Minister: Israel deflected '44 million' cyberattacks over Gaza

Finance Minister Yuval Steinitz says that despite Anonymous' best efforts, millions of cyberattacks fell short.
Written by Charlie Osborne, Contributing Writer

Protesting against attacks taking place on Gaza, hacktivist collective Anonymous began a hacking spree that resulted in hundreds of websites being defaced or taken offline, as well as database data being stolen and placed in public file dumps.

anonymous israel gaza cyberattack minister steinitz 44 million website hack attempts

However, Israeli Finance Minister Yuval Steinitz said Sunday that although 44 million hacking attempts have been recorded in total since the spree began -- dubbed OpIsrael -- the majority of them have failed, according to The Times of Israel.

The Minister says that nearly all of the attacks taking place on government and defense websites have failed, whereas successful database destruction generally took place on private websites. Speaking at a press conference at the Government Computing Center in Jerusalem, Steinitz said that most of the attacks were against governmental sites including the Prime Minister's Office and the Home Front Command, but only one partially succeeded, and was "wobbly for a few minutes."

Steinitz also said that many of the attacks have been traced back to IP addresses from the United States and Europe, and not from Arab countries.

Carmela Avner, the government’s chief information officer told the publication that "we haven't seen many attempts to enter sites and steal data. Most of the attacks have been of the type where hackers try to overload servers with excessive data." In other words, distributed denial of service (DDoS) attacks and email bombing were commonplace, rather than specialized attempts to steal data.

During Friday's attacks, websites including The Jerusalem bank and Israel's Ministry of Foreign Affairs were defaced and taken down for a time, although they have now been restored. In addition, a list of websites attacked was released by Anonymous, which stated that hundreds of sites were affected.

A statement from the hacking collective said that when Israel publicly threatened to cut off all lines of communication in and out of Gaza, "they crossed a line", and "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."

It remains to be seen how long the cyberattack campaign continues.

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