Tens of millions of hackers target Israel government Web sites


More than 44 million hacking attempts have been made on Israeli government web sites since Wednesday when Israel began its Gaza air strikes, the government said on Sunday.

Finance Minister Yuval Steinitz said just one hacking attempt was successful on a site he did not want to name, but it was up and running after 10 minutes of downtime.

Typically, there are a few hundred hacking attempts a day on Israeli sites, the ministry said.

Attempts on defence-related sites have been the highest, while 10 million attempts have been made on the site of Israel's president, 7 million on the Foreign Ministry and 3 million on the site of the prime minister.

Screenshot from Groupon.co.il which was hacked by Pakistani hackers.

A ministry spokesman said while the attacks have come from around the world, most have been from Israel and the Palestinian territories.

“The ministry's computer division will continue to block the millions of cyber attacks,” Steinitz said. “We are enjoying the fruits of our investment in recent years in developing computerised defence systems.”

Steinitz has instructed his ministry to operate in emergency mode to counter attempts to undermine government sites.

Both sides in the Gaza conflict, but particularly Israel, are embracing the social media as one of their tools of warfare. The Israeli Defense Force has established a presence on nearly every platform available while Palestinian militants are active on Twitter.

“The war is taking place on three fronts. The first is physical, the second is on the world of social networks and the third is cyber,” said Carmela Avner, Israel's chief information officer.

Last month, U.S. Defence Secretary Leon Panetta said cyberspace is the battlefield of the future, with attackers already going after banks and other financial systems. U.S. banks have been under sustained attack by suspected Iranian hackers thought to be responding to economic sanctions aimed at forcing Tehran to negotiate over its nuclear program.

Reporting by Steven Scheer; Editing by Stephen Powell

Palestinians say hackers hit Internet services


Hackers disrupted Palestinian Internet services in the West Bank and Gaza Strip on Tuesday, the Palestinian telecoms minister said, alleging that a foreign government was behind the interference.

“All Palestinian IP addresses have been exposed to a focused, organised attack from abroad,” Mashour Abu Daqqa told Reuters. “I think this is organised by a state. This is my prediction,” he said.

Abu Daqqa said technicians from telecoms firm Paltel , an Internet services provider, were working to resolve the problem which also prevented users from viewing foreign websites. They had identified fake servers behind the disruption, he added.

“It’s between slow and stopped altogether,” said Ghassan Khatib, spokesman for the Palestinian Administration in Ramallah.

In separate remarks to the Palestinian news agency WAFA, Abu Daqqa said the attack was linked to the Palestinians’ admission to the United Nations’ cultural agency UNESCO on Monday—a diplomatic success for the Palestinians and a move opposed by Israel.

Writing by Tom Perry; Editing by Karolina Tagaris