Anonymous has launched a hacking campaign against a number of Israeli sites in protest of attacks taking place on Gaza.
The hacking spree, dubbed OpIsrael, has resulted in so many Israeli websites being defaced or shut down through methods including denial of service (DoS) attacks, that it's hard to keep count. However, some enterprising hacktivists have begun compiling lists of affected websites. Targets have included governmental, retail, and businesses -- some belonging to the automotive and fashion industries.
The bank of Jerusalem, one of Israel's largest financial institutions, has received particular attention from the hacktivists -- as the cyberattackers crowed over their achievement in deleting the organisation's online database through social network Twitter. Trying to access the bank's website resulted in nothing more than a database error.
Update 22.56 GMT: The Jerusalem bank's database has been restored -- at least for now.
Israel's Ministry of Foreign Affairs website also appears to have been attacked and its database either deleted or tampered with.
According to the latest list, 663 sites have been affected.
In an earlier blog post, the collective claimed that 127 Israeli sites were defaced in one of the first waves -- and the number keeps rising.
A press release from Anonymous says that when the government of Israel publicly threatened to sever all Internet and other telecommunications into and out of Gaza, "they crossed a line in the sand." The statement continues:
"As the former dictator of Egypt Mubarack [sic] learned the hard way -- we are ANONYMOUS and NO ONE shuts down the Internet on our watch."
Anonymous finished with a stark warning to government if it persists in trying to cut telecom and web links. In addition, the collective said that unless attacks cease, the Israeli government "will know the full and unbridled wrath of Anonymous. And like all the other evil governments that have faced our rage, you will NOT survive it unscathed."
In a move that separates OpIsrael from many other campaigns, the hacktivists have put together a downloadable "care package" for residents of Gaza in the scenario that the Israeli government's promises come true and Internet connections are severed. It contains useful information on evading IDF surveillance as well as basic first aid data. In addition, Anonymous wants to make clear that it is not a "terrorist organisation", by stating that the hacker's mission is to "protect the rights of Palestinian people who are threatened with silence. [...] We know what happens to victims of oppression when the lights go dark."
As the BBC notes, while Anonymous enjoys its hacking spree, the Israeli Defense Force (IDF) has begun a campaign of its own -- a game called IDF Ranks which rewards frequent visitors and to its blog and content sharers with different badges and virtual military ranks. The website says this is to fight "misinformation" concerning the IDF and Israel. On Wednesday, the website began a live link documenting the attacks on Gaza.
As the hacking spree goes into full swing, this piece will be updated with further news.