Filed under: A New Reality, Blogging, General, Technology, War
Besides the action in the air and on the ground, Hamas and its supporters are fighting Israel on another front – in cyberspace. And that’s a war Israel’s enemies are doing very well in. Hundreds of Israeli websites have been compromised in the past week, with groups of Arab and Muslim hackers leaving “calling cards” on sites they manage to infiltrate with bad code. The mechanics of defacing a website are not too complicated – there are many well-known flaws in web servers, and if a programmer isn’t careful (as many seem not to be), a hacker can easily subvert web pages, replacing the main index page with one of their own.
According to a professional spoke to this week (he’s a former “black hat” – i.e. bad guy – hacker, who saw the light and now uses his powers for good), today’s hackers are well-organized, and are highly skilled. Unlike the “script kiddies” of just a few years ago, who were more interested in showing off their skills, the 2008 brand of hacker is often politically motivated – hence the attraction of defacing Israeli web sites.
The hackers work in teams, with names like Moroccan Hackers, Islamic Crew, and Iran Black Hats, and many of them leave political messages – condemning Israeli raids in Gaza, or promising revenge. One team even uses Hebrew in its messages, describing in Hebrew how “when it’s our turn, we’ll be more humanitarian than you are.” They hack not only Israeli sites (that end in co.il or org.il), but apparently .com and .net sites that have Jewish or Israeli content, based on their names (www.kaitana.info, http://www.benhur-ltd.com) You can see examples of these hackers’ work at http://www.arabic-m.com/. There are solutions (an upcoming 21C article will highlight some), but often website owners don’t realize their sites are weak until it’s too late – and the anti-Israel hackers get to chalk up another “victory.”