Arabs and Israelis take up battle in cyberspace

Xxxx Xxxxx Xxxxxx xxxxxxxx at xxxxxxxxxxx.xxx
Fri Nov 10 05:30:28 MST 2000




Middle East Times, Nov 3, 2000, International Edition

http://www.metimes.com/2K/issue2000-44/methaus.htm

Arabs and Israelis take up battle in cyberspace

Ranwa Yehia

Arab Internet users all over the world succeeded in crippling two major
Israeli websites on October 25 in an attempt to counter Israel's efforts
to overload Hezbollah websites.

Alerted by an article published in Beirut's Daily Star the day before
detailing how Israelis have established a site to attack Hezbollah's,
Arab users began a counter-offensive. By 1pm the main Israeli government
website
[http">http://www.israel.org] and the Israeli Foreign Ministry's website

[http">http://www.israel-mfa.gov.il] had been downed by hackers.

The Jerusalem Post website issued a report at 2:10 pm confirming that
the Israeli Foreign Ministry website was down.

 "Spam (overloading) and hacker assaults have also been detected on a
number of other government sites as well as the IDF (Israel Defense
Force) website.

Ministry sources told Israel Radio the attackers were traced to 'Islamic
Internet sites,'" according to The Jerusalem Post.

An Israeli Foreign Ministry official said: "The site itself was not
damaged, but at the moment, no one can access it." The official said the
website attack could be traced to a "pro-Palestinian and pro-Shia
Muslim" website in the US [http://members.tripod.com  /irsa2000] that
urged Internet users to flood the Foreign Ministry site.

Several local Internet service providers (ISPs) had published The Daily
Star article early on October 25. Activity was detected soon afterward,
with the article being widely circulated through e-mail.

Chat rooms frequented by Arab users throughout the world were also
mobilized, with information about how to attack Israeli websites posted
and updates on which websites have already been targeted.

"If we continue like this, we should arrive at a time when an Israeli
website is crippled every hour. This is our new battle," said one
Internet user who, like other  interviewed, requested anonymity.

Another Internet programmer said that the attack against Israeli
websites was more professional than the attack staged by Israeli
supporters over the past two weeks to cripple Hezbollah websites.

 "While the Israelis and their supporters simply overloaded Hezbollah
websites and those related to the resistance and Intifada to eventually
cripple them, our attack was destructive," he said.

The programmer explained that Lebanese hackers detected a security
loophole on the Israeli websites, allowing them to have full control
over all data on these sites. "Hence, all data was deleted," the
programmer said.

Another difference is that while it requires thousands of Israeli
supporters to overload a Hezbollah or pro-Palestinian website, it can
take one person using one single dial-up connection to hack and crash an
Israeli website.

"Both are illegal, but this is war," the programmer said.

By 10 pm Wednesday, the two Israeli websites were still down. The
Jerusalem Post reported earlier Wednesday that "the newest Arab target
is Israel's virtual government."

The English-language daily quoted an Israeli Foreign Ministry official
as saying that the Ministry's site was "neutralized for several hours
late Monday night by a flood of intentional web traffic, most likely
email messages and requests." The attack has caused the near-total
collapse of Israel's ISP system, according to the Post.

Arab Internet users are making sure they stage their attacks from
individual PCs or Internet cafes to reduce the possibilities of an
Israeli counter-attack that would cripple their systems.

One such person, identifying himself as Walid
[http://www.hizbollah.com], said he intended to hack the Knesset server.

"We'll target and hack Israeli websites one by one. This will continue,"
he said.

Walid added that the attacks may get fiercer, with an email war between
Israel and Arabs seeing an exchange of viruses designed to crash
systems.

More websites are being built to attack Israeli sites. One is [
http://www.ummah.net/unity/defend]. Its front page has Hezbollah's logo
with the word "UNITY." Similar to an earlier website,
[http://www.members.tripod.com/irsa] 2000, it instructs users to target
Israeli websites by pressing on a button that initiates hits on these
sites every second in an attempt to overload and eventually cripple
them.

An email circulated about the website urges users to log on and help
defend Hezbollah. Hackers have since broken into a Hezbollah website
which was downed last week, http://www.hizballa.org, and replaced its
home page with an image of an Israeli flag and an instrumental recording
of "Hatikva," the Israeli national anthem.

The website's front page said: "This page was uploaded to protest
against the Arabic attacks in the past few days."

Courtesy Information Times (USA): http://www.InformationTimes.com

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Xxxx Xxxxx Xxxxxx
PhD Student
Department of Political Science
SUNY at Albany
Nelson A. Rockefeller College
135 Western Ave.; Milne 102
Albany, NY 12222


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