#OpIsrael is a coordinated cyber-attack by anti-Israel groups and individuals against websites they perceived as Israeli, chiefly through denial of service assaults, database hijacking, database leaks, admin panel takeover, and defacements. Timed for 7 April 2013, the eve of Holocaust Remembrance Day, its stated goal is to "erase Israel from the internet" in protest against claimed crimes committed against the Palestinian people on behalf of Israel. The event is organized and carried out by dozens of factions associated with the Anonymous collective.[dubious ] Websites targeted by the activists included those of banks, schools, non-profit organizations, privately owned small businesses and newspapers in Israel, as well as Israel's national Holocaust museum Yad Vashem and government agencies.
In the leadup to the attack, Israeli organizations made preparations to defend their websites, and cyber-security experts called on home users to increase awareness and take precautions such as changing passwords, not opening strange or suspicious emails, and maintaining especial vigilance when using Facebook. The Israel Internet Association (ISOC) operated a hotline for people to report attacks and published real-time status reports on its website.
Larger than Life, an Israeli NGO devoted to "improving the quality of life and welfare of cancer-stricken children and their families regardless of sex, religion and nationality", stated that in the week leading up to #OpIsrael, its website was targeted repeatedly by pro-Palestinian hackers who defaced it with "flags, a skull, symbols, and all sorts of hate-related things".
Yad Vashem, Israel's national Holocaust museum, came under a "fairly massive attack". Nevertheless, its website was fully operational on the day of the attack, which overlapped with Holocaust Remembrance Day.
At midday, #OpIsrael activists announced on Twitter that they had defaced the website of an Israeli hair salon, Peter Hair, in Ramat HaSharon. The salon's home page showed a masked person holding a sign saying "Indonesian Security Down #OP ISRAHELL" and was signed with the message "We are Muslims, Soldier [sic] of Allah". The owner of the salon, Peter Imseis, said he had not been aware that the site had been hacked and that it had not affected his business.
Government websites that experienced problems on 7 April 2013 included those of the Israeli Ministry of Education and Central Bureau of Statistics, but it was unclear whether these problems were caused by #OpIsrael.
During the day, attackers posted numerous false and grandiose claims of successes, such as "Anonymous causes Israel to lose $5 billion" in stock market losses and "Tel Aviv loses all Internet connection".
The attack was praised by Hamas, the militant Islamist group that controls the Gaza Strip. Hamas spokesman Ihab al-Ghussain wrote: "May God protect the spirit and mission of the soldiers of this electronic war".
A statement on the website of the Tunisian Renaissance Party, signed by party leader Rashid Al-Ghannouchi, expressed "condemnation of all those who do not pursue a policy of dialogue to reach its objectives and follow the methods of terrorists to reach its goals", and threatening "to prosecute anyone involved from Tunisia in attacks on Israel on charges of compromising the security of a foreign state". Tunisians quickly mobilized against the party, with some lawyers offering to defend hackers charged with attacking Israel free of charge. The Renaissance Party later issued a different statement saying that their website had itself been hacked and that the party does not condemn cyberattacks on Israel.
The attack drew a response by pro-Israel hackers, who quickly took over #OpIsrael's official website OpIsrael.com and filled it with pro-Israel content. The DNS record of opisrael.com showed a purchase made under the name 'Al Qaeda'. OpIsrael claimed after the site was hacked that it had never been their official website. Israeli Elite Force had an early start forming two days prior to the attack, taking down Iranian, Pakistani, Turkish government website and leaking information on Twitter. They received coverage in the world media.
Participants of the counter-attack are
- As cyber-war begins, Israeli hackers hit back, Times of Israel 07-04-2013
- Israeli cyber activists attack anti-Israel hackers, Jerusalem Post 07-04-2013, Admin Takeover, Database Breaches and Leaks, Admin Panel Takeover, Defacement and other means.
- "Rival Hackers Overcome Differences For Anti-Israel Cyber Campaign". Access ADL. Retrieved 31 March 2015.
- Why did Anonymous have to attack Israel on Holocaust Memorial Day?, Forbes 08-04-2013
- Anonymous launches massive cyber assault on Israel, RT 07-04-2013
- Groups of hackers threaten to "wipe Israel off the Internet", France 24 28-03-2013 (French)
- Cyberwarfare: Hackers launch attacks on Israel, Der Spiegel 07-04-2013 (German)
- Anonymous targets Israel, JPost repels hackers, Jerusalem Post 07-04-2013
- Hackers target Israeli websites, fail to disrupt, CBS News 08-04-2013
- On eve of attack, Israel preparing for the cyber-worst, Times of Israel 05-04-2013
- Hackers target Israeli websites, Ynet News 07-04-2013
- Botched mission? #OpIsrael cyberattack fails to frustrate Israeli govt, Al-Arabiya 07-04-2013
- Why #OpIsrael Was an #OpFail, The Daily Beast 08-04-2013
- Anonymous Attacks On Israel ‘Have Achieved Next To Nothing’, TechWeek europe 08-04-2013
- Larger than Life, 04-04-2013
- Hackers Target Website for Children with Cancer, Israel National News 06-04-2013
- Anonymous Hacks Israel: Doesn't Reach Goal, But Leaks Credit Cards And Defaces NGO Website For Children With Cancer, International Business Times 08-04-2013
- Hacking group Anonymous launches attack on Israeli government websites on Holocaust memorial day, Daily Mail 07-04-2013
- Experts: Anonymous' Israel hacking 'amateur' so far, Jerusalem Post 07-04-2013
- Israel Says It Repelled Most Attacks on Its Web Sites by Pro-Palestinian Hackers, New York Times 07-04-2013
- Anonymous hacker attack on Israeli websites 'causes little real damage', The Guardian 08-04-2013
- Major failures, minor successes for anti-Israel hackers, Times of Israel 08-04-2013
- Egypt’s ‘war of the streets’, Times of Israel 08-04-2013
- Anonymous Fails to 'Wipe Israel from Internet', International business Times 08-04-2013
- #opIsrael: Hackers launch opisrael.com website Cyber War Zone 03-16-2013
- Anonymous Indonesia Twitter post regarding OpIsrael.com Twitter 16-03-2013
- Israeli takes over OpIsrael hacktivist website, Jerusalem Post 09-04-2013
- #OpIsrael Backfires, Jerusalem Post (blogs) 07-04-2013
- Old domain records for OpIsrael.com Whois.ws
- OpIsrael Twitter 9-4-2013