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Anonymous Virtually Enters the Gaza Conflict With OpIsrael

Anonymous Virtually Enters the Gaza Conflict – Maintains Pro-Palestinian Stance

After Israel launched strikes inside of Gaza, supporters of Anonymous’ OpIsrael launched DDoS attacks and defaced more than 80 Israeli websites on Thursday. The virtual support being offered to those trapped in the middle of a fight between the IDF and Hamas includes more than rhetoric. Early Friday morning, the loosely associative group started spreading information in order to enable those in Gaza with access to communications to the world outside.

OpIsraelEarly Tuesday morning, on Twitter, IRC, and various places on the Web, Anons gathered and started planning a response to what was being called the barbaric, brutal and despicable treatment of the Palestinian people. While not everyone agreed on the issue, as there are just as many pro-Israeli Anons as there are otherwise, the plan to attack IDF and other Israeli government domains was initiated. According to analysis from Radware’s Emergency Response Team, some targets included The Israel Defense Forces web site, Israeli banks, the Prime Minister's office, as well as airlines and infrastructure sites.

OpIsrael has been active for a while, and at present, more than 80 domains have faced the legion’s wrath, with plans for further Web-based attacks. However, one Anon told SecurityWeek that Thursday’s actions were necessary because of the threat to sever communications.

In a statement, OpIsrael explained, “...when the government of Israel publicly threatened to sever all Internet and other telecommunications into and out of Gaza they crossed a line in the sand.”

“As the former dictator of Egypt Mubarak learned the hard way - we are ANONYMOUS and NO ONE shuts down the Internet on our watch. To the IDF and government of Israel we issue you this warning only once. Do NOT shut down the Internet into the ‘Occupied Territories,’ and cease and desist from your terror upon the innocent people of Palestine or you will know the full and unbridled wrath of Anonymous. And like all the other evil governments that have faced our rage, you will NOT survive it unscathed.”

In addition to the Web-based attacks, Anonymous has also updated their Care Package for the people of Gaza, which includes some of the information that was being circulated last year, during the North African protests in Egypt and Tunisia.

The updated Care Package being sent to contacts in Gaza " target="_blank">includes instructions designed to show people how to connect to the Internet, which are based on Telecomix guides and translated into Arabic. Moreover, there are security tips for Macintosh and Windows users, as well as instructions for enabling communications on cellular devices – one of the good things about GSM being so open in the region – basic first-aid, and surveillance avoidance techniques.

The Conflict in Gaza started on Wednesday, when both Israel and Palestine launched airstrikes that killed 15 Palestinians and three people in Israel. Online, both sides used Twitter to propagandize the attacks, and over the last few days this activity has done nothing by expand.

In addition to the IDF-based messages and pro-Hamas messages, everyday citizens are getting involved, and the flow of information from the region has tripled. Yet, it is this stream of information that Anonymous has watched, and when it was reported that it may be severed, they entered the fray – albeit virtually. It’s unclear if any of the OpIsrael activists are actually in Gaza.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu told reporters that Israel will “continue to take whatever action is necessary” in order to defend themselves, and warned that there would be a significant widening of the Gaza operation. The widening, as it is called, seemed to play out exactly as described, as IDF officials reported hitting "approximately 150" targets overnight, halting shortly before dawn on Friday local time.

Current reports say that there will be a cease fire on Friday, in order to accommodate a visit to Gaza by Egypt's new Prime Minister, Hesham Kandil, which Israel will agree to, if militants in Gaza do the same an Israeli official said.

Additional details on the Gaza conflict are here.

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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.