By John D. Sutter
In the digital age, war isn’t contained to the ground. The Israeli government on Sunday said it has been hit with more than 44 million cyberattacks since it began aerial strikes on Gaza last week. Anonymous, the hacker collective, claimed responsibility for taking down some sites and leaking passwords because of what it calls Israel’s “barbaric, brutal and despicable treatment” of Palestinians.
“The war is being fought on three fronts,” Carmela Avner, Israel’s chief information officer, said on Sunday in a press release. “The first is physical, the second is the world of social networks and the third is cyberattacks.
“The attackers are attempting to harm the accessibility of Israel’s government websites on an ongoing basis. When events like the current operation occur, this sector heats up and we see increased activity. Therefore, at this time, defending the governmental computer systems is of invaluable importance.”
Israel and the military wing of Hamas have been criticized for using ready-to-share images on social media to spread spin about the conflict, which has claimed the lives of about 100 Palestinians and three Israelis since the back-and-forth violence began again Wednesday.
There is some dispute about the effectiveness of the cyberattacks. Israel says the attacks have largely been unsuccessful.
“We are reaping the fruits on the investment in recent years in the development of computerized defense systems, but we have a lot of work in store for us,” Israel’s finance minister, Yuval Steinitz, said in a written statement.