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OpIsrael Moves Forward With Attack on DEBKA News Agency

Earlier this month, pro-Palestine supporters of Anonymous launched “OpIsrael”, a virtual offensive against Israel in protest of Israel’s strikes inside of Gaza. The campaign has been linked to nearly a thousand website defacements, and numerous DDoS attacks, forcing Israel to fight a two front war. 

Last week, Israel admitted that it has been targeted in a mass campaign with millions of attempts to hack state websites.

"This is an unprecedented attack," Finance Minister Yuval Steinitz said at the time, indicating that Israel had "deflected 44 million cyber attacks on government websites."

The latest target of OpIsrael is the DEBKA news agency, for their alleged ties to Mossad.

The attack against DEBKA resulted in the exposure of alleged subscriber information, but so far only a handful of passwords and email address have been leaked to the Web by OpIsrael supporters.

“DEBKA.com is an Israeli-Based News-Agency, which has tied relations with Israeli Intelligence Agency (MOSSAD) and Military sources... DEBKA first started around 2000 in purpose of polluting media with Zionist-Oriented news and rumors,” a statement from OpIsrael says.

“Using these methods the agency has got the ability to release news and rumors in subjects which have most impact in the eyes of readers and political figures. We have managed to hack their systems and acquire highly sensitive information, including employees and authors personal information, labs details and of course their subscribers.”

DEBKA hasn’t issued any statement on the attack or loss of data. On Wednesday, the site was functioning as normal. The attack marks one of the few times that Anonymous has singled out a press agency, but it’s a move that many supporting OpIsrael approved of – given that DEBKA isn’t viewed as a legit news organization.

Anonymous isn’t the only group hunting Israel online. Earlier this week, a group with an Iranian-sounding name that translates into the word swallow in Farsi, Parastoo, attacked the UN’s nuclear watchdog, The International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA). The IAEA is investigating Iran’s nuclear program, and they confirmed that the attack resulted in the loss of contact data from an old server.

The group posted some of the data taken from the server, and encouraged those listed to sign a petition “demanding an open IAEA investigation into activities at Dimona [where]...Israel owns a practical nuclear arsenal, tied to a growing military body.” 

Dimona, a southern desert town, is the location of a nuclear research center maintained by Israel. However, IAEA inspectors are not allowed to go near the plant. According to an agreement Israel reached with the U.S., only American inspectors can go to the plant, and only if notice is given in advance.

The IAEA is still investigating the incident.

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Steve Ragan is a security reporter and contributor for SecurityWeek. Prior to joining the journalism world in 2005, he spent 15 years as a freelance IT contractor focused on endpoint security and security training.