For the third consecutive year, hackers are promising an “electronic Holocaust” against Israeli websites, credit cards, and email accounts. Experts say that Israelis could expect to see the details of their credit cards online, with increased attacks via e-mail and text messages to private cellular phones.

“As we did many times, we will take down your servers, government web sites, Israeli military web sites and Israeli institutions,” the voice-over said. “We will erase you from cyberspace in our electronic Holocaust”, which the group says will take place on April 7.

The threat was posted on a video on YouTube by a group calling itself AnonGhost, who are said to be affiliated with a well-known global hacker who goes by the moniker, Anonymous. The video warned Israelis to be ready for massive cyber-attacks on April 7. In the video were images of Benyamin Netanyahu, Palestinian chidren, and images from the war in Gaza. A computer generated or altered voice was heard while the narrator wore a white mask, of the type created for the movie ‘V-for Vendetta’, associated in popular culture with vigilantism and social revolution. Anon Ghost has defaced the UN website, a British fire service website, a British police website, and many others.

Last year the Islamist groups defaced websites and claimed to post credit card information of hundreds of Israelis on the Internet. Their threats proved vacuous as the information was already available to the public.

Cyber warfare experts say the hackers capitalize on psychological warfare, so, in fact, their goal can be achieved even if their attempts at hacking fail.

Daniel Cohen, a research associate at the Israel Institute for National Security Studies Cyber Warfare Program (INSS), says the increasingly sophisticated hackers are affiliated with Islamist terror groups such as Hezbollah, the Lebanese-based Iranian proxy, and Hamas, the Palestinian faction controlling the Gaza Strip, which is an offshoot of the Muslim Brotherhood.

“These groups call themselves anonymous, but in reality the Op-Israel hackers responsible for the actions are mostly from the Middle East, with connections to our local conflict,” Cohen said.

According to Col. Gabi Siboni, head of the INSS Cyber Security Program, “the terror challenges facing Israel and the West are not only physical, but cyber as well. Israel is confronting these threats from Shi’ite Hezbollah and from Sunni Hamas on a daily basis.”

“They are sophisticated and becoming more so. There is no question that in due course, the United States and other Western countries will face the same threats as Israel from these groups as well as from ISIS (Islamic State), if they are not already. ISIS is particularly adept at using the world-wide web to further its goals. But it is not only terrorist groups that perpetuate cyber attacks, nations do so as well and the need for cyber-security responses are growing exponentially,” warned Siboni.

INSS Cyber program experts suggest that organizations upgrade their servers, perform backups, never open emails from unfamiliar sources and monitor activities on their website. Private citizens should consider changing simple passwords to more complex ones and never open unidentified e-mails.

Source: JP Updates