Israeli Government, Army Web Sites Crash After Hostile Hits
Thousands of hostile hits against official Israeli Web sites have
opened a new front in Israel's confrontation with the Arab world.
By Dina Kraft
The Associated Press
J E R U S A L E M, Oct. 27 - Several official Israeli Web sites crashed
after being flooded by thousands of simultaneous hostile hits in a digital
onslaught by Islamic groups abroad, officials said Thursday.
The cyber attack is the most intense since Israel's government
launched its Internet sites several years ago. It opens a new front in
Israel's confrontation with the Arab world. Palestinian rioters have been
clashing with Israeli forces for almost a month. At a weekend summit,
Islamic countries condemned Israel and called for cutting relations with
the Jewish state.
Both sides are emphasizing the public relations aspect of their
conflict. Interest in the Israeli government Web sites has increased
noticeably since the riots began Sept. 28, officials said. The targeted
sites provide information about the conflict from an official Israeli
point of view.
The first shot in the cyberwar was apparently fired by some Israeli
teenagers, who bragged to a local newspaper last week that they had
succeeded in sabotaging a Web site of the Hezbollah guerrillas in Lebanon.
Return fire was not long in coming. Uri Noy, who oversees the Foreign
Ministry Web site, said that several extremist Islamic Web sites called on
their users to attack Israeli sites, providing them access to computer
programs that allow users to flood sites with huge amounts of electronic
mail, jamming them.
First to feel the effects was the official site of the Israeli Prime
Minister's office. After that site was restored, the Foreign Ministry's
Web site was overwhelmed by incoming mail and knocked off the Web. Almost
two days after the attack began, the site had still not been restored.
The Israeli army repaired its information Web site, and to increase
security, switched from a local server to one connected to the U.S.
communications giant AT&T, the military said.
The Web site of the Knesset, Israel's parliament, was the target of a
different king of cyber attack. Hackers broke into the site and tampered
with its files, Knesset spokesman Giora Pordes said. He said the attack
may have come from Saudi Arabia.
"You cannot be perfectly safe. Any system can be infiltrated," Miki
Buzaglo, an Israeli who took credit for first sabotaging the Hezbollah
site, said on Israel TV. "There is a war of brains going on here."
An Israeli Internet service provider which hosted the three targeted sites
scrambled to make repairs Thursday.
Israeli officials said no damage was done to sensitive computer
systems used by the army and the government, since they are insulated from
Noy denounced the attacks. "We see the sabotaging of our Web site as
equivalent to the burning of books," he said. He said the bombardment of
the site continued even as efforts were made to restore it.
"It's too bad that the Internet has become another battleground,"
said member of parliament Michael Eitan, the Knesset Internet expert. "We
need to have a cease-fire on the Web."
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