The war between Hamas and Israel is also raging across the cybersecurity realm, with various malware exploits, disinformation campaigns and recruitment of citizen hackers seen on both sides of the conflict.
It’s difficult to obtain independently verified information because of the dynamic situation, and because many Israelis have been deployed to active duty since the war began, depleting tech staffing levels. “Most employees of Israeli companies are reservists first, and are now preparing to fight,” Horizon2.ai Inc. Chief Executive Snehal Antani told SiliconANGLE.
Security researchers are seeing an increase in cyberattacks targeting Israeli businesses and government agencies. “We are witnessing an increasing trend of efforts from Israel’s adversaries, both organized and unorganized, to introduce a cyberattack dimension to this conflict,” Roy Akerman, CEO of security firm Rezonate Inc., said in an interview.
And it’s not alone. According to a Radware Ltd. blog, “In parallel to the Hamas invasion of Israel, we have observed a significant increase in cyber aggression against Israeli targets.” Security provider Radware is based in Tel Aviv.
The company tracked the number of distributed denial-of-service attacks claimed on Telegram in the first couple of weeks in October, showing that Israel has been targeted 143 times (pictured below), both by hackers claiming supporting Palestinian and Russian causes. The vast majority of these attacks began with the Hamas invasion of Israel on Oct. 7.
Microsoft Research is seeing a similar pattern. In its latest “Digital Defense Report” released earlier this month, it said that “Israel remains by far the most-targeted country in the Middle East and North Africa region as a result of Iran’s extensive focus there.”
Many of these efforts are intended to sow panic among citizens, such as by sending disinformation alerts about potential bomb threats or insecure water supplies. Microsoft has found that Iran has lately broadened its target focus to include NATO member countries in addition to targets in the U.S. and Israel.