Hacktivist groups are taking sides in the conflict between Israel and Palestine with a series of attacks online.
After the militant group Hamas launched a surprise attack on Israel over the weekend, politically motivated hackers began carrying out DDoS attacks on websites originating from both countries.
Most prominently, the Jerusalem Post announced on Monday that its website had become inaccessible due to ongoing “cyberattacks.” And while the news organization did not say who it believed was responsible, a pro-Russian group known as “Anonymous Sudan” has taken credit.
Anonymous Sudan, which made headlines earlier this year after taking down the social media platform X in more than a dozen countries, claimed that it had targeted the Jerusalem Post on Sunday in a post on Telegram.
The post included a screenshot showing an error message on the media entity’s homepage, suggesting that it had been successfully knocked offline.
Yet Anonymous Sudan is just one of many groups that have shifted their attention to the conflict. The group “Ghosts of Palestine” also took credit for bringing down the websites for Israel’s Education Ministry and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
CyberKnow, an account on X that tracks such activity, reported that it has observed more than 58 groups alleging involvement in the conflict.
Although DDoS attacks are the primary attack of choice by the groups, which serve more to bring attention to the conflict than cause any significant impact, CyberKnow says that more sophisticated hacks have been claimed as well.
The hacktivist group “AnonGhost,” for example, shared screenshots suggesting that it had exploited a cell phone app known as “RedAlert” that’s used to warn Israelis of incoming rocket attacks. The company behind the app, however, denied in a statement to Cybernews that RedAlert had been impacted.
Of the all groups said to be involved, 48 have sided with Palestine, while 10 have expressed a pro-Israel stance.
In remarks to the Daily Dot, CyberKnow stated that nearly all the groups attacking Israel had already been doing so long before the current unrest.
“What’s interesting about Israel is the large number of groups that have been attacking their sites with DDoS and defacement for years mostly due to the religious factors,” they said. “But also the social justice factors, which draw in groups claiming to be Anonymous.”
Pro-Israel groups include those such as “Gaza Parking Lot Crew” and “Silencers of Evil.” Groups supporting Palestine include the “Muslim Cyber Army” and the “Pakistani Leet Hackers.”
The duration of the unrest will likely affect how many more groups join in. But it remains unclear whether hacktivist groups will begin carrying out more impactful attacks or simply continue taking websites temporarily offline.