Gaza hackers launch porn-based cyber attacks on Israel

Hackers covered up malware content with pornographic file hoping to distract users.

By
February 17, 2015 18:56
2 minute read.
Cyber hackers [illustrative]

Cyber hackers [illustrative]. (photo credit: REUTERS)

Gaza-based hackers have launched cyber attacks against Israeli targets using a pornographic video clip, according to a paper by the Trend Micro Internet security company.

In an operation the company called “Arid Viper,” Israel was specifically targeted for attack by either governmental bodies or anti-Israel groups.

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The attacks targeted “a government office, transport service/ infrastructure providers, a military organization, and an academic institution in Israel,” as well as several Israeli individuals and a Kuwaiti academic institution, Trend Micro said.

Targets would receive an email that opened a pornographic movie, but also installed malware on their system.

“Operation Arid Viper was unusual in that it had a pornographic component in hopes of taking user focus away from the infection or the fact that something strange is happening.

It targeted professionals who might be receiving very inappropriate content at work and so would hesitate to report the incident,” the report said.

“These victims’ failure to act on the threat could have then allowed the main malware to remain undiscovered.”

The malware, which was disguised to look like a Skype-related file, would search for files “of interest” on the computers and send them back to the hackers, who covered up their IP address to make it look like the email came from Germany and not Gaza.

A similar but separate attack software focused on Egypt.

Trend Micro, which had assistance from the United States Air Force Office of Special Investigations in compiling the report, cited several individuals connected with the attack in Gaza, but said it could not verify that any of them was responsible.

“Whoever the real culprits are, it is clear that they are part of the Arab world, evidence of a budding generation of Arab hackers and malware creators intent on taking down their chosen adversaries,” the report concluded.

On Sunday, Israel’s cabinet approved the creation of a National Cyber Authority, a companion to the already-existing Israel National Cyber Bureau (INCB), that would focus on cyber threats in the civilian sector.

“Cyber threats can paralyze nations. This is a strategic threat that can paralyze and hurt no less than other threats in various fields and we must be prepared to for it on the national and international levels,” Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said.

Dr. Eviatar Matania, who heads the INCB, said that being pro-active against the growing threat is necessary.

“A prosperous cyber industry constitutes a key layer of the Israeli economy and, at the same time, makes a unique contribution toward building the national defense and assists countries around the world in dealing with threats in cyberspace,” he said.


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