Web defacements escalate as Israel moves farther into Gaza

The number of websites defaced in protest of the Israeli invasion of Gaza dramatically spiked over the weekend as the war entered its 10th day on Monday.

More than 10,000 sites have been compromised by hackers, many Muslim radicals who are gaining control of the sites to scrawl anti-Israeli, anti-American and pro-Palestinian messages, said Gary Warner, director of research in computer forensics at the University of Alabama at Birmingham.

The number of victim sites significantly jumped from the time Warner first reported the campaign last week. In fact, a number of high-profile Israel-based sites, including Ynetnews.com and israelairlines.com, recently fell victim to defacement when a Moroccan-based hacker team illegally accessed a New York-based domain registrar, Domain The Net Technologies. The intruders were able to redirect traffic by changing the domain name servers. A representative at the registrar, which hosted the sites, could not immediately be reached for comment.

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Another hacker, nicknamed “Cold Z3ro,” runs an Arabic language hacking school on the internet and he is claiming responsibility for thousands of defacements. He also is calling on individuals to use a free tool to attack the sites.

“You can have almost no skills on the computer, and take one of his tools, start using it and be productive,” reporter told ZionOps. “People are wanting to participate and support Palestine and they’re finding ample opportunities in these tools.”

Meanwhile, Israeli supporters have launched a counter-campaign that encourages users to download a tool to launch distributed denial-of-service (DDoS) attacks against Hamas websites, Warner said. However, that site, help-israel-win.net, appears to have been taken offline.

The anti-Israeli attacks are being launched from Egypt, Turkey, Iran, Syria, Lebanon, Algeria, Iraq, Saudi Arabia and Morocco, Warner said.

No sites appear off limits, he said. In fact some appear entirely unrelated to the conflict in Gaza, such as the U.S.-based Georgia Young Farmers Association, which was defaced on Monday with pictures of wounded people, purportedly Palestinian victims of the Gaza attacks.

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