Cyber activist group Anonymous has released an internet video which threatens Israel with an “electronic Holocaust” on April 7, in a massive cyber attack planned to fall just over a week before Holocaust Remembrance Day on April 16, known in Israel as Yom HaShoah.
The video shows a masked figure in a suit and tie delivering a prepared statement, warning that the group will eradicate Israel from cyberspace “for... crimes in the Palestinian territories”.
“We will erase you from cyberspace in our electronic Holocaust,” says the video’s masked figure. "As we did many times, we will take down your servers, government websites, Israeli military websites, and Israeli institutions."
“A message to the youth of Palestine, you are a symbol of freedom, resistance and hope: we are with you and will continue to defend you,” the electronic voiceover adds. “Our message to the foolish Benjamin Netanyahu and all leaders in the Zionist entities, we will continue to electronically attack until the people of Palestine are free.”
Delivered in English and with Arabic subtitles, the video shows Israeli prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu sitting with members of his cabinet and military leaders, coupled with images from the Gaza conflict, including ones showing the air strikes on the enclave during the Israel Defence Forces (IDF) Operation Protective Edge last summer and Gazans running with injured children.
Previous targets of the hacker group’s operations have been websites of the Israeli prime minister’s office, the IDF, the Bank of Israel and the Embassy of Israel to the United States.
Benjamin T. Decker, senior intelligence analyst at Tel Aviv-based geopolitical risk consultancy The Levantine Group, says that the hacker collective makes the threat every year and, thus, Israel has acclimatised to the cyber threat, with less damage done with every year.
“For the most part, this is posturing. This is actually the fourth year that Anonymous has carried out this Op Israel attack and called on their supporters to erase Israel from the internet,” he says.
“As the years have progressed we have seen that, despite their increasing sophistication in hacking techniques, we have seen less damage against Israeli cyber infrastructures, largely due to Israel’s pioneering of most cyber warfare tactics, both offensive and defensive.”
Last year, during the Gaza conflict, the ‘hacktivist’ group pledged that the #OpSaveGaza campaign against Israel would “expose their terrorist activity to the world”, referring to Israel as ‘Israhell’.
Isaac Ben-Israel, a technology and security expert at Tel Aviv University told The Times of Israel that cyber attacks against Israel increased nine-fold during the battle between the IDF and Palestinian militant groups. “Instead of the usual 100,000 attacks we get each day, we were now getting a million such attacks from all over the Arab and Muslim world,” he claimed.
In last summer’s 50-day conflict, over 2,100 Palestinians—at least 1,585 civilians of which 530 were children—were killed, according to UN and Palestinian accounts, and 72 Israelis—all but five soldiers—were killed, according to Israeli accounts.