ADL and FBI warn of cyber-attacks on Israeli, Jewish sites April 7

The FBI has warned U.S. companies that hackers from the Middle East and North Africa plan to conduct cyber-attacks in an “electronic Holocaust” April 7 to coincide with the second anniversary of the first #OpIsrael attacks on April 7, 2013, the date of Yom Hashoah that year.

Those attacks were conducted by the international activist hacker group Anonymous. There is evidence, according to the ADL, that this year’s attacks will be headed by an affiliate group, AnonGhost, which “frequently employs anti-Semitism as part of its cyber activity.” Besides the annual effort to hack Israeli government and institutional websites, the ADL reports that AnonGhost “appears to have already threatened individual Israelis with violence through mobile devices”  and “the group claims to have obtained personal information on more than 200 Israelis. One threat­en­ing text the group claims to have sent to an Israeli included an image of an infamous ISIS fighter with the cap­tion, ‘We are com­ing O Jews to kill you.’ A text sent to another Israeli man included an image of his family with the threat, ‘I’ll stick a knife in their throats.'”

“In the past three years, anti-Israel hackers participating in this campaign have targeted Israeli sites with limited success, but they are now widening their attacks to target individual Israelis with threatening anti-Semitic rhetoric,” said Abraham H. Foxman, ADL National Director. “Israel and Jewish communities worldwide should be on alert, as digital terrorism takes many forms and hackers are getting more sophisticated.”

AnonGhost is unambiguous in its support of Hamas and ISIS (or Islamic State), the ADL said.

“While anti-Semitic themes existed in previous #OpIsrael campaigns, it had been primarily billed as a response to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. AnonGhost’s participation and tactics thus far speak to the centrality of anti-Semitism in this year’s campaign, which serves as an extension of AnonGhost’s pro-terror activism around the world,” the ADL said in its warning.

The FBI’s threat assessment is that the AnonGhost and other hackers participating in #OpIsrael can mount low-level denial of service (DoS) attacks and deface websites. DoS attacks use a flood of log-in requests aimed at a target to overwhelm its capacity and cause the targeted sites to crash. According to the FBI, “the most likely targets for the campaign are Israel-based systems or the systems of worldwide Jewish-oriented organizations like synagogues or cultural centers.”

“Based on historical targeting preferences, the attackers will likely focus primarily on Israeli financial institutions, but may also target Israeli media outlets,” the FBI warning said.

“Given the perceived connections between the government of Israel and Israeli financial institutions, and those of the United States, #OpIsrael participants may also shift their operations to target vulnerable U.S.-based financial targets or Jewish-oriented organizations within the United States,” it also said. “Based on historical attacks, the FBI assesses that attacks which may spawn from #OpIsrael to target U.S.-based systems will likely constitute only a small percentage of overall activity.”

A video posted by Anonymous, which still appears to be involved in #OpIsrael, last week accused Israel of “crimes in the Palestinian territories” and threatened: “We will erase you from cyberspace in our electronic Holocaust. “As we did many times, we will take down your servers, government websites, Israeli military websites, and Israeli institutions.”

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