Reports of Internet Slowdowns as anti-Israel Hackers Prepare Sept. 11 Attacks

AnonGhost disseminates list of government websites, other online targets.

Hundreds of Israelis who have recently reported slowdowns in their Internet access appear to have been the victims of cyberattacks, Haaretz has learned. This comes as a hacker group evidently protesting Israeli policies is planning its latest round of cyberattacks on Israeli websites, scheduled for today.

The group, AnonGhost, has released a list of Israeli online targets, including numerous government websites, on Internet forums used by the Anonymous Collective. In allusion to previous such cyberattacks, the operation is titled OpIsrael Reborn.

Following reports of the slowdowns in Internet use, technicians in a communications company raised the possibility of an intentional attack directed at computers unprotected by a password and thus open to being hacked.

Home computers unprotected by a password, or whose operators have given the password to a technician to allow repairs, are vulnerable to hackers in another country seeking such openings. The National Cyber Bureau says the hacker involved in these cases is known to them.

In the present case, it is private home computers that have been hacked, so the damage has been confined mainly to a slowdown in Internet use. However, servers have been asked to pay attention to the possibility of such hacking, especially when technicians are given remote access to a router. According to a source in cyber security said, without reference to the specific attack being launched now, that “attempts being made at the moment do not necessary manifest themselves in very specific attempts to do damage in a specific place.” However, the source said that the action itself, especially if it brings large-scale results, would be considered a success by perpetrators.

The National Cyber Bureau confirmed to Haaretz that “cyber incidents like the one mentioned in your query are known to the National Cyber Bureau and are being dealt with if necessary by the relevant entities.”

Massive ID data released

Ahead of today’s planned attack, AnonGhost yesterday released 165,000 names, addresses, email addresses and phone numbers of Israelis. The listings were likely obtained by hacking into an Israeli Web-hosting site. It is yet unclear how current this data is, or how many of the listings repeat themselves.

The group has called on members to vandalize Israeli websites or cause traffic that would prevent access to these sites. Both attack methods use automatic tools that do not require any programming skills.

AnonGhost’s most recent known cyberattack against Israeli sites took place in April, on Holocaust Memorial Day.

“You have not stopped your endless human rights violations,” the Anonymous-affiliated organizers said in a post addressed to Israel’s government at the time. “You have not stopped illegal settlements. You have not respected the cease-fire [ending Operation Pillar of Defense in November]. You have shown that you do not respect international law.”

Shlomo Eisenberg, head of cyber intelligence at Cyuberlnt, a security company, says AnonGhost’s April attempt was unsuccessful.

“AnonGhost’s high media presence attracts ‘Script Kiddies’ – youths who use automatic tools to attack - but these may be joined by programmers with better skills,” Eisenberg added.

As in former attempts, Israelis are advised to use a stronger password and refrain from using generic pins such as 123456, or using the same password for different sites.