Several hacker groups have joined in on the Israel-Hamas conflict escalation that started over the weekend after the Palestinian militant group launched a major attack.
Hamas launched an unprecedented attack on Israel out of Gaza, firing thousands of rockets and sending its fighters to the southern part of the country. In response, Israel declared war on Hamas and started to retaliate. Hundreds have been killed and thousands have been wounded on both sides as a result of the conflict escalation.
In addition to the state-sponsored actors that have likely ramped up their cyber efforts behind the scenes, known hacktivist groups supporting both sides have intensified their cyberattacks.
According to a timeline created by cybersecurity consultant and OSINT enthusiast Julian Botham, the first hacktivist attacks were launched against Israel by Anonymous Sudan less than one hour after the first rockets were fired by Hamas. The group targeted emergency warning systems, claiming to have taken down alerting applications in Israel.
The Jerusalem Post, the largest English-language daily newspaper in Israel, was also targeted by Anonymous Sudan.
A pro-Hamas group called Cyber Av3ngers targeted the Israel Independent System Operator (Noga), a power grid organization, claiming to have compromised its network and shut down its website. The group also targeted the Israel Electric Corporation, the largest supplier of electrical power in Israel and the Palestinian territories, as well as a power plant.
The notorious pro-Russian group Killnet has launched attacks against Israeli government websites.
A Palestinian hacker gang named Ghosts of Palestine has invited hackers from around the world to attack private and public infrastructure in Israel and the United States. A group called Libyan Ghosts has started defacing small Israeli websites in support of Hamas.
In most cases, these hacktivists have used distributed denial-of-service (DDoS) attacks to cause disruption. Some of them claimed to have caused significant disruption to their targets, but it’s not uncommon for hacktivists to exaggerate their claims. For instance, claims by Iran-linked and other hackers that they have launched a cyberattack on Israel’s Iron Dome air defense system are likely exaggerated.
On the other hand, groups such as Killnet and Anonymous Sudan — both tied to Russia — have been known to launch highly disruptive attacks. In the past they targeted major companies such as Microsoft, X (formerly Twitter), and Telegram with massive DDoS attacks.
On the other side, a pro-Israel group called ThreatSec claims to have compromised the infrastructure of Gaza-based ISP AlfaNet.
Hacktivists allegedly operating out of India have attacked Palestinian government websites, making some of them inaccessible.
A group named Garuna has announced its support for Israel, and TeamHDP has targeted the websites of Hamas and the Islamic University of Gaza.
In a report published last week, Microsoft said it had seen a wave of activity from a Gaza-based threat group named Storm-1133 aimed at Israeli organizations in the defense, energy and telecommunications sectors in early 2023. Microsoft believes the group “works to further the interests of Hamas”.