(photo credit: Screen capture)
Internet hackers belonging to the Anonymous group have threatened to “erase
Israel from the Internet” on April 7, claiming that their efforts will form the
largest online assault on a single country in history.
included a threat to strike every website in the Israeli cyber-sphere, and cited
pro-Palestinian rhetoric as the motivation.
Despite the menacing
messages, the coming days will not present a threat to national security, Nir
Gaist, chief technology officer and founder of the Nyotron computer security
firm, told The Jerusalem Post
Gaist is assisting state security and
economic agencies to protect themselves against the online threats.
threat exists, there’s no doubt about it,” he said.
“But we have to keep
things in proportion. These are independent hackers located around the world, an
assortment of young people. The significance of the threat is somewhat limited.
The damage will likely be confined to the realm of image,” Gaist
Those most at risk are home users, business owners and entities
that are wholly dependent on their websites, Gaist said.
Home users may
have trouble accessing websites, or may find that their privacy has been
compromised, he added.
“The most dangerous weaknesses are [online] bank
accounts,” Gaist stressed.
“I recommend that if you don’t have to surf on
the day of the attack, take a day or two off. Take a break from Facebook,” he
Heightened awareness by home users will “dictate the success of the
attack,” Gaist added. “Most of us are not sufficiently aware.”
safety tips included not opening suspicious emails from unknown sources,
deleting emails with illogical claims and being on the lookout for emails from
friends that are uncharacteristic, such as a “friend who usually writes in
Hebrew, and suddenly sends an email in English.”
Emails claiming to be
from banks should raise an alarm, and users should confirm the email by
independently calling their banks. They should never click on links contained in
such emails or volunteer private information.
Similarly, to avoid
Facebook viruses, users should be on the lookout for strange messages on the
website, Gaist warned. The same caution should be used to strange
cellphone text messages and phone calls. “Change passwords everywhere
that it is possible. Many people use the same password for everything.
This is a good time to change them,” he added.
When carrying out online
shopping, people should ensure that the website has an SSL certificate, and
should try to use virtual credit cards that can be topped up and limited to a
sum. Business owners should back up their sites and consult with their web
security providers, Gaist said.
Prof. Mark Last of the Department of
Information Systems Engineering at Ben- Gurion University, agreed that Israelis
should raise their online awareness. “It’s hard to know where their [the
attackers’] experts come from,” he said. “In general, I believe they have people
with the ability to launch attacks. I don’t know if these are the best attackers
in the world, but I wouldn’t underestimate the threat.”
In an email sent
to Knesset employees on Thursday, Deputy Information Security Officer Ofir Cohen
explained that on Sunday, government websites are expected to face distributed
denial of service (DDOS) attacks and attempts at vandalism.
estimations are that [the cyber-attacks] will reach an unusual level that we
have never seen before,” Cohen wrote, adding that the E-government system, the
government information security body, and the Knesset’s internet service
provider (ISP) are working to block the attack.
The Knesset is bolstering
its usual cyber-security measures, which include a firewall meant to deter DDOS
The Information Security Department of the Knesset is updating
its online security as well as sharing information with other government offices
in preparation for the expected attack.
Lahav Harkov contributed to this