the Domino’s Facebook page, status updates included a threat to “strike deep inside Israel.” After Domino’s regained control, it posted an image of a masked man wearing a headband in Hamas’s signature green color, with the caption, “You can’t defeat the Israeli hunger for pizza!”

Israeli hackers didn’t stand idly by. They left some Hamas websites disabled for hours and others displaying content maligning the Islamist group and its leaders. 
An Israeli response to Hamas attack on the Domino's Facebook page translates as "“You can’t defeat the Israeli hunger for pizza!" according to Bloomberg.
 Some in Israel suggest that Hamas is also slowing internet service in addition to internet hacking and defacement like that which is being attributed to them in accounts like the above.  In forging a response, Israel cannot simply shut down access since their opposition generally do not use Israeli internet access to begin with.  Some analysis suggest attacks against Israel are being conducted by sympathizers abroad, which would make restricting internet access less effective in response.

The Israeli Internet Association's Dina Beer characterized the activity in the following way: “The attacks aren’t sophisticated; they just give the feeling that someone else is in control... It’s terrorism, designed mostly to frighten: ‘See, we can control your sites and do things you don’t want us to do.’ And it works.”

For more about these recent cyber developments underpinning the ground and air game in the Gaza Strip, head over the Bloomberg.

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