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(photo credit: Courtesy)
In reaction to the Gaza war, the virtual community has witnessed an onslaught of attacks on Israeli Internet sites by pro-Palestinian hackers from the Muslim world.
Several high-profile Israeli sites have been redesigned by the hackers to produce pro-Hamas messages and vitriolic condemnations of Operation Cast Lead, accompanied by images showing bloody scenes from Gaza.
Last Wednesday evening, the Web site of the Ezer Mizion organization, which provides services to seriously ill people, was attacked by Turkish hackers, and carried anti-Israel messages for several hours. The site was up and running again by Thursday.
Earlier last week, pro-Palestinian hackers succeeded in taking control of the Radio Tel Aviv Web site, resulting in mutual accusations between the site's operators and Bezeq International over responsibility for securing the site.
Indonesian hackers struck the Web site of the Aroma coffee house chain, and Web sites belonging to the Maccabi Tel Aviv, Hapoel Haifa and Hapoel Beersheba basketball teams were all hacked.
The official Web site of the Israeli basketball league, Minhelet, was also hacked and displayed videos of harsh images from Gaza for some hours.
In terms of threats to security, such attacks are relatively mild, compared with what more sophisticated Web attacks could do, warned Dr. Mark Last of the Department of Information Systems Engineering at Ben-Gurion University of the Negev.
"Once they gain access to a server, the hackers could insert false messages that appear to be part of the Web site, which could have real consequences during times of tension," Last said.
"We always hear about the extreme attacks in which hackers advertise their activities, but these [subterfuge] attacks could have much more serious consequences."
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