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Submission + - After the Cease-Fire in Gaza, Will the Cyberwar Continue? (

PolygamousRanchKid writes: You didn’t need to be a Middle East specialist to understand that something was seriously off-kilter early Wednesday when Israel’s vice Prime Minister Silvan Shalom displayed a “Free Palestine” photo on his Facebook page, and wrote on his Twitter feed, “FREE PALESTINE! END THE OCCUPATION!” Shortly after the postings on Shalom’s sites, the online tech magazine Gizmodo announced that Anonymous, the hackers’ activist group, had finally “swallowed a big fish,” having threatened days earlier to turn the Gaza conflict “into a cyberwar.” And yet, while the hacking of Shalom was perhaps “embarrassing”—the Israeli officials’ Twitter feed was still spitting out pro-Palestinian messages early Wednesday afternoon—it has hardly been the “cyberwar” that Anonymous promised. Instead, tech analysts, including in Israel, say the hacking campaign has exposed the activists’ technological weaknesses, while at the same alerting them to more sophisticated cyberattacks against Israel. It is those attacks—some originating as far away as Iran—that Israelis, by their own admission, could find far tougher to stop.

Earlier this year Seculet tracked a stealth virus called Mahdi, which seemed to have been created by technicians at the Islamic Azad University, a chain of private institution headquartered in Tehran. The so-called “spear-phishing” attacks were dropped into normal-looking documents (the one Seculet tracked was mentioned in a Daily Beast story concerning Israel’s own cyberwarfare), allowing hackers to target specific computer accounts, including of “infrastructure companies, financial services and government embassies.” Israel, of course, is all too familiar with the strategy. The Stuxnet computer worm, uncovered in 2010, seemed to have been designed specifically to try to disable Iran’s nuclear operation, and—still not officially confirmed—is thought to have been built by Israeli and American engineers.

By contrast, the more visible hacking blitz by Anonymous this week is brushed off by some analysts as a nuisance, rather than as a serious threat to the IDF. Biddle says Anonymous’s ineffectiveness has a clear reason: Many truly dangerous hackers are laying low or have been arrested. “Anyone with the brains and bravery to do something like hack a major government military contractoris either in the hands of the cops, or afraid of winding up there,” he says.

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After the Cease-Fire in Gaza, Will the Cyberwar Continue?

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