New York, NY, April 2, 2015 … International hackers are setting their sights on Jewish and Israeli targets as part of what has become an annual anti-Israel cyber-attack campaign.
The Anti-Defamation League (ADL), which is tracking cyber campaigns against Jewish and Israeli targets around the world, issued a security advisory this week to Jewish institutions in the U.S. about the potential for coordinated hacking attacks as part of this campaign.
According to ADL’s Center on Extremism, there are two significant elements to this year’s now annual campaign – the leadership of a pro-terrorist, anti-Semitic group in the effort, and the targeting of individuals on their mobile devices.
“In the past three years, anti-Israel hackers participating in this campaign have targeted Israeli sites with limited success, but they are now widening their attacks to target individual Israelis with threatening anti-Semitic rhetoric,” said Abraham H. Foxman, ADL National Director. “Israel and Jewish communities worldwide should be on alert, as digital terrorism takes many forms and hackers are getting more sophisticated.”
There are strong indications that AnonGhost, an international hacker group that supports terrorist groups and frequently employs anti-Semitism as part of its cyber activity, has replaced Anonymous as the main organizer of this year’s OpIsrael campaign.
Groups such as AnonGhost express unambiguous support for the Palestinian terrorist group Hamas and the Islamic State (ISIS) and have carried out cyber-attacks in their names, bringing an Islamic extremist element into an already virulently anti-Israel and anti-Semitic campaign.
The new campaign is being called for April 7 during the Jewish Passover holiday period.
AnonGhost appears to have already threatened individual Israelis with violence through mobile devices. According to ADL, the group claims to have obtained personal information on more than 200 Israelis. One threatening text the group claims to have sent to an Israeli included an image of an infamous ISIS fighter with the caption, “We are coming O Jews to kill you.” A text sent to another Israeli man included an image of his family with the threat, “I’ll stick a knife in their throats.”
While anti-Semitic themes existed in previous OpIsrael campaigns, it had been primarily billed as a response to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. AnonGhost’s participation and tactics thus far speak to the centrality of anti-Semitism in this year’s campaign, which serves as an extension of AnonGhost's pro-terror activism around the world.
Among the most sophisticated hacker groups in the world, AnonGhost has also launched and promoted software enabling supporters to take part in the cyber-attacks against Israel. The group has claimed responsibility for dozens of hacks in the United States, often with the signature, “Death To All Jews.”
In previous years, OpIsrael was spearheaded by the Arab subdivision of Anonymous and timed to coincide with Holocaust Remembrance Day. Anonymous hackers have threatened to “wipe Israel off the Internet” and have described the campaign as an “Electronic Holocaust.”